Communications Update!!

Every church I have served has had one thing in common: some members believe there is a communication problem. Sometimes it's an issue with over communication- newsletters and bulletins so overwhelmed with details that only a handful bother to read beyond a first glance. Or it's the other end of the spectrum- the church just has nothing interesting going on- so what is there to say?

We try to communicate in a variety of ways to reach people: Facebook and Instagram, email, worship bulletin, slides on screens before and after worship, and the occasional mailing. Even with all of that effort, there are gaps- some haven't embraced technology enough to follow along; others are so overwhelmed with tech that the church is a lost voice. While we're discussing communication, have you checked out the new It's the best place to find events, catch up on sermons, etc. It was designed by Nate Essin of Undaunted, a local communications and marketing firm. They did a wonderful job for us!

Here are a few updates on some Grace items if you're feeling left behind or out of "the know"- or just have questions!

1. What's the status of the Building Project?
a. Our Building Committee met with architects last week to discuss priorities for the building and a financial framework for the project. They used a program that automatically updated costs per square foot for every wall we removed or new space created. After supplying several years' worth of data, including numbers for the City of Sherman, they gave us estimates of growth potential.
b. We set the building priorities as: 
The age group we would like to focus on is 24-35. Young families and individuals (this doesn't mean other age groups aren't important).
In order of importance:
Gathering space including a focused entry point.
Children and youth including outdoor play space.
Kitchen or food prep space. 
c. This week we met with the Fire Marshall to discuss implications for sprinklers, ADA standards for restrooms, etc. We were very pleased with the results!
d. On the other side of the project, our Capital Campaign team has worked to create a fun, exciting theme and events for the campaign. The theme is Renew: The Next Chapter. Check out the logo: 

The campaign will officially begin with a worship series on September 22, culminating with Commitment Sunday October 13. But you will hear regular info throughout August and the first half of September. And no plans will be finalized without the approval of the District Board on Church Location and the vote of a Grace UMC Church Conference.

2. What about the UMC's human sexuality debate?
a. If you're asking about the denomination beyond Grace, nothing formal. Some congregations are protesting by escrowing their apportionment- as conservative churches do when the debate doesn't go their way. Grace has not done this. We are fully up to date on our commitments, just as we hope individuals are fulling their commitments.
b. Marsha Kahl and I will attend the Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas in September. The theme is future paths of Methodism in America.
c. There are many conversations happening across the denomination, most of which are WAY above my pay grade. Everything will come down to General Conference in May 2020.
d. Grace has worked on its own Way Forward. A discussion of this will happen this Sunday in the Celebration Center at 9:50. No adult or youth Sunday school this week!

3. Overall financial update?
a. Good! As I said we are on target on our apportionment. We are a few thousand behind on pledged and unpledged giving, but only by about 2% of anticipated income for this time of year. Most churches would be overjoyed with those numbers! Summers are always a slow financial time. But our spending is also less than anticipated, so we are in good financial shape. Thank you for your faithfulness.
b. But we recently made staff changes... Yes- but those were not for financial reasons. We wanted to better align our staff with the congregation's priorities for ministry. Reallocated staff salaries will allow us to hire two very part-time interns for children and youth ministries, both of which are growing beyond our volunteer capacity.

That's it for now! Summer is winding down- band and football camps have started for our kids. Do the church a favor- two things. Look around this Sunday and ask, "Who's missing?" Maybe it's someone from your Sunday school you haven't seen this summer. Or that person who sits on the fifth row on the south side, third seat from the aisle. You know no one is allowed to change seats in church! Give them a call. People like being missed. Also ask, "Who's missing?", but for a different audience. Who isn't here because they do not have a church home? Who can you invite from work or your neighborhood?