Monthly Archives: August 2015

Pastor’s Ponderings

Folks, I am just getting back from school and so am pretty much all “written” out.  Hope you will enjoy this list put together by Thom S. Rainer in partnership with Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Thom writes that few people are truly aware of the constant requests, complaints, and criticisms pastors and other church leaders receive.  He listed a few that he thought were representative of what he got on a regular basis (I cut his list down a bit to fit here.)  Thom said that for the most part, these are direct quotes. The parenthetical words after each comment represent his off-the-cuff commentary.  Enjoy!

  1. “We need a small group for cat lovers.” (I guess they could serve Meow Mix as a snack.)
  2. “You need to change your voice.” (Yes ma’am. I’ll try to have that done by next week.)
  3. “Our expensive coffee is attracting too many hipsters.” (Yep. You don’t want too many of those hipsters in your church.)
  4. “Preachers who don’t wear suits and ties aren’t saved. It’s in the Bible. (I should have known that’s what Jesus and Paul wore.)
  5. “Your socks are distracting.” (I understand. I’ll stop wearing socks.)
  6. “You shouldn’t make people leave the youth group after they graduate.”(It’s going to get really weird by the time they turn 70 years old.)
  7. “We need to start attracting more normal people at church.” (So, you will be leaving the church, I presume.)
  8. “I developed cancer because you don’t preach from the KJV.” (Major medical announcement! New carcinogen discovered!)
  9. “Your wife never compliments me about my hair or dress.” (There could be a reason for that.)
  10. “Not enough people signed up for the church golf tournament. You have poor leadership skills.” (I’m so sorry. I expected more since most of the deacons play golf on Sunday morning)
  11. “If Jesus sang from the red hymnals, why can’t we?” (I think you are mistaken. He sang from blue hymnals.)
  12. “I don’t like the brand of donuts in the foyer.” (It’s better than Meow Mix.)
  13. “You didn’t wrap the hot dogs in bacon for the church picnic.” (I understand that one. Bacon rules.)
  14. “You shouldn’t drink water when you preach.” (At least not simultaneously.)
  15. “The toilet paper is on the wrong way in the ladies restroom. It’s rolled under.” (My guess is that it is still functional.)
  16. “You don’t have ashtrays in the fellowship hall.” (Yes we do. They are right next to the spittoons for your chewing tobacco.)
  17. “Did you see me waving in the back of the worship center? You preached too long. It was time to eat!” (Who needs a clock when I have you?)
  18. “You don’t look at our side of the worship center enough when you preach.” (That’s because you are on that side.)
  19. “We are leaving the church because you have a red cross on the building. That’s the color of the devil.” (I understand. It’s in the same verse that describes his pitchfork and horns.)
  20. “Your sermon needed more calories.”  (Okay. I’ll feed it one of those donuts in the foyer.)

Announcements and Stuff

Coming Soon:  Sunday School and SUM Club

We are planning for Sunday School to begin again on Sunday, September 13th and we are looking for teachers from both congregations.  We also need teachers and helpers for SUM Club which we hope to get started on September 16th.  Please do not wait to be asked!  If you would like to help, see Karissa or Pastor Terri ASAP!  We cannot continue these programs without help from you.  

Small Group Study

A new Small Group Study will begin in September.  “The Call” by Adam Hamilton.  Follow the journeys of Paul, beginning with his dramatic conversion, as he spread the Gospel through modern-day Greece and Turkey.  Travel to the early church sites and explore Paul’s conversations with the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians and Thessalonians.  In this six-week study, you are invited to experience faith through Christianity’s greatest teacher and missionary.  A copy of the book will be on the tables of each church along with a sign-up sheet.  At Claybanks UMC, we will meet at 6:30 on Monday nights beginning September 14th and we will also meet at Shelby UMC on Wednesday nights at 6:00.  Please plan to attend one of these groups as we travel together with Paul!

Intentional Faith Development

Imagine being part of a congregation that practices INTENTIONAL faith development!  That means INTENTIONALLY, deliberately, purposefully learning the faith and cultivating your love for God.  Could you get excited about being a part of that?  If this sounds interesting, plan to meet with Pastor Terri and other ‘like-minded’ folks on Tuesday nights at 6:30 at the Parsonage.  There will be sign-up sheets on the table so that we know how many to plan for.  Our first get-together will be on Tuesday, September 22nd.  Hope to see you there!

Charge Conference!

Our Charge Conference is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 9th at 7pm at Shelby UMC.  We will need your forms in ASAP if you have not already done so. Also, if you would like a short report on what your committee has been doing in the last year included in our packet, please submit that also ASAP (deadline was 8/31).    

Charge Conference is our opportunity to celebrate all that has happened in the past year and to plan for the coming year.  We will also be voting on your leadership. I hope you will all plan to be there!

Prayer Shawl Ministry

When you are under a physical or emotional crisis, the world seems like a pretty cold place.  We want to be able to comfort and warm the hearts of those we know who are in crisis.  A few of our ladies are going to be hard at work making Prayer Shawls.  These shawls will be given to folks who need to cover themselves in prayer.  If you are interested in helping out with this ministry, see Pastor Terri. Can’t knit or crochet – you can still help by contributing yarn.  The world can be a pretty chilly place, Shelby/Claybanks UMC are going to do our best to comfort and warm with our prayers and our shawls!

Thanks

A lot happened in our churches while I was away at Course of Study School at the Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio (MTSO).  I cannot tell you how torn I was to be so far away when you all had so much going on.  Happily, you all pulled together to take care of one another.  I am so very appreciative of all that you did for one another.  You were church together!  Special thanks to Edie and Denise and Konnie and June for keeping things together and to the ‘funeral’ ladies at Shelby UMC who pulled together a very large service for Anita.  

Thanks also to Jim Tanis and Denise Schuitema for their willingness to share their gifts and bring Sunday messages to you.  I have heard nothing but good reports on them and found that you two are a hard act to follow.  

Lastly, thanks to the two Methodist pastors, Pastor Mary Brown and Pastor Paul Hane who made themselves available for you if they were needed.  It was a difficult two weeks for many reasons but it was good to know that my congregations were all in good hands and would be well taken care of.  

But, I am sure glad to be home.

CUMC Website

Have you looked at our new website for CUMC yet?  Check it out.  Luanne has done a great job. The address is www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com.   Let Luanne, Konnie, or Pastor Terri know what you think.

Lay Servant Musings

The library is open, the library is open!!  Claybanks now has an inviting library with books to borrow for all age levels.  There is a comfy rocking chair and lamp perfect for relaxing and reading or simply to check out the books.  The white board is there for anyone to list prayer requests.  Also, starting in September, I plan to open the church on Wednesdays from 1 – 2 pm for quiet reflection or prayer in the sanctuary or to make use of the library.  I will be present but stay out of the way in the office.

Edith Bogart

Strawberry Social Report

The UMW would like to thank all that participated, both in working for and donations to, our 73rd Annual Strawberry Social/Bake Sale.  We had a good turnout of CUMC members as well as from the community at large.  Our total profit from the event was $748.30 which will be put toward  our UMW ministries.

Sundae Sunday

Sunday School will be starting off with a bang on September 13 by celebrating Sundae Sunday.  Come join the fun singing, settling into one of our small-group sessions for Sunday School, attending worship, and then after worship you can fill up on an ice cream sundae during fellowship hour.  We will start with music in the sanctuary at 10:15 and then retire to our classrooms at 10:30 with regular worship at 11:30.  All ages are welcome.

Fall Pasty Sale

The fall Pasty Sale benefiting the Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity White Lake Area Build is now underway.  The goal is to begin construction of our 11th home in 2016. This is the 14th time we have made PASTIES !  Believe it !  We started at the Montague UMC with Darwin and Mitzi in charge.  We’ve come a long way.    Remember those awful rutabagas? Oh, those memories…    Last year we made 1600 and they are gone!  The frozen pasties will be made on the 16th – 18th and will be ready for pick-up at the American Legion in Whitehall on the 19th.  The cost is $5 each.  Order yours today!  (We are always looking for additional help in making the pasties or help in the picking-up process.  If you are interested, please call Pat Backman at 893-1304 or with any questions).

A note from Konnie:  I have put a sign-up sheet on our back table for anyone who wishes to support Habitat for Humanity by ordering pasties.  I will be turning it in to Pat on September 14th.

Thank You

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Michelle Schneider for stepping forward to become our new Sunday School teacher for the mid-upper elementary classroom.  It is because of people like you that we are able to provide these children the kind of loving spiritual foundation that God calls us to provide.  They will be richly blessed to have you as their teacher.

Upcoming Scripture and Sermon Topics

“”Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” – Philipians4:6

September 6 –  Acts 6:1-7 –  “ 4 Roads to Christ” – Communion

September 13 – John 17:17-26 – “The Grown Up Christian”

September 20 – 1 Peter 15-18 – “Why Are We Doing This?”

September 27 – Joel 23-29 – “The Spirit is Moving”

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget to come to the  Strawberry Social, Friday August 14 from 5:00-7:oo pm at Claybanks United Methodist Church.  Baked goods will be on hand for purchase too.  Hope to see you there!

Pastor’s Ponderings

Recently, I read an interesting article in a newsletter called the “United Methodist Insight’ (July 8, 2015 edition). The article was written by Morgan Guyton and was called The Tragic Demise of the Word “Membership”. It talked about how being a ‘church member’ has come to mean little more than a name on a list, while a ‘disciple’ indicates someone who has an active personal relationship with God. As I read the article I pondered another question. Why is it that we can’t even get folks to become ‘members’, much less disciples!
According to Guyton, “Member and membrane are from the same Latin word membranous, which means a ‘limb’ or connected part of a greater whole. What it should mean to be a member of something is
that you’re embedded into the membrane of that community.”
In 1 Corinthians 12:12 Paul wrote, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, through many are one body, so it is with Christ. How does this scripture speak to us today? How are we being the body today? Especially when many of the folks sitting in our pews have not seen the importance of being a member of the church and those who are members, have not been lead to be anything more than a name on a list.
Guyton says, “Membership has become an entirely impersonal, transactional concept rather than the incarnational mystical reality that it was for the early church. I agree to pay a certain fee or follow certain rules and then I receive certain rights and benefits as a result.” Yikes! Maybe that is why we can’t get folks to join. They love to come to our service, they even participate in some of our committees, but they don’t want membership!
Guyton’s article asks, “Imagine if being a church member meant for us what it meant for Paul: being intimately interwoven into the lives of everyone else who breaks the same communion bread with us.” WOW! Think about that! Intimately interwoven into the lives of everyone else who breaks the same communion bread! That means that our church community is intimately connected! We would serve our community as we serve our families, we would pray for and love each other as we do our families …. What would that LOOK like?!
I think it would mean that if someone misses a couple of Sunday services, other people would notice and follow up. I think it would mean that we would visit our Shut-ins like we are visiting our grandparents …joyfully and often. I think that it would mean that when one of our own is struggling, we all look for a better way. I think it would mean that we would practice a little church ‘nepotism’ when it comes to how we spend our money and hire help. I think that it would mean that when the church needed something we would all pull together as family to get it done.
If we behaved this way, caring for each other as family, perhaps those who have chosen to come to our service but not join, would change their minds—perhaps those who are not much more than names on a list would dig in and become more active and excited! Perhaps this is how we go from being members to being disciples. If we are excited about our faith, our church and each other……then others will be led to join us! They’ll want what we have! Isn’t that what being a disciple is? Isn’t that what church should be? I’m willing to make some changes…anyone want to join me?

A Word from Your Nominations Chair (that would be me….your pastor, lol)

“Churches that become passionate about people outside their walls will be far more effective than churches that are only passionate about keeping the few people they have inside their walls.”
~ Carey Nieuwhof

When I saw this quote come across my fb news feed recently, I couldn’t resist the impulse to yell “Yes!!!! That’s what I keep saying!” Many churches today are in crisis and in their fearfulness have seemed to turn inward as they ‘circle the wagons’ against the outside world. I don’t think it’s a ‘bad’ thing to want to make our regular attenders and our long time members feel ‘at home’ and ‘taken care of’, but I do think it is wrong when we let THAT be our purpose.
Church folks SHOULD take care of one another, but I think that our MAIN purpose should be to introduce Jesus Christ to those who don’t know Him personally. This may mean that we have to do some things that are not as familiar or comfortable to us as we would like. Maybe change up some of our hymns, and add some new contemporary music to our old favorites. It might mean that the pastor doesn’t always ‘preach’ but instead……sometimes leads a discussion or a teaching session where the congregation is encouraged and, in fact, expected to speak out and participate. This might mean that during fellowship time, your pastor and/or your leadership won’t have the time to sit with you and go over your ideas or your concerns because they are busy with someone new who just ‘tried us out’ this morning. This might mean that the bulletins list the words to the doxology (which we have sung a kazillion times and know by heart) and the overhead screen prompts us for every little thing (even though we’ve been doing it that way for ever and ever and just EVERYONE knows what comes next).
This may also mean that we adjust our budget thinking a bit. Our budget goal should not be to keep the building open and the salaries paid (but believe me, from someone who receives a salary from you that is important), our budget goal should also include spiritual growth and outreach. Sunday School, Bible Study and worship supplies should be just as important in our budget as the light bill. The mailings that go out to new people should be just as vital, if not more so, than those that go to our shut-ins. Our priorities in our budget should reflect who we are as a church.
In Acts, chapter 6 the disciples were hard at work building the early church when they were presented with an internal problem. As their church increased in number so did their needs and someone needed to organize things to be sure that everyone was taken care of. This internal administrative need was not taken lightly, but the disciples also realized that their main priority was to the ministry of the Word. They needed to keep their focus on preaching so they could reach and teach others. Spiritual leadership is serious business and must not be taken lightly and the disciples realized that. So how did they choose to handle their administration problem? They found some good qualified folks who were spiritually mature to deal with it. And then they let them deal with it while they went on building the church!
As your pastor, I have fallen into the trap of expecting myself to do it all. But that is just a recipe for disaster! I cannot and should not be expected to do everything; the work of the church should be spread out among its members. That’s how it worked in the early church. They took care of those within, but their ‘focus’ was in reaching others, witnessing to others, and because that was their focus, the Word of God spread like the ripples on lake. It starts out with a small splash and then goes wider and wider until it reaches the shore and there is nowhere else for it to go. Our ripple is far, far from shore, there are many more for us to reach before our work is done. We cannot stop our work of spreading the Word until everyone has been touched! And so we need others to step forward to help.
This is a time of crisis for many churches. Because it is, many of us have turned inward to protect and nurture ourselves. But if that is all we do as a church, take care of ourselves, then are we really the church that Christ intends us to be? As the Spiritual leader of this church, I struggle with this dilemma often. I hear your need to be fed and to feel comfortable, but I also feel the pressure of knowing that there are so many out there who have yet to be reached! How should our time and resources be divided? I and your leadership struggle with this daily.

I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Acts 6:2 – “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.’”

So the disciples chose 7, one of them being Stephen, to have the responsibility of taking care of the administration of the church so that they could go on with their responsibilities of prayer and ministry of the word. It is time for the spiritually mature among you to step up to help. We need you…without you, we cannot do the work that we have been called to do.
We also need to look at what we have declared as our mission for our church. If we truly believe that this is the mission we are called to… then THAT is where our priority lies. If we just put ourselves in God’s hands and do the mission we are called to, then what God plans…… whatever that may be…….. will come to pass.

Announcements and Stuff

Pastor Away at School
Pastor Terri will be away at Course of Study School at the Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio (MTSO) from August 2nd to August 14th. Because of this, August Communion will be served when she returns on Sunday August 16th.

While she is gone, there are two other Methodist pastors who are going to be handling any pastoral emergencies. If you have an emergency: Claybanks folks should contact Konnie, Edie or Art and Shelby folks should contact June, Denise or Jim Whitlock. They will have the emergency pastor information and will contact them. You can also reach me by email; tlcummins5@aol.com or leave me a voice mail (my phone will be off while I am in class) for any non-emergency issues. I will monitor both on my breaks from class.

You will be in good hands on Sunday while I am gone. Jim Tanis will be our guest speaker at both churches on the 2nd and Denise Schuitema will serve as guest speaker at both churches on the 9th. Please do your ‘usual’ and make them welcome.

Also, for you Shelby area folks, if you notice a strange (but really cute) young man at the parsonage while I am gone, don’t call the police! He is my grandson, Dylan, and is babysitting Diesel. lol

Charge Conference!
Our Charge Conference is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 9th at 7pm at Shelby UMC. Soon some of our chairpersons will be getting copies of forms that need to be completed. Please complete the forms as soon as you are able (Deadline is 8/31) and return them to the church office. If you would like a short report on what your committee has been doing in the last year included in our packet, please submit that also by the 8/31.

Charge Conference is our opportunity to celebrate all that has happened in the past year and to plan for the coming year. We will also be voting on your leadership. I hope you will all plan to be there!

Prayer Shawl Ministry
When you are under a physical or emotional crisis, the world seems like a pretty cold place. We want to be able to comfort and warm the hearts of those we know who are in crisis. A few of our ladies are going to be hard at work making Prayer Shawls. These shawls will be given to folks who need to cover themselves in prayer. If you are interested in helping out with this ministry, see Pastor Terri. Can’t knit or crochet – you can still help by contributing yarn. The world can be a pretty chilly place, Shelby/Claybanks UMC are going to do our best to comfort and warm with our prayers and our shawls!

June Finance Report
Receipts $6,961.84
Expenses $3,931.05

Nursery Schedule
8/2 Joyce Twiss
8/9 Doris Graham
8/16 Karen Anderson
8/23 Edith Bogart
8/30 Carol Adams

Social/Bake Sale
Come join the fun at the 73rd Annual Strawberry Social held at CUMC.
Friday, August 14th
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Shortcake – Ice Cream – Bake Sale
(Baked good donations always appreciated)

CUMC Website
Have you looked at our new website for CUMC yet? Check it out. Luanne has done a great job. The address is http://www.claybanksunitedmethodist.com. Let Luanne, Konnie, or Pastor Terri know what you think.

Yard/Rummage Sale
Shelby UMC will be holding a yard/rummage sale on August 1st from 9am to 1pm in the church parking lot. Drop in and check things out. For more information contact Kris Whitlock at
810-441-2224

Teachers Needed
We are looking for a Sunday School teacher to teach the combined middle elementary through junior high class. Please see Karissa Pease for more info.

Maxine’s Closet
Plans are underway for Maxine’s Closet’s 7th annual back-to-school clothing/backpack distribution. The distribution day will be Friday, August 14th, at Shelby Middle School, with a sorting/set-up day to be held Thursday, August 13. Each child will receive 2 gently-used outfits, a package of new socks, a package of new underwear, and a backpack. To make this happen we need your help. Please donate to this worthy cause and/or volunteer your time on either of the two days. Please call Kristen Bisard at 873-8756 if you would like to help. Thank You!!

Invitation
Please join us to celebrate Bernard Randolph’s 100th Birthday.  Saturday, August 1st 2-4pm. at First United Methodist Church, 304 Elm St. Big Rapids, Michigan.  No gifts, please. RSVP to 1-517-750-2653. Cards can be mailed to Rev. Bernard Randolph, 9100 Buchanan Rd., Mecosta, MI 49332

Notes of Appreciation
Dear Claybanks Family,
Thank you ro all your prayers, cards, love, and gift of money. George and I appreciate it more than you can know. We thank you for the prayer shawl – it is beautiful and has very special meaning. George and I are blessed to have such caring people in our lives.
Blessings & much love,
George and Kathy Ohman

Claybanks UMC Missions Outreach,
Your gifts to MPS are a blessing to young mothers in need. We are so grateful for your support. Muskegon Pregnancy