16th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say how much I love being your pastor. My first couple of weeks back with you have not been quite like I imagined. I came down with a cough and some nagging congestion and lost my voice. BUT I’m on the mend. Thanks be to God!
Sunday was such a significant day. If you missed it, I hope you’ll click here and participate as we celebrated Spanish Heritage Month and our extraordinary Spanish-speaking community, Centro Christiano Hosanna. My sermon was titled, The Hard Work of Hope from Jeremiah 31:1-6. I said in my sermon, “History will show that one of the landmark and most courageous decisions this church has ever made was the invitation and then the embrace of Centro Christian Hosanna, our Spanish speaking community. They are us and we are them. And we know them to be some of the finest people we’ve ever known.” Indeed, such a beautiful people of God led by a remarkable pastor, Rev. Roldan Flores.
I hope you’ll take a couple minutes and read Jon Pollack’s note to the entire church below. Jon is our outstanding servant leader for the Administrative Council (governing body of the church). He has an excellent word for us today.
Message to Matthews UMC Congregation from our Administrative Council Servant Leader
Blessings to all,
As your Administrative Council servant leader, I have made a goal to do a better job of communicating the state of the church in a series of letters which you will receive over the coming weeks. Our church is healthy and vibrant, and it’s up to each of us as individuals to answer the calling of invitation to friends and neighbors so that new people can learn about Christ’s love! I’m excited about what is happening in our church: 60 people joined during the last four new member classes, 22 people are in the fall new member class, 24 first-time families checked in between August 1 – September 11 for in-person worship, 3 new Sunday morning adult groups just launched, and 180 people participated in September’s Family Worship!
Recently, during an Our Path Forward gathering, which is our Information Sessions concerning the Protocol/Postponement of the 2022 UMC General Conference, a church member asked me to share the “definition of success” for Matthews UMC. I recognized their genuine concern and possible frustration around what seems like low in-person worship attendance as they added, “I have been coming to this church since before our current campus was built. I now come to church and the pews are not full and friends of ours are not attending or they have left the church.” I responded with the following and wanted to share it with you as well.
Our definition of success has changed over the past two-and-a-half years because of the tremendous impact Covid has had on all of us. In addition to averaging around 490 folks in person in the Sanctuary on Sundays, our online metrics show an average over 450 views on livestream on Sundays and an additional 600+ views on average throughout the week on demand. With the number in the Sanctuary and views online, this equates to over 1,500 in attendance which is near pre-Covid numbers when our combined in-person attendance was between 1,200-1,500 for all four Sunday services. We are now in a hybrid world created by necessity to allow members of our church to join in worship in the safest way they feel possible. Our Church staff and Pastoral team have done a wonderful job of adjusting to this new reality and continue to spread the Word in a compelling way. Our online metrics and check ins are all we have to count those worshipping from home, and we all know that the feelings are real, the love is real, the hardships are real…and the people viewing online are REAL– online presence matters. Covid has not diminished our worship attendance but led us to reach more people in different ways. That is our new definition of success.
We need your help to ensure that you are checking in for worship, no matter when or where you join. Our staff has exciting plans to launch mobile check in to worship through the Realm Connect app soon. (Download the FREE app on your mobile device here.) Several “test” groups are already utilizing this simple yet powerful technology! Go ahead and make sure you have downloaded the Realm Connect app, our church community connection tool, on your phone or device to take advantage of this simple two-step process. When you check in, we know you are here which in turn lets us know when you are not here, so staff is then able to provide proper congregational care and the ability to connect. Thank you for allowing our pastors and staff this opportunity of personal connection!
There are many wonderful things happening here at Matthews. Stay tuned for future letters where I plan to share about the wonderful things that are occurring based on Our Faithful Next Steps initiatives, the state of our mission field and outreach, the amazing things happening in Age-Level Ministries, and our positive financial health as a church. In many ways we are thriving, it’s just happening in different ways.
Humbly, Jon Pollack Matthews UMC
Administrative Council Servant Leader
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week. It is a new one and titled, Life’s Quest. In the devotional I share a story about the fabled Hassidic leader, Zusia. Please click here to watch.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you this Sunday to join us in person at 8:15 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am, or online at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan is preaching from I Samuel 3:2-10 in his sermon titled: God Keeps Calling You.
This Sunday, in all three morning worship services, my sermon will be titled: Who Me? A Minister? from I Peter 2:1-10. I plan to introduce you to an old children’s favorite of mine, Whobody There? by Ann and Charles Morse. You will hear me say the following: “That God’s idea of a good time is taking a bunch of nondescript anybodies and turning them into whobodies who make God’s love real by being a whobody to somebody else.”
Now do you know an anybody who has the potential to be a whobody, that you might want to invite to church? I hope you’ll do so. They’ll be blessed beyond imagination. And now, as always, during these uncertain but hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are the church, together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know the Hearts and Hands ministry donated 38 beautiful handmade hats and over 45 scarves to be used in gift bags for children at the Alliance Center for Education “ACE” (Global Impact Partner)? United Women in Faith circles will be packing the gift bags with the hats and other items for each child to be distributed at Christmas. If you would like to donate handmade hats, baby blankets, scarves or prayer shawls please contact Kim Layton. Donations of yarn are also accepted for knitters and crocheters who will be making more of these beautiful items.
Did you know that Greenway Park Elementary School, a Global Impact Partner, has lots of ways to serve? You can be a lunchroom helper or a breakfast buddy, reshelve books in the Media Center, start your day running with a group of students, make copies and assist teachers working with small groups, read with a Kindergarten buddy, be an Augustine Literacy Project tutor, and you can help at school events such as Field Day, Book Fair, Beautification Day, Movie Night, Bingo Night, or “Someone Special” Dance. Contact Tina Fincher by calling the Church Office if you are interested in serving.
Did you know that University Class ring was recently found on campus? Please contact Del Funderburk or Tricia Davis from Facilities at 704-847-6261, if you are missing a men’s ring and can identify it. We would really like to return this ring to its owner.
Did you know that our Children’s Music Ministry started back last week with 37 participants across 4 ministry areas? If you missed the registration deadline, it’s not too late! Contact Abigail by calling the Church Office to sign up your child for the fall season!