September 10, 2019
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Greetings in the name of Jesus our Lord!
I write this day to inform you of something really exciting that’s in progress here at Butler First United Methodist Church: WE ARE WORKING ON A PLAN!!!
Now I know that doesn’t SOUND very exciting, but let me explain. Our first year together as pastor and people has been chaotic for sure. Pastor Hannah and I have been working hard to learn the rhythms of life at First Church even while those rhythms have been changing, sometimes daily. Pastors and staff persons have departed, people we love have moved to other churches, programs and ministries have changed or stopped altogether, the United Methodist “tribe” has been trying to determine what it means to be UM following February’s General Conference - and that struggle in the denomination has affected life here at First Church. Given these multiple changes, we at First UMC have been trying to figure out who we are… NOW. Looking through past history of what guided life at First Church, “the plan” for how we do life together reflects a different church than we are today. I have believed in and practiced the old adage “plan your work and work your plan” for as long as I’ve been a pastor. It’s an approach that has been effective across multiple church sizes and settings.
With that in mind, our Administrative Board has chosen to…. WORK ON A PLAN! A plan that reflects and serves the church that we are NOW – in the fall of 2019. We have contracted with Strategic People Solutions (SPS) right here in Butler to design and help us implement a comprehensive plan for ministry that will chart the course for the next season of our life together as Butler First United Methodist Church. This planning process will include an in depth look at every part of life at First UMC, from staff deployment to policies and procedures to the various ways we celebrate God through worship. For example, one change we are CONSIDERING is moving the God’s Country service from the Connection Center to our Crossfire site. SPS will help us look at all of the implications of such a move for all involved. Understand this: ALL changes that are “on the table” are being CONSIDERED… nothing is “set in stone” at this stage. All of the potential changes will be examined and factored into the final plan in ways that will serve the future of First UMC most effectively. In addition, there will be several opportunities for conversation and input before the plan is finished and adopted. I am convinced that clarity about where we’re headed and a clear plan for how to get there will result in new energy and excitement about following and serving Jesus together.
SPS began their work among us on September 1st. Meetings with staff and leadership training – specifically for Pastor Hannah, Ad Board Chairman Rob Deemer and myself – are happening NOW. One of the goals – an up to date and accurate Employee Handbook – has been produced and will be reviewed for final approval by our SPRC (Staff/Parish Relations Committee) later this month. We’re already moving forward! In the coming weeks and months, SPS may seek input from some of us. If the request comes to you, please respond willingly and honestly. We can only chart the course ahead if we’re clear about where we’re starting! If you have any questions about where we are and the planning process itself, PLEASE don’t hesitate to connect with me.
AND…it goes without saying that this entire process is being bathed in prayer – from your First Church staff, through our prayer teams, and I’m hoping all the way to you! I remain excited beyond words about where God is taking us. You’ve heard me say in recent weeks, “God’s not done with Butler First United Methodist Church!” Friends – I believe that with ALL of my heart and soul, and I am blessed – also beyond words – to serve as Senior Leader of this amazing group of Christ followers that I am coming to love so much. The weeks and months and years ahead look hope-filled, indeed! So remember…
Keep Lookin’ Up!