In the life and ministry of a congregation, there are challenges and opportunities that present themselves in any given period, and this season we are living into is no different. I just concluded a meeting with a couple of our wonderful staff leaders, and in that meeting we talked about some of the great opportunities for discipleship and mission that are on the horizon for our congregation. It was also a conversation about holy possibilities, while also acknowledging our current situation. With that in mind, I want to take a moment to provide a bit of a “Nuts and Bolts” update on a couple of items that may be of interest to a number of you.
Outreach and Recreation: As was announced to you last week, Gary Vaughn is our new Director of Outreach ministries. As he shifts his staff role, Gary is intentionally evaluating all the ways in which our congregation reaches out directly to our community. Our recreation ministry (specifically our sports teams) is one of those things that we have worked diligently to use for outreach. While we have had success in filling our rosters for teams, connecting to the children and parents of our leagues in meaningful ways (beyond opening the doors) has been a challenge. Sports have been influential in the lives of many of our families, and we will continue to support and leverage sports ministry through Colonial Park UMC. In this new role, Gary is focusing intentionally on encouraging relational connections. Sports is a conduit for relational connection, and that relational connection is the vehicle for true outreach and discipleship. So, things might look a little different, but as a congregation, we want all of our people to be engaged in building relationships with people outside of the church—sports, the community garden, etc. are just some of the ways we will continue to do that together.
Parent’s Day Out (PDO): PDO in the age of the pandemic has been tricky! From health concerns of families, children, and teachers, we have continued to examine the right timing to restart our PDO. We have also been intentional about being clear as to what purpose our PDO serves. This seems like a no brainer, right? Caring for God’s precious little ones is truly an important call, and we also want to be faithful to our mission and vision as a congregation. As with any outreach, we want to have clear ways of developing meaningful relational connections as those relationships are the true vehicle for outreach and discipleship. The PDO, while operation is suspended for a season, is not going away. It might look different. It might develop into something bigger. But when it re-emerges, it will be a meaningful path that helps lead people of a hurting world into new life through Jesus Christ. We are evaluating any re-launch considering the pandemic on what is essentially a semester-by-semester basis. As you probably know, forecasting like this is particularly challenging, but for the sake of families and employees, we are seeking as safe and stable an environment as is attainable. We are holding on to our PDO ministry in light of the proliferation of the delta variant (and subsequent variants).
Even in such a strange and challenging time of this Covid pandemic, amidst the grief and frustration, hope remains. I hope to share with you in the coming months about more of the wonderful ministry opportunities that are coming down the pike for Colonial Park UMC. Wherever we find ourselves, no matter how much the landscape or terrain changes in our life, God is always outlining a path of faithfulness and fruitfulness before us. It’s up to us to see it and discern it. I pray that we all will join in prayer for breakthroughs in ministry together.
Grace and Peace to you,