Thursday, November 01, 2012

November Voice Notes

Pastor’s Corner November 2012

We have spent a lot of time over the past several months, and even the past few years trying to determine what the focus of our ministry at St. Andrew UMC ought to be.

We have been very clear about several things we have used to define our sense of effective ministry. We desire to have a clear, balanced budget. We desire the care and nurture of the pastor, as well as a clear sense of leadership from the pastor. We desire to be informed, fully, often and in a variety of media, such as email, phone, personal contact, text message and print materials.

We have noted ministries we feel are not up to the standards we would like them to be. These have ranged from how Sunday worship is conducted, to a sense that the groups who use the church facility are not pulling their share.

We have found niche ministries where St. Andrew is doing something different and where we are filling a void. These niche ministries have been things like using the church parking lot for overflow parking for football games and other events at Righetti High School, the Disability Closet, and SummerFest on the Green - complete with area agencies, music, and games for the family.
We have done paperwork to generate the Academy of Music as a separately incorporated 501c3, capable of fundraising and advertising through non-restrictive channels.

We have refined and fine tuned areas of ministry we felt needed some additional work, such as church accounting, Happy Hollow Administration, organization of church facilities and files. We have ongoing processes to negotiate the relationships between the church and the many ministries who use our facility.

What remains undone is a focused ministry which would define who we are at St. Andrew UMC. In this I want to note several times during the past of St. Andrew when we have been clear about what we wanted to create, and dove in to make this place known in positive ways. We talk about the founding of a Methodist Congregation for the community of Orcutt in 1962, and our rapid development and charter over 5-6 months, moving into a full relationship with the Annual Conference as a non-mission church, on our own and in the black. We talk about the creation of Happy Hollow Preschool, and the needed ministry to families in our area for childcare, whose standard was taken up by Lee and Mary LaFaile. We outgrew our space for worship, developed a second worship service, and put things in motion for the building of a new sanctuary and office spaces. As schools began to cut back on the offerings for music and the arts we designed the Academy of Music to offer low-cost music lessons for the youth of our community. Around the same time we were growing into other areas of music ministry - we purchased a more substantial organ, enhanced the choral offerings with the development of and partnership with Coastal Voices, committed to a Bell Choir, and even bought new choir robes to show off the energy around music ministry at St. Andrew.

Each time we took on a focused approach to enhancing ministry at St. Andrew, there was other energy that was created and spun off to help foster and nurture other ministries. We have reaped those rewards in the successes of the Food Pantry, Vacation Bible School, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, as well as renewed maintenance on old ministries, even to the extent that it meant new coats of paint were applied, new plants planted, new signs were created, and enhancements to the audio and visual systems of the church were added.

There is a bit of church wisdom which states, “A church should always be building a new building”. The wisdom is a result of years of observation that have noted when churches build new buildings, they do it to create new ministries, and that old ministries get an overhaul to keep up, develop greater goals, and focus the energies and commitments of the people of the church. In short, a new building, also builds up the church.

This doesn’t always have to be a structural building, but some building ought to take place. Some of the recent ideas that have been posited for the building up of our facilities at St. Andrew UMC have been to build a parsonage on our site, add a community garden, rehabilitate our front lawn space to include multiple soccer fields, as examples of non-structural building. Structural ideas have suggested finishing some of the building projects outlined in earlier renditions of church planning, such as “blowing out” the walls of the Social Hall or the Narthex to accommodate more people and create new space, adding a bathroom adjacent to the sanctuary and accessible through the indoors, adding on to the playyard, or creating more classroom space for the various uses of the life of the church through the week.

As our pledge campaign for 2013 says, “Committed to the Whole”, we find that growth generates growth. Caring for one area of building, creates other areas where we can build and grow. Using all that you have seen go by, and what you see God calling us to become in the future, take some time to write down or share with the leaders of this church the places where you see the need for us to build, and let’s create consensus to build it together.

Grace and peace,
David Camphouse