Launch event for the Cleveland District Holston Conference
12 participating churches
UPDATE April 2015
First Pastor Listening Session following two day workshop
December 4, 2014
Trunk Or Treat Gift
St. Clair UMC – Rev. Dave Whaley
Who are we?
St Clair UMC is a chord made up of UMC strands from Spring City, Tennessee in The Cleveland District of The Holston Conference in The USA and including 47 nations around the globe composed of many cultures and traditions. St. Clair has experienced some decline and loss of vitality in recent years but has a profound love for our Savior and is called to do His work and obey His will. At the present time we are trying to understand our church history and our current reality so our congregation can be equipped to see the future possibilities for St Clair UMC.
What is our purpose?
St Clair has been “called to action’” to become a ‘forward-leaning’ church that addresses the challenges of our neighbors in the St Clair community of Spring City, Tennessee. We will serve the un-churched in our community and create disciples for our Lord and Savior to engage them to transform the world – responding with love toward one person at a time.
Who is our neighbor?
Our future growth is targeted to a 3-5 mile radius outward from our church at 307 Rocky Springs Road, Spring City, TN 37381
What are our next steps?
Seek our Father’s guidance for St Clair through the congregation - wide prayer for discernment of His will. There are leadership issues involved in achieving growth without residing in the community and town. Issues seem to be (1) No branding (2) Energy available in church for evangelism
Go on mission in St Clair’s community. Statistics and Metrics for St Clair for 2014 to achieve a 300% increase by 12-31-2014
June 22, 2014 St Clair had 6 congregants
Our December 31, 2014 target is 18 congregants
“Vital Signs Weekly Metric”
Soddy UMC – Rev Todd Kingrea
The Soddy UMC Rethink Team met the week before Thanksgiving to discuss the first core question. They plan on meeting again either the first or second week of January to tackle the second question. So far things are going well; good discussions are happening. They are also working on trying to get a few more church members involved in the process.
McDonald UMC – Rev. Anthony Burns
The pastor began revitalization of the congregation through facility upgrades and improved maintenance. This included building improvements, painting, cleaning, and creating a new logo to brand the name McDonald. As a result of the Next Steps workshop, a one page mission and vision was created to inspire people both inside the congregation and in the community.
Additionally outreach community events were identified at the workshop including a Fall Festival, partnering with a Day Care Center, hiring of a new music director, and developing a community center sports complex. The Fall Festival attracted about ninety persons from the community with a majority of the congregation participating and serving in the community event. Also, the first annual tree lighting took place and commanded an article in the local newspaper. Next year other congregations will be asked to join in the tree lighting ceremony with choirs singing carols.
The congregation is going to sponsor one major event each quarter. The following have been identified: chili supper, free sale, caregiver conference, and Christmas tree lighting. Buy-in from the congregation is getting easier and more outreach enthusiasm is being generated. One example where the candy canes that were taken to fifty-five houses in the immediate community by congregational members.
Finally, a community sports complex is being developed for the McDonald community through a parish idea led by Rev. Burns. People are being contacted to donate land, and local agencies are being contacted to assist in designing such a facility.
Benton UMC – Rev. Betsy Switzer
The Benton Rethink Team has finalized their identity and mission statements. They discovered a difference in their demographics study that surprised them. They are the only mainline congregation in the county. A new outreach ministry, Toys For Tots, has been started. This has been successful and the laity has been empowered to tell their story. People were welcomed, loved, and not judged. The congregation vitality team is dreaming of the possibility of an additional worship service designed to reach their community. They are utilizing the Missioninsite demographic data as well as the information available from Tom Bandy's new book, "Worship Ways". Rather than determining their specific preferences for worship styles, they are trying to determine what would best meet the needs of the unchurched in their community.
First Copper Hill UMC – Rev. David Anderson
The Rethink Team surveyed the congregation six times to understand the needs of the congregation and the community. These surveys put them on the road to understanding the needs of the local community children. Blankets, coats, and food have been distributed as well as basic needs of local kindergarten children. A Sunday morning breakfast for kids was initiated. A mentoring program was also initiated at a local school and gifts were provided to teachers for Christmas. Copper Hill now offers a program not only for physical needs but also for offering relational and spiritual nourishment. On Monday evenings about 100-155 people are fed and entertained (five congregations share in this ministry). The Rethink Team discovered again that the location for their congregation is very difficult to find. Additional road signage, as well as Burma-Shave signs have been installed to assist with this invisibility issue.
Mt. Carmel UMC – Rev. Jason Humberd
Mt. Carmel is a very small congregation but has almost doubled in the last few weeks due to the intentional vitality building project. A new microphone was needed, and Rev. Jason spent personal monies to purchase. Then, the congregation contributed three times the amount needed in order to support intentional vitality building. Rev. Jason is leading the congregation to expand its own concept of worship and make it more child friendly.
The Halloween trunk or treat was a success with 300-400 kinds attending. Names of attendees in the community were obtained through raffles of gift cards. The congregation is planning and developing a new playground to be opened in the Spring 2015. A Latino service is also being considered. They are in discussion with regard to partnering with other congregations and resources and in their community to address Hispanic Latino worship needs as well as community development needs. It is worth noting that Rev. Jason has been their pastor for less than three months.
Allen Memorial UMC – Rev. Melissa Smith
The Rethink Team at Allen is sorting through ideas of great need is in order to be more vital in the community. They are considering outreach to firefighters and to low income needs in the community. An initial banquet for the firefighters was received with great enthusiasm: they even offer the pastor a ride on the new fire truck! The congregation is showing some anxiousness about outreach but will work through this with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is worth noting that significant progress has been made in the face of a congregational setback issue unrelated to the pastor or the church leadership.
Decatur UMC – Rev. Huge Bryant
The Decatur congregation had been a self-focused congregation, but not any longer. They are on fire to reach out to the immediate community through after school programs. These have included: a Halloween party, adopting families for Christmas, and coordinating a Mobile Health Unit one day a month on their parking lot site. church volunteers assist the clinic with hospitality and clerical needs.
According to Missioninsite reports there are 2,800 people within three miles of the church facility. Decatur is becoming a more vital congregation in their community.