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Pastor Ken's Korner

 

 

 

BOILING SPRINGS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

PASTOR’S REPORT TO THE CHARGE CONFERENCE

  November 21, 2021

 

 The State of the Church

 

                              We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,

                who are called according to His purpose. What then are we to say about these things?

                                               If God is for us, who is against us? --Romans 8:28, 31.

 

     As I write this report, I think back to my first one in the Fall of 2015. We have come a long way since that first year. The first of March of next year (only four months from now) will mark the beginning of my eighth year as your Pastor and will become the longest serving Pastor in the history of Boiling Springs UMC going back to its founding in 1839.

I feel honored, and so richly blessed!

 

     This past year has included successes for us, and some under-achievements as well. The Coronavirus Pandemic has affected every single church in America, as it has affected every denomination as well. As United Methodists, and as a fellowship of believers, we could not be immune to these affects. When the Pandemic hit, we had to react based on denominational protocols, good sense, and good science. Some of our folks thought we were reacting too cautiously, and initially dismissed the Pandemic as a governmental fabrication. Others thought we did not act aggressively enough, nor take enough action quickly. While we are each and all entitled to our opinions, I believe our Church Council took appropriate action in what we did and what we were able to achieve during these stressful times.

Our current status is good—not great, but good.

 

     I preached a series of sermons a couple of months ago, based on Tod Bolsinger’s book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory. If you will remember, Bolsinger likened the condition of the current Church to the dilemma faced by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, they were to find a water route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. But what they found were the Rocky Mountains—and had to completely change their strategy, “un-learning” much of what they had learned to prepare them for the expedition, scrapping much of their now unneeded equipment, and find new approaches, set new goals, work with new people, and achieve their objective by other means. The Church faces such a dilemma today! In the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans referenced above, “What then are we to say about these things?”

 

     First, some good news! Although our revenues this past year have decreased slightly, our expenses have decreased even more—leaving us in a slightly better financial position now than before the Pandemic. Our thanks to all of our Church members and friends who have “stepped up to the plate” and have continued the financial support of their Church. We have continued our support of our missional priorities, all of our bills are paid (including denominational apportionments), and we have continued to raise funds for our multi-purpose building and other projects.

 

     I do my best to visit our shut-ins and others who cannot attend Sunday worship, usually with flowers (from the previous Sunday’s bouquets), homemade cookies, or Holy Communion. If folks cannot come to Church, then the Church must come to them! Hospitalizations, with or without surgery, are met with a visit by me as soon as the news is communicated. My thanks especially to Charles & Carolyn Taylor and Wayne & Nancy Ricard, who make many visits to our folks as well. Kudos also to Sylvia Backman who maintains our Prayer Chain and the sharing of the news

of our folks in need.

 

     Our pre-Pandemic attendance (adding both services together) was about 150 persons per Sunday. As we are now approaching the end of the Pandemic, our attendance is about half that number (with one service on Sunday). We need to get back to Church! I know some of our folks stay in the comfort of their home and view us on Facebook, YouTube or other means—but there is nothing that comes close to being in the Sanctuary with those of

“like mind and Spirit” worshipping together.

 

     It is also no secret that we have lost a few couples, some with children, to other churches. It is difficult to compete with churches that are four times our size, with huge budgets to match! Also, these churches are independent Christian fellowships, and are not governed by denominational protocols and regulations. When I hear that someone may be “church-shopping,” I contact them personally immediately, and attempt to find out where they feel their needs are not being met, so we may address them. One family has done this, and for that I am grateful. Others meet with me but refuse to express their concerns so we may address them. Another family would not return my telephone calls

or texts at all.

 

     Our Staff Parish Relations Committee at its meeting on November 9th, expressed its concern with regard to our ministries to/for our children, and gave me a mandate to address this with high priority. Sunday School attendance among our adults has remained steady, with two classes on Sunday and one on Thursday mornings. But attendance among our children and youth has dropped significantly. Realizing that we are unable to staff our successful “Wonderful Wednesdays” program any longer, an effort is underway to take a fresh, new look at where we are, what we are about, and where we need to go. We cannot wait—the future of our Church depends upon it!

 

     Our Church Council continues to be the model of success! My personal thanks to Chairperson Lyndell Shealy, who brings his knowledge, expertise and depth of faith to every meeting. Start-to finish, our alternate-month meetings last about an hour, with a report package previously sent so that time is not wasted at the meeting reading reports. All ministries of the Church, both programmatic and administrative, are represented at each meeting. Efficiency at its best!

 

     I intend to propose at this Charge Conference, the creation of a Young Disciples Task Force. Composed of present and former Sunday School teachers and other Christian educators, with input from our Sunday School[1]age parents and others, its purpose will be to take a fresh look at Christian education at Boiling Springs UMC, with an eye toward revitalization and excitement, as well as modernization and utilization of all the “tools” available to us. I see this Task Force up and running immediately after the holidays—we have no time to lose!

 

     We have done our best, through the work of our Committee on Nominations and Lay Leadership, to assemble the best possible leadership team to take our Church solidly into the future. My thanks to all the members of this Committee, for their knowledge and expertise, and for their depth of faith. We welcome Marsha Derrick as our new

Financial Secretary, further expanding our Committee on Financial Ministries.

 

     Finally, one last thing! Effective communication and the sharing of ideas is essential to any organization, and certainly for any Church. I know of few pastors who give their cellular telephone number for the congregation to use as his/her contact number. Please use it, on any day, at any time, to get in touch with me for any reason. If I am in a meeting, driving, or at a hospital bedside, leave a message and I will return your call within the hour.

 

     I am excited to be a part of this wonderful Church. I have always believed that the best years for Boiling Springs UMC are not in the past, but are in the future! Let’s all join in and work together to make that happen!!!

 Pastor Ken

 

                                                                                                    

Boiling Springs United Methodist Church - PO Box 84055, Lexington, SC 29073  - (803) 894-3930 / Pastor Ken Prill (803) 873-7742