A few weeks ago, our choir director (who also has served as a volunteer youth director) resigned to take a higher paying position at a nearby Episcopalian church. While we are all sorry to see her go, we are excited for her family and the opportunities her new position will bring her way.
I've also been encouraging JUMC to look at this as a blessed opportunity. While our first choice would have been for our staff to remain intact, the Spirit has brought us a chance to "jumpstart" our ministry and begin to really take advantage of the growth in the area to work on our disciple-making mission.
While we begin the search for a new choir director, we already have a temporary "fill in" lined up, who can work with us through the important Advent and Christmas seasons, when beautiful, quality music is our sincere desire. Also, JUMC has decided to begin the search for someone to oversee not only Youth ministry, but ministries to children and families as well. This is a big step for JUMC, as they've never had paid staff for this kind of ministry. We recognize that it will be a leap of faith and will work hard to see that the resources are there, but the church really feels called to "take the next step" and begin to move into the future.
We are also beginning a building program to connect our church and education buildings, complete with a much needed new roof on our ed. building, as well as a revamped exterior. The new design is really exciting and is traditional yet contemporary, which will, I think really be attractive to visitors, especially if our ministry matches our appearance.
Additionally, in 2007, we're beginning a visioncasting time, during which we will prayerfully seek the Spirit's leading regarding our future. To where is God calling us? How does he want us to get there? What does God want the ministry of JUMC to look like in 5 years...10 years...20 years?
It's an exciting time to be here, and I am thrilled that God has planted the McIlwain family in this place at this moment in time!
"I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High..."
- Psalm 9:1-2 (TNIV)