We will soon be watching/hearing the “State of the Union,” which as we all know is more than a little unsettled. In that context, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect, with a set of hopefully objective eyes and ears, on the health and condition of your church.
In a word, it is good. Pastor Neumann--as the longest serving pastor since this church was planted by the UCC in 1963—served you faithfully and well. The church thrives and serves the congregation, community and beyond with many ministries and missions.
From my personal experience with financially struggling churches cross-denominationally, you are in an enviable position. Notably, you are mission-focused, committing some $ 220,000/year in outreach, including a significant commitment to free Joyful Noise tuitions. Few churches can compare in either absolute or relative terms to Pilgrim’s faithfulness in Missions.
There is one ministry, however, which from my earliest days among you cries out for more focus and funding: Christian Education and Youth Ministry. Despite considerable investment and effort for the past five years, regrettably, the Contemporary Service has under-achieved the goal of attracting young families, children and youth. I
urge that the church seriously consider creating the new position of Youth Minister, staffed by a person with a proven track record and training in this ministry. Today in America teens, especially, are confronted with life situations and temptations that those of us of previous generations did not have to face. They need a safe place and
forum where the stresses they encounter every day can be openly discussed and addressed. They need ethical and moral formation. When we baptize children the church makes a solemn pledge to love, support and care for them and we pray to God to receive, nurture and befriend them as new members in the Body of Christ, which is the
Church. I would ask all of you to prayerfully consider whether Pilgrim is doing this and if not what the Holy Spirit might be leading us to do.
In mid to late February I will be asking you to fill out a brief questionnaire rating my ministry among you to date. It is very important to receive your feedback as I endeavor to shepherd you through this transition period. Around the same time, you will be receiving a more comprehensive Search Committee questionnaire. Please devote a few thoughtful minutes to fill them both out. The Committee and I really need your input in order to better serve you.
For those who worship God through Nature, sky and sea, I invite you to join me and “Buddy,” our sea-loving Black Lab, for 2 hours of “Gasparilla Ministry” on Thursday and Sunday afternoons, weather permitting. Sign-up sheets are in the narthex. Please write down your name(s) and phone number(s). Maximum of 5 on any given day.
God Loves You
Our Sunday services are designed to meet the needs of our diverse and ever growing congregation. Whether traditional worship or a more contemporary atmosphere is your preferred way to fellowship, Pilgrim Church has the service to meet your lifestyle.