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"Thrive, Find Your Niche, and Commit to Mission"

Dear Friends,

In an article entitled “Eleven Characteristics of Effective Smaller Churches,” David R. Ray states that there are faithful and exceptional qualities that effective smaller churches have that make them successful. Among these are: worship, taking advantage of your size, a family spirit, have fun, commit to mission, find your distinctive niche, pastoral leadership, effectiveness of laity, using resources wisely, “Thrive! Don’t just survive,” and nurturing a passionate faith.

The Session at it’s last meeting discussed each of these eleven characteristics and how they are expressed here at First Presbyterian Church. After a great conversation, the conclusion was that we are doing pretty well with most of these priorities. Some we can do better and others we need to continue doing as we are now.

Here are a few that I think we do especially well: “Thrive! Don’t just survive,” “Find your niche,” and “Commit to mission.” These three priorities go hand in hand. If you look at the upcoming events we a are doing in the weeks ahead, you see why I feel we do these three things well. Years ago, this congregation said it wanted to thrive, not just survive. We saw in need for community luncheons and we are now in our eleventh year of the Good News Café. We saw a need for children and family events for our larger community and in July we will offer our fifteenth annual Vacation Bible School. On May 26th, we will have our third annual Spring for Kidz Carnival which last year brought over 500 people to our church grounds. A number of our church family members were fighting cancer and we formed the Presby Striders and we will be again participating in The Lake Region Relay for Life, this year on May 19th and 20th. I could go on, but I think you will agree with me that we found our niche and have committed ourselves to mission. We are definitely thriving and not just surviving!

A number of years ago, the congregation created the Youth and Children’s Ministry Fund, which is supported by our Annual Golf Tournament, Spring for Kidz, and The Pentecost Offering. This year, Pentecost will be observed on Sunday, May 20th and The Pentecost Offering for Youth and Children’s Ministries will be received at that time. Remember, that 40% of the offering stays here and supports our church’s ministry to children and youth. Please be as generous as you are able. (Also, don’t forget to wear something red that Sunday, as we honor the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of our congregation!)

See you in church!

Grace, Peace, and Love,

Pastor Bill

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