September 29th, 2011 eNote

Below is my weekly email to the Tonganoxie UMC congregation.  I share it here so that others can keep in touch with what the church is up to.  Let me know if you’d like to be added to the list to receive the note weekly.

Dear Tonganoxie UMC Family,

          I am sending this note a day earlier than usual this week as I will be leaving this afternoon for a quick trip to Nebraska.  I have been invited back to Nebraska Wesleyan, my alma mater, to meet with a campus ministry group tonight and to speak to a couple of classes tomorrow.  I am excited to be back on campus and look forward to the opportunity to share a bit of my story with students currently enrolled.  This evening I’ll be talking about my call story and the journey into ministry with the group of campus ministry students.  Tomorrow morning I’ll be sharing some of my experiences interning with the Interfaith Youth Core and the years I spent coordinating the Days of Interfaith Youth Service in Northwest Indiana.  I would be most grateful for your prayers that my time with them and what I have to say would be a blessing to the students.  Before I leave town I want to share a few things with you today.
New Staff Addition (Kind of)
          Since last November Keith Shank has been serving as our Youth Director, a staff position designed to be half-time at roughly 20 hours a week.  Staff Parish voted this week to hire Keith for an additional 10 hours a week as the Director of Media and Technical Ministries.  The job description will be firmed up in the coming weeks, but responsibilities will include putting together and running projection for Sunday worship (and eventually coordinating a team of volunteers to do this), assisting with filming and editing video for church projects, developing graphics for church projects, and overseeing the building and management of a new website for the church.  Since late spring and early summer Keith has been doing many of these things for the church.  Providing him with the staff hours and compensation specifically for this will now give him back the initial 20 hours a week to focus on youth ministries.  I am excited about all of the potential that this staffing move provides for both our youth and media/technical ministries!
Lay Leadership for 2012
          Churches are, at their best, communities of Christians who combine their gifts and skills to do the work of God in the world.  In order for our church to best function we need skilled and willing lay people to serve in a variety of capacities.  There are administrative teams like Finance, Staff Parish (church HR, if you will), and Trustees.  There are also a variety of program teams; currently we have active Caring/Outreach, Christian Education, Mission, Vision, and Worship Teams.  Next Wednesday, October 5th, the Lay Leadership Team will meet for the first time to begin discussing Ministry Team needs for 2012.  I would love to hear from you regarding two different things.  1.) What team are you interested in being a part of?  2.) Who in the church do you think would be good members of various teams?  Please prayerfully consider these questions and feel free to respond by commenting here or sending me an email.
Upcoming Fellowship and Food Opportunities
          In the next week and a half there are a couple of great opportunities to share food and fellowship with our church family.  Both of these opportunities are also a great time to invite a friend or family member who doesn’t regularly worship with us to come and connect with our church in a relaxed atmosphere.
          Next Thursday evening, October 6th, the UMW is sponsoring a Soup Supper in Hughes Hall from 5-7pm.  There is no set charge for the meal, but a free will donation will be collected.
          Next Sunday afternoon, October 9th, our church family will be heading to Kerby Farms for a great time of fun and fellowship as we pick pumpkins, explore a corn maze, and ride a hayride.  We will be leaving the church at 3:30pm and will return by 6pm for a potluck meal.  Even if you’re unable to join us for the trip to Kerby Farms, feel free to come for the potluck at 6!  Kerby Farms’ admission price is $5.00 for anyone over 3 years old.  Pumpkins are sold for 40 cents a pound.
New Worship Series Kicks Off This Week – Better Together
          Make sure to join us this Sunday in worship (and through the month of October) as we journey through a new sermon series, “Better Together.”  We’ll explore the dual realities that as individuals we are better when working with others and that as a community of faith we are better when people are living out their faith together.  We will begin this Sunday by looking at how we are better together through the act of “Praying Together.”
          I look forward to being with you in worship on Sunday and hope that you have a great rest of your week.  It is, as always, a blessing to be your pastor.
Grace and Peace,
Jeff
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