M-Note 6.25.2021

Part of The Gathering’s vision is to create a Christian community for new generations. This means that we want to be a community that invites kids into the faith, forms students in faith, and creatively engages college students and younger adults to follow God’s call in their own life. As part of this vision, we strive to inspire and equip younger people to be leaders in the church. One of the most exciting aspects of this work is the number of people that have heard a call to ordained ministry while at The Gathering and have gone on to serve other churches using what they learned and experienced here.
Two weeks ago, I attended the United Methodist annual conference for all Missouri clergy and lay representatives. It was a hybrid event, so while some people were there in person, I participated virtually. Each year at this annual conference a few important things happen, including the ordination of new pastors and the appointment by the bishop of all current clergy to the churches they will serve for the next year. I am happy to report that all four of your clergy – Adam, Matt Fulmer, Charity, and me -- are returning for another year of ministry at The Gathering. For me, it marks the beginning of my 16th year here, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.
Along with this news, we have several people from The Gathering who are beginning or continuing in pastoral leadership at other churches. Amanda Gastreich, who for a long time volunteered and served at our Webster site, has graduated from Eden seminary and will begin serving full-time as the pastor of Eldon United Methodist Church. Andrew McCausland, a member of The Gathering who is now in seminary, will become the pastor of two United Methodist Churches in Gray Summit and Union.  Marie Griffin, another member of The Gathering is now serving at Centenary UMC downtown where she leads Anchor Coffeehouse. Meagan O’Brien, who many of you remember from her various roles on staff at The Gathering, has been appointed to a second year as pastor of Shiloh United Methodist Church, and Danny Lybarger, our former BarChurch and Webster Site Pastor, was just ordained and will be starting a new church in St. Charles. Our very own Webster Site Pastor Adam Baker was also ordained last week back in North Carolina (his “home” conference).
I want to celebrate alongside all of these folks, and I hope you will, as well. I also want to thank you for being the kind of church that is developing a new generation of leaders. Many churches don’t get the chance to see one of their own go on to be a pastor. We get to regularly celebrate it. I am grateful that God is using our church for this purpose.
But, you know what? God isn’t done. Before any of these people were pastors, they started out following a small nudge to get more involved in church. So my question is, are you feeling a nudge? Do you sense God calling you to do more or offer more? Are you ready to take a step towards volunteering or serving in some way? If so, let us know. It doesn’t mean you have to be a pastor, in fact, most people find fulfilling ways to serve and impact the church as lay people (aka, non-pastors). If you are feeling the nudge to serve, please reach out to me or one of the other pastors. We would love to talk to you about what God might be doing in your life. Listen to the nudge. You never know where it might lead.
P.S. This weekend, I am continuing our series REAL: The Power of Vulnerability. I will talk about why it is healthy for us to be vulnerable with other people, especially when it comes to our struggles and sins. Also, The Gathering is hosting another Witnessing Whiteness class this Fall. If you are interested in learning about this experience, you can find more information on our website.

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