Twenty Students Confirmed Last Sunday // M-Note 3.9.24

Here is a sobering statistic – in 2022 over 70% of United Methodist Churches had no new baptisms, confirmands, or members. That means there were no new babies being welcomed in, no students getting confirmed, and no new people deciding to get baptized or become members. There are lots of reasons for this - cultural disinterest in religion, declining church participation, reluctance to invite friends, and aging congregations just to name a few.
Against this backdrop, I want to celebrate with you that last Sunday afternoon 160 people gathered at our Webster site to see 20 students get confirmed, and two get baptized. As part of confirmation all of these students committed to be members of The Gathering. These students spent the last couple of months meeting, learning, wrestling with their own faith, and what it means to claim it for themselves. I showed the students a picture of my own confirmation. We talked about belief and doubts, the way Jesus continues to teach us more about our faith over a lifetime, and the importance of knowing that though we may drift from faith, God always is waiting and welcomes us back. It was fun to be with the students, meet their extended families, and be part of them taking a step forward in their own faith.
God is doing something unique in and through this church. I never want us to take that for granted. I hope that you are encouraged by this, and inspired to take a step in your own commitment – to faith, to worship, and to the church. The Gathering is what it is because so many of you are committed to showing up, inviting your friends, volunteering, being generous with your money, and sharing your own excitement for what our church is about. I hope you will continue to do that. Remember that every time you make a decision to be a part of this church, you are helping to create a unique community where others are finding faith for themselves.
I want to thank everyone who is reading The Methodist Book of Daily Prayer as a devotional. All money from book sales this Lent is going to The Gathering’s Literacy Project, along with our entire Easter Offering. If you didn’t get a book or the cost is prohibitive, just ask your site pastor, and they will give you one. This weekend we’re continuing our sermon series Entourage: Characters in Jesus’ Crew. We’re going to meet two lesser known, but fascinating, characters - Simon of Cyrene and Joseph of Arimathea. Their example of serving Jesus even when it was dangerous has a lot to teach us about our own faith. I hope you’ll invite someone to join you.
Have a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
P.S. Easter at The Factory is just about three weeks away and I hope you’ve already extended some invitations to friends and family. We also need a lot of volunteers. We’ve been joking that, because we have two service times, you can “Serve One, Sit One!” Simply meaning that you’re free to fully participate in worship during the service at which you’re not serving. So, please consider volunteering.
Posted in

No Comments