Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bless Austell

a Biblical thought...
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

a Book thought...
In the workplace Gen Y's expect to be treated as equals, they expect to have choices and input into decision-making processes, expectations that run counter to hierarchical systems of leadership. (p170)
a Dave thought...
Like many other smaller churches, 170-member Austell First United Methodist Church struggled with several limitations. The congregation’s membership no longer matches the demographics of its surrounding community. The church lacks Sunday morning children’s and youth ministries, and struggles just to hold its tiny, five-member choir together. Church members concluded it was time to try another approach. “Our community has changed, and thus our definition of a successful church has had to change as well,” said Mr. DeHart. “We decided that if people won’t come to us, we’ll go to them.”

The church crafted a new vision, dubbed “Bless Austell,” focused on blessing and serving the community. As part of that vision, church members articulated core values: “God goes before us,” “Deliver radical love that amazes the world it touches,” “Be the hands and feet of Christ,” “Leave the results to God” and “Make people wonder why we are doing this.” New ongoing programs for the community were created, including free midweek aerobics classes, a free community dinner (Grace Cafe) every Thursday night and a tuition-free, weekday preschool (Feed My Lambs) for lower-income families. The church is also reaching out to engage area schools. At nearby Austell Primary School, church members host teacher-appreciation lunches twice a year, volunteer at the school's annual Spring Fling, and recently purchased and laid 60 bales of pine straw at the school. The church has begun new outreaches with Austell Intermediate and Garrett Middle Schools as well. In addition, Austell First supports the community food pantry and clothes closet, delivers birthday baskets of goodies to residents at an assisted-living home and provides volunteers at community events.While Austell First members are focusing outward, they’ve also seen some changes take place inside the church along the way. Giving is up over 20 percent as God provides for the mission.

Just a thought.

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