Good Afternoon Central, This is the second edition of In The Know, a way for me to keep you informed on some things I'm thinking and what's going on here at Central. First, as you heard on Sunday, our bishop Mary Virginia Taylor has called all Holston Conference churches to be praying our way forward for the United Methodist Church, humbly asking God to bless us and empower us to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The UMC churches in Oak Ridge and Chattanooga have been given today as our day to pray. To make it easy for you, two prayers for today written by youth at St, John's UMC are below. Thank you in advance for your prayers. Secondly. as you may have read in my neighborhood chat report, I recommended that we form a short term vision/process team (made up of new & long time members) to reexamine our ministry blueprint at Central and determine some next action steps for us as a church. This group of about folks will be meeting this Sunday afternoon. In preparation for this, I have been reading some demographic data about our area. Here are a few things I found:
The 10 year population growth projection in Loudon County is 23.7%
In a five mile radius of the church, we are 88% white and 8% hispanic.
The average age of Loudon County is 41.
The biggest growth age segments over the next 10 yrs in a five mile radius of the church are those aged 25-34 and those 65 and over.
The top religious preferences of folks are spiritual discussion/bible study groups, marriage enrichment, senior activities, and children's Christian education.
There will be an increase in single parent families.
I share with you this information because as you know, the church is called to reach people for Christ and impact our community. In order to better reach a community, we need to understand our community more specifically. I am looking forward to beginning our October sermon series Un/Common as we look at what makes church Un/Common from any other organizations. This Sunday we will also celebrate World Communion Sunday, as we join Christians throughout the world uniting with Jesus Christ. See you on Sunday! God's Best to You,
Two Prayers for Daily Devotion written by youth from St. John UMC, Chattanooga District
The first prayer, written by Jordan Hudson, high school student
I ask that you watch over us as we go through tough times in this world. Real world problems and personal problems are a lot to carry on our shoulders but you make it easier. When our days are dark and the path is unclear you shine through with your all mighty light and open our eyes to the clear truth. You allow us to carry on your will by spreading the word of the Bible. Lord, I ask you again that you will lighten the path of faith to all of us, so we can follow your footsteps and become more holy. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
2. The second prayer, written by Madi Blackburn, high school student
Thank you for Your indescribable love and mercy that you have for us. Thank you that You never leave us and that you provide everything we need for life and godliness. Thank you for the abundant life that we have in You! I ask that You would lead us and guide us. Please give us wisdom to be able to discern Your voice and then obey it. In Jesus’ name, silence every other voice so that we can hear Yours. I pray that our churches would be an undeniable light for You. May we abide in You, and may we allow Your love to reach out to others through us. May we be broken vessels, cracked but with Your light shining through. Help us make disciples of all nations, not forgetting about our neighbors all around us. I just ask for direction and revelation about what You want to do through us. May we trust You, because it is only through You that we can do anything. Apart from You, we can do nothing. You are the life-blood within us, the rock that we stand on, the shepherd that guides us. Thank you, God, for who you are. We love you and we praise you!
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.