Dear Central, Good Morning! I hope you have had a good week. For those who were able to make it out last Sunday for the combined worship service featuring the wind symphony, I know you were blessed. All of the special music was great. Almost soon after we made the call to have the service, that is when the snow started to come down and I was pleased how many of you ventured out in spite of the weather. We had a few folks here on Sunday from other churches that cancelled services. A few weeks ago Joel Malone, our business administrator, told us that December income often determines how we end up for the year financially. The response from you next Sunday was significant. This past Sunday was much less significant because many of you were not here because of the weather. As of today, we are were $47,633 behind our expenses for the year. I humbly ask you to remember your church these last two weeks and help us to finish 2018 strong! (If you need to take a required minimum distribution and need to save on taxes, Joel can give you more information.) Part of my role as lead pastor is to look beyond Christmas and to look into the new year. I wanted you to know of a few things coming up in January: 1) Lay Servant Training: Jan 12 - If you want to learn more how to serve and inspire others to a deeper commitment to Christ, I invite you to consider reserving this day for training. Central will host the Tennessee Valley district from 8:30am - 5pm. There are three course options:
Lay Servant Basic Class taught by Rev John Justice
Advance Course on UM Polity (Church Governance) by Rev. Dennie Humphries
Advanced Course on Worship taught by Rev. Dr. Scott Layer
These classes do not have to be taken in order and you are welcome to sign up. In my class, I will cover designing traditional and contemporary worship including the uses of technology. The cost for the courses is $40 and includes lunch, snacks, and the book for the course. The deadline is January 2nd and you can register by emailing Bobby Stair. 2) SHAPE - Sunday and Wednesday Night Option - This class helps you discover your gifts for ministry and the different ways you can make an impact in God's kingdom. Beginning Wednesday January 9th at 6:15pm and Sunday January 13 at 10am, we will have two 4 week options. This class will be lead by our Serving Lay Leader Corrie Olson. You can register for either 4 week option on Sundays or Wednesdays here. 3) Faithful Families - This four week class (Monday and Thursday nights) lead by Shiela Borders will combine cooking tasty, healthy food, faith, and long term health. It will start on January 7 at 6:00pm. For more information or to sign up, contact Sheila Borders.
4) The New Testament Challenge - Beginning January 6, I am inviting you to take the New Testament Challenge. It is the challenge to read the New Testament for yourself. Believe it or not, most people never have! You can read the New Testament in 60 days by just reading for about 15 minutes a day. Mark Twain once said, "It's not the parts of the Bible that I don't understand that give me trouble. It's the parts of the Bible that I do understand." My sermons for the first two months of 2019 are based on challenges from the New Testament from the readings. In addition, there will be a sermon based small group option based on our New Testament Readings beginning January 13 at 10:00am. More info will be available soon on our website but I invite you to take the challenge for yourself! I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we continue to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Here are my sermon notes. Yours in Christ,