Well, the church isn’t new, except to us. We’re changing our church membership from First United Methodist Church of Pensacola to Chumuckla Community Church (a United Methodst congregation). I want to make sure you know that this is a move to, not a move from. First UMC is doing many things to be a witness to Jesus in their community and to serve others. I have enjoyed my many opportunities to teach while I was there.
Recently I was invited to teach a Sunday School series at Chumuckla Community Church. The first day I was there I started to feel that there was something there that I should try to be a part of. Over the course of the five weeks I taught (and I preached once), this feeling got stronger. I also found that Jody was feeling the same thing.
The problem for me was that there are some things happening in the education department at First UMC that I have hoped to see for a long time. Was this the time to be moving on? Then in succession I found that my very small regular Sunday School class (I’m absent guest teaching frequently, and they don’t meet when I’m gone) would very quickly find roles in the new programs. I also received a fall schedule which showed the abundance of resources at First UMC and how well they were being deployed by the new education chair (Joe Taylor) and the new Director of Christian Education, Lisa Bond.
I hadn’t imagined that I was essential to the new programs, but I had felt that I should support things that I had talked about and prayed for over the years I’ve been there.
So Jody and I are now attending a new church, and we’re hoping to be very active participants in ministry there. This church is about the same distance from us north as First UMC was south, so we still have a bit over a half hour drive.
I had thought that I was unlikely to transfer to another United Methodist congregation. This is not due to the various doctrinal controversies that are occupying everyone’s attention right now. Rather, it is due to polity. If I had my own way, I’d probably join or start a house church and meet with a smaller number of people. But unless I discern very poorly (always a possibility), God has other plans right now.
There are enormous opportunities to be the Body of Christ in the community of Chumuckla and the surrounding area. Pray for Jody and for me that we will find and answer God’s call for us in this church.