And the WIG goes to . . .

By June 28, 2019

In the Central Texas Conference, our deep commitment to our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is underscored by a friendly competition over what the annual conference has dubbed Wildly Important Goals (WIG) to challenge ourselves and one another to move beyond our comfort-zones to help engage, welcome, and encourage more people to begin or renew their faith journey.

A WIG award is presented based on two measurements: average worship attendance market share and professions of faith. (A church calculates market share by dividing average worship attendance by the number of people in its mission field.) Each year at Annual Conference, there are two WIG awards given in each district of the church.

This year, for the second year in a row, FUMCFW walked away toting this coveted award, primarily for the professions of faith we’ve received in the past year in our church. While these spray-painted gold John Wesley bobble-heads are a light-hearted way to recognize a serious accomplishment (While no one really knows what JW would think of this questionable likeness, it’s pretty certain he’d love what it stands for!) Another nice honor First Church received during the CTC Annual Conference was recognized as one of the top ten churches in giving to the Methodist Children’s Home.

Among all the local churches of the Central Texas Conference,  amounting to, collectively, 15 consecutive months of steady growth, our CTC enthusiastically congratulates this “growth ON TOP of growth!!!” In addition to new growth, the Average Worship Attendance (AWA) over the 12 months ending April was also up slightly, the CTC reports, and growth in churches receiving New Faith Community Grants continues to exceed the Conference average and came in at 5 percent.

“New things attract new people!” the CTC report goes on to say.  “The number of churches growing continues to rise – now up to 133 or almost 50 percent of our churches! For Professions of Faith, we are already at 40 percent of our 2019 goal with just one-third of the year complete!”

“The annual conference helps us focus and achieve on growth goals by creating the WIG Awards and measurements to continually emphasize this vitally important goal,” explains Rev. Lance Marshall, Sr. Associate Pastor. “From an annual conference level, from the bishops and the cabinet, there is one imperative that all churches are to push for, and that is increased worship attendance.

“No matter what you feel like you need at the church, whether it’s stronger mission or stronger education, everything comes down to, Are you engaging people in worship? Are you growing your worship attendance? Does your church effectively engage non-Christian and non-believing Christian people in your community?

Adding that this third question encompasses the profession of faith issue for which we were most recognized for the past two years,” Lance continues, “a profession of faith includes both adult baptisms —people who come forward — confirmands, and many who have been baptized previously in their life, but they have no transfer of membership because they are not an active church member of any kind. These are people who are re-engaging with faith in a meaningful way. So we consider all of this “profession of faith.” It’s not getting re-baptized; Methodist are only baptized once in their lives, but it is a sacred act of commemorating a renewed commitment to their faith.”

FUMCFW won its first WIG, also the first in our district, last year. This year’s award makes us the only church in our conference that has ever won two WIG awards. “We celebrate all this on behalf of this church and our genuine effort to connect, engage, and welcome people when they come,” Lance adds.

With this award comes a $1000 prize, which of course will be reinvested in our First Church quest for a three-peat. Thank you to everyone in our congregation and mission field who welcomes, engages, and shows hospitality and welcome to visitors, guests and people in the community who may have lost touch with their faith or never experienced the difference it can make in their lives. Good work, everyone!

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