Last week we reported that we reached our fall goal of a 10% increase in attendance over the same period last year. We are also looking at data that shows us moving steadily toward bringing our year to a strong financial close. But what does that really mean? In a year of denominational turmoil, decline in churches across the nation, and constant political turbulence, how does achieving this seemingly simple goal reflect who we are and where we are going as a church?
“Overall this church has a vision for the future that draws people into a closer relationship with God and does so without setting up unnecessary boundaries,” remarks Rev. Lance Marshall, FUMCFW Co-Pastor, “and I think these attendance numbers are testimony for this vision.”
Lance adds that this increase of this year over last year also coincided with us talking very directly and openly about inviting people to church and about money. “Actually saying to people, ‘Your gifts make this possible. Please give generously to support the mission and ministries of this church’ is received very well by this congregation. When we say ‘your money makes these incredible ministries possible,’ people respond! And when we say, tell people you know what excites you about this church and invite them to come experience it for themselves, it does make a difference!”
I want to lift this up and celebrate this data because not a lot of churches are seeing this happen, specifically United Methodist churches, mainline churches because of things that are happening foundationally and the environment we’re in. We’re such a trend setter. We are all part of a place that is tangibly and visibly and excitedly responding to our mission and our call to ministry.”