What a Year for Our Church!

By December 20, 2018
As 2018 winds its way to a close we want to take a moment to celebrate an extraordinary year in the life of our church and faith community. In addition to our steady and growing average weekly worship attendance of 1,173 across six different services, our bustling children’s, youth, and senior adult ministries continue to gain momentum. In addition to our active pastoral care and support of congregation members, we continue to reach beyond our walls with robust mission and outreach programs on our campus, in our community, across the nation and around the world. Among this year’s many noteworthy First Church reflections are:

Focus First

We began 2018 with active focus on the future of our church with the culmination of our yearlong Focus First strategic planning process in a February Leadership Summit attended by 130 church leaders. Listed in order of priority as established by this Leadership Summit were:

1. Make changes to our physical facilities to create “A building that connects the church” 
To facilitate opportunities for connection between our ministries, worship communities, and other groups within our congregation, we will leverage the strengths of our beautiful, historic campus while creating new opportunities for connection and growth.

2. Develop a Small Groups ministry that builds relationships in “Life-giving groups”
To create opportunities in which every member connects with a group of people who helps facilitates spiritual growth and discipleship, we will invite all new members and visitors to participate in a group that fits their needs.

3. Support and embrace Youth ministry as “Our leading edge”
To encourage the growth and work of our Youth Ministries we will find new ways to deeply commit our congregation to ministry with teenagers. As a church we will welcome, encourage, and empower teenagers in Christian community and discipleship.

4. Increase our congregational diversity to better reflect “The Kingdom of God”
To broaden our horizons, grow our circles of influence, and open ourselves to others from all walks of life in new and compelling ways, we will explore ways to refine our vision for creating an increasingly diverse faith community.

Following the Leadership Summit and approval of this thoughtful work by our Church Council, our Focus First Steering Committee created three special lay-led Innovation Teams to work alongside the Focus First Steering Committee and church staff to develop a 3-to 5-year plan for implementing these strategic objectives. Click here to read the full summary report of the Focus First discernment process approved by the church council.

Next90

With the top vote-getting priority the expansion of our facilities to meet current and future ministry needs, our Building Study Committee worked tirelessly throughout this year, and at our December 9 called congregational meeting we voted as a church to move forward with a capital campaign and more detailed architectural planning. Click here to learn more about Next90.

2018 at a Glance

In addition to the big milestones we accomplished in 2018, we celebrate many other clear markers of our growth, vibrance, and commitment to Love GodServe People, and Transform Lives as a Downtown church and faith community, including:

230 new members joined our church

48 young people were confirmed on Confirmation Sunday

76 baptisms: 55 babies and children, 18 confirmands and 3 adults have been baptized

20,506 Sunday School/Small Group attendees met in the name of Christ

48,068 people participated in one of the eight Sunday morning worship services

400 members of our United Methodist Women came together over at least 5 general meetings (not counting individual Circle meetings and activities!)

715 children ranging in age from 3 to 11 years, deepened their relationship with Christ through Summer JAM and Vacation Bible School

115 youth spent part of their summer in mission to others by traveling to a total of 7 states as well as here in Fort Worth

840 church members spent time focusing on First Church by participating in Focus First surveys, small groups, and a leadership summit

IMMEASURABLE volunteer hours of First Church service to others, including
• Habitat for Humanity
• Ronald McDonald House
• Disaster response
• Church leadership committees
• VBS and Summer JAM
• Hospitality
• Adult and youth mission projects

Year-End Giving

Thank you for all each of you do for our life-changing First Church ministries and programs. For your gift to qualify as a charitable deduction on your 2018 income taxes, please be sure to follow these 2018 Year-End Giving Deadlines:

Gifts sent to FUMCFW must be postmarked no later than Monday, December 31.

Credit card gifts must be made by midnight Monday, December 31. You can give online.

Gifts of stocks must be received in FUMCFW accounts by Friday, December 28. Please contact the Business Office (817-336-7277) for instructions on electronic transfers of stock.

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