June 26, 2017

                                                           

                                                                Pastor Geri Hamlen

Greetings and welcome to Trinity!  It is my pleasure to meet you here in the cyber-world of our website, and if I have not met you in person, I surely would like to.  Please except my invitation to you to join us for one of our upcoming worship services and get to know the Trinity family.  If you have any questions or would like to know more, please drop us an email through our contact field, or call the church office.  We look forward to meeting you!
 
 

Pastor’s Ponderings

What is effectiveness, and how do churches measure it for themselves? Great question. At a recent meeting of the ministerial association here in Dickinson County, I discovered that United Methodists share something in common with our Evangelical Covenant neighbors and friends. We both use ‘vitality’ as a measure of effectiveness. The dictionary defines vitality as ‘capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.’[i]

Last fall, the Michigan Conference for United Methodist Churches invited Trinity to participate in a nine-month process called the Vital Church Initiative here in the Upper Peninsula. The process includes a reading list and nine different sessions with a consultant/facilitator who is helping us to understand the life-cycle of congregations and identify our current situation.
 
We are part of a cohort of Upper Peninsula United Methodist Churches[ii] who have been identified as churches with strong histories of faithfulness, blessed with gifts of ministry and enough energy to undertake a study of vitality and effectiveness. The intention is to use this initiative to support and encourage each other as we are seeking to identify God’s intention for our various congregations, and to name the forces that hold us back from achieving more vital and effective ministries.
 
Wow…big order, but what a great opportunity to take a look at the bigger picture of God’s movement in our church and community. What is our current reality and where do we see God moving us in the next seven to 10 years?
 
The first session in Marquette, at the end of March, challenged the Away Team to think long and hard about the Mission of The United Methodist Church. The Mission has been the same since 1968. It’s printed in our Book of Discipline and is the guiding principle for all UMC churches, Annual Conferences, and agencies of the Church: The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
 
The good news is…Trinity UMC does not have to create a mission—we already have this one, right in front of us.
 
The challenging news is…how are we doing with making disciples? What are we doing to share Jesus with others? Is there eagerness and vitality in our approach to inviting, witnessing, blessing people in the larger community with the Good News that God loves us all? That’s what we, as members of the VCI team, are called to ponder. What do you think?

One author says there are three things that we need to know in order to carry out our church’s unique mission in our location:  

1. Why do people need Christ? 
2. Why do people need the church?
3. Why do people need this particular church?[iii]

Great questions. Questions that deserve our prayers, our study, our conversation. You will be hearing more about VCI as time goes by. The seeds are being planted, one person at a time. Please pray for your church and the people on the teams. God’s peace to us all.

In the name of Jesus, Pastor Geri

VCI Away Team: Moira Cowling, Pastor Geri, Jack Noyce, Kristy Ryan, Bill Verrette

Home Team: Brian and Celeste Bancroft, Dawn Riutta, Nathan Ruble, Sally Verley, Bob Waldbillig

 i.Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.Copyright 2005, 1997,1991 by Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved.
ii Ishpeming Wesley UMC, Escanaba Central UMC, Hancock First UMC. 
iii Hamilton, Adam, Leading Beyond the Walls.