Dear FBCD Friends,
There is so much going on, sisters and brothers, so much happy forward progress at our church! Let me highlight a few weeks rather briefly in this week's letter:
• We have been very happy to welcome four new church members in the last two weeks! They are Aaron McGinnis, Rackley and Lorin Boren, and Kate Gushee, the latter of whom happens to be my beloved baby sister. We are so glad you have decided to join your lives with ours here at FBCD. We invite others to also consider taking the next step in commitment at FBCD.
• I am giving the name "strategic outreach initiatives" to those things we do that draw people to our campus and give us an opportunity to offer them hospitality and help them get to know our church. Last week we offered two such events: the Fall Festival on Wednesday, and the Dinner and a Show (with surprise appearances by the freshly reincarnated Cole Porter and Ethel Merman) on Friday. Both events were hugely successful and brought hundreds to us. This Thursday at 7 pm we have another special opportunity when we host author (and my personal friend) Brian McLaren to speak about his new book The Great Spiritual Migration. And next Saturday, November 12th, we have a fourth such event coming with our Movie Night on the Lawn. What wonderful developments! Thanks to all who are making this great stuff happen!
• My 5 E's sermon series hit the theme of "Embracing Decatur" this past Sunday. Using Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:8, and Hebrews 13:1-3, I proposed a theology of mission emphasizing verbal and lived proclamation of the Gospel beginning in our own Jerusalem, which is Decatur. I talked about what a fabulous city Decatur is, described its particular characteristics, and recounted the very many ways in which we are already embedded in, representative of, and in service to this community. I called for more strategic outreach initiatives to serve our community and invite people to move nearer to Christ on their spiritual journey.
• Next week I will preach on the theme "Economic Sustainability with Christian Values." My main texts are Luke 12:42-48 and Proverbs 11:24-25. The sermon explores the various ways that churches appeal for money, the various things we spend money on here in our $1.3 million budget, and the tricky moral and spiritual issues associated with money and possessions that Jesus identified and that we also discover for ourselves.
Remember that all my sermons are now available both on audio and in text form.
• Tex Grubbs and the Generosity Team have initiated a Fall Stewardship Campaign. Pledge forms and a cover letter are on the way to all members from Tex, Deacon Chair Kathy Kinlaw, Finance Chair Ronnie Jowers, and myself. The Generosity Team is asking all FBCD folks to (re)commit to our church for this coming year in all kinds of ways -- attendance, service, and giving among them. Please take some time to consider what your 2017 (re)commitments will be, and then either mail back your pledge card or drop it in the baskets during designated times in this new month of November.
• Finally, this coming Sunday we mark All Saints Day in our church. In both services we will remember with grief and gratitude the members of our faith community who have gone to be with Jesus during the last year. Christian tradition has long emphasized that the church is a community of both the living and the dead, whose bonds are never severed as we all remain together in Jesus Christ. I hope you can be here for this special Sunday.
God bless you, church family!
Link to the sermon series: What Does Success Look Like for FBCD: the Five E's, and scroll to the October 30 sermon.