Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Notes

Dear Good Shepherd,

We've received some very good news this week that I'm still unable to post publicly, but be sure to check your email.

Sermons: This Sunday we'll continue our Lenten sermon series on 1st John. This week we take on 1:5-10

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

This is one of the best texts to turn to in order to understand the meaning of repentance and to see the love and faithfulness of God toward all who truly repent. To prepare for Sunday, read the passage, dwell on it, think about what John was trying to communicate to his readers, ask God to help you understand it and apply it to your life.

Podcasts: I've lost the podcast of last Sunday's sermon on the first 4 verses of 1st John. I'll re-record it tomorrow and post it up.

Tithes and Pledges: Just a reminder that we've finally set up our own bank account so all checks should be made out to The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd.

Parish Constitution: I'll be posting the new parish constitution, article by article, over the next several weeks, so keep an eye on this site. I've already posted Article 1

Spring Forward: It's that time of the year again when you wake up feeling like its only 7am and discover, to your horror, that it's already 8. Great fun. Remember to turn your clocks forward one hour Saturday night before you go to bed.

The Bishop's Visit: Bishop Bill Murdoch will preach, teach and celebrate Communion and Confirmation at Good Shepherd on Sunday March 15th, 2009. This is a big thing, the first time Good Shepherd has hosted a bishop since 2005 so we're going to pull out the stops.

The bishop will meet with the vestry and the candidates for Confirmation on Saturday. The agenda for his entire visit is still being worked out so I'll publish more information as I get it. There are about six of our brothers and sisters being confirmed that day so please be sure to be there to support them and show your love for them.

Confirmation: If you're being confirmed or recieved during the bishop's visit please meet at the church this Saturday (the 7th) at 2:00pm in the parish hall for a discussion of Anglican Christianity. Please be sure to read through the 39 Articles of Religion before the meeting and come prepared to discuss. If you are not being confirmed or recieved but are interested in the discussion, you're more than welcome to join in.

Men's Breakfast and Bible Study: Micah is Cooking tomorrow morning...everything gets started at 6:30am in the parish hall.

Thursday Bible Study: There will be bible study tonight at 6:30pm after the Shepherd's Bowl at Conklin Avenue Baptist Church...I won't be there until about 10 minutes till the bible study starts tonight since my car is at the mechanic's and I have to wait for Anne to come back from taking Emma to ballet.

Women's Bible Study will examine Psalm 22, a chapter of praise in the midst of suffering and a graphic depiction of the crucifixion. Women's Bible Study begins at 10:00am every Saturday in the parish hall. All women are welcome!

The Anglican Church Women (ACW) will he their monthly meeting followed by lunch on Tuesday, March 10 after the Tuesday Morning Bible Class. Everyone is welcomed to the meeting and/or lunch. We will be discussing plans for the Reception for the Bishop and those will be confirmed or baptized on March 15.

Greeting Guests: I don't know if you've noticed, but God's blessed us with a great deal of numerical growth lately. Good Shepherd has always been a friendly place and I've heard very good feedback from people who visit...people feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave.

I do think there are ways we can do even better. This list of Guest ministries from Crosspoint Baptist Church provides a pretty good way of organizing our thoughts about welcoming guests...admittedly the name of their program is probably not something we'd want to copy ("Touch Ministry" sounds a little scary).

Guest Services: Guest Services involves the transfer of information about church ministries and programs to Sunday morning participants. Development and administration of an information center is the primary responsibility of this ministry team.

Parking/Shuttle Service: The Parking/Shuttle Team will be responsible for providing smiling faces, a warm greeting, and assistance to all who arrive at each campus on Sunday mornings. They will seek to make it easy to park and locate entrances for specific classes, age groups and activities. They drive golf carts and other shuttle vehicles on Sunday mornings and for special events.

➢ Greeters: Greeters will greet people at the doors and assist them in finding classes and/or the worship center at their campus. This ministry team will closely coordinate their work with the Guest Services team and the Hospitality Team.

➢ Ushers: Ushers assist CrossPoint in reaching “Just One More” by providing a warm welcome and personal assistance to worship service attendees. These ministers do such things as distribute worship guides, collect the offering, provide seating assistance, as well as greeting people as they enter the worship center.

➢ Hospitality: This team has a very flexible responsibility. The opportunities for unique approaches are endless. Food is important (remember, we are Baptists), but does not cover the entire scope of this ministry. They assist the Pastor in greeting guests following worship services and handle hospitality needs for special events.

➢ Follow-up: This team seeks to follow up on guests and provide opportunities for them to connect with a Bible Study group. They also assist in serving and welcoming people to the monthly D101 luncheons.

➢ Facilities: This team works to insure that our facilities are neat, clean, and comfortable for members and guests at CrossPoint. Individuals on this team open and close the buildings on Sundays, assist with emergency and routine maintenance needs, and help the staff identify and address facilities and grounds needs.

The "parking shuttle service" isn't something we have to be concerned about yet, but the others are all important. We have made a distinction between ushers who greet people at the door and hand out bulletins and greeters who make sure that guests feel welcome.

One area that has probably slacked a bit at Good Shepherd is "Follow Up". In the past every guest at Good Shepherd would recieve a follow up call or letter or email (depending on which box they marked on their guest card) the very next week after their visit.

Now we give every gift and guest bag, but we aren't as vigilant about handing out guest cards or getting follow up information and when we do, I've beens so busy lately, that I've dropped the ball on getting back to everyone who visits during the week.

One workable solution would be to form a hospitality team, a group of people in charge of coordinating greeters and ushers, being sure that all guests fill out a card, and then taking responsibility for making the follow up call.

In any case, over the next few weeks I'll be thinking and praying about ways to make Good Shepherd an even more welcoming place and I'm asking you to do the same. I hope to have a plan for addressing this question in a month's time.

Well, that's about it for the Thursday notes. Have a happy Thursday.

In Christ,

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