Go on to Perfection

By Rev. Donna Gaither | 2024-01-27 | 3 min read

For many of us, January is a time of taking stock--of looking at our life, focusing on what is most important, and outlining steps for improvement in the coming year. John Wesley understood this concept in our spiritual lives and challenged believers to “go on to perfection” and to continue to grow in their spiritual practices as well as service to the world. This concept of continual improvement can apply to churches as well as individuals. Taking stock and then looking to the future to see where God may be leading is an opportunity for a congregation to grow and improve.

Last fall our Leadership Team began a process of listening and reflecting to see where we might be called to improve our ministries. There were opportunities to gather in small groups and online to reflect on four questions:

  1. What items from the history and the present state of our church would you like to carry with you into the future?

  2. What would you like to leave behind, but remember?

  3. What would you like to borrow from another entity?

  4. What specific dreams would you like to see accomplished?

The conversations and responses were rich, varied, and hold important clues for the future work of our congregation. Let me highlight some of the most repeated responses. We want to keep our strong worship and music programs, our outreach to the community (especially the work of the Friendship House), our growing youth programs, and, of course, Pancake Day! Things to leave behind include the “silos” that develop when there are two separate worship services, and the segregation that often results when different age levels are divided into different church programs. Suggestions for things to “borrow” from other entities were adult mission trips, meals that connect members both within the congregation and with the wider community, more intergenerational activities, and a large parking lot. Dreams were cast to grow in our inclusiveness and welcoming of all, to build stronger connections within the congregation, and to increase our diversity.

This is only a quick “snapshot” of a great deal of data. Over the next months there will be more opportunities for the congregation and staff to work together to discern specific ways we can “go on to perfection” as the people of God gathered at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville. We will need a lot of help, further input, imagination, and an honest seeking of the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

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