Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church
Monday, August 21, 2017

 

 

 
Dear Friends,
     Sometimes I am in awe of what God is doing in our midst.  On May 3rd, 160 of you joined a very special prayer service for Duane and Reva Husby in light of Duane's cancer diagnosis and hospice journey. We walked over to their place, hugged them, prayed for them, sang songs of praise, and literally surrounded their entire apartment building in a human chain of love and prayer. It was awesome, truly a holy ground moment! Also, that same night, eight of our precious 1st graders recited the Lord's Prayer which they have been learning about and memorizing in class.  I remember just four years ago we were lucky to have eight elementary school children in our entire Sunday School in April, much less eight in a class of 1st graders alone! They were excited and proud to share what they had learned.
     On May 10th it was a pleasure to witness dozens of volunteers pulling off another successful "Give as the Lord has blessed You" Rummage Sale event with proceeds all going to missions. Many of these volunteers worked long past when their back or feet started aching, because their hearts and minds are on what God is doing in our world; a beautiful sight. There are many other examples I could lift up just from the past few weeks.  God is at work and it is beautiful.
     On May 11th we interviewed for our full-time Children, Youth and Family ministry director. We have a couple of excellent candidates, and I hope you will be praying for the SPRC as we make the decision. When we started the Wednesday night service three years ago, we had no idea that we would be meeting such a big need in the community and that there were so many families who were very interested in attending a church at an alternative time! I am looking forward to sharing that work and freeing more of my time to address the needs of all ages in our congregation.
     The main question now is, What does God want for us in the next five years?
     Like most churches, and especially like most other United Methodist Churches in Minnesota, we have a pressing set of questions before us.  There is a set of factors creating a "perfect storm" for our churches. Some of these factors include: we are more mobile than ever before, many of us travel more often and for longer periods of time, more snow birds take flight, many of us are growing older and have limited ability to get out to church, in our culture church is less of a value than before. As the world around us rapidly changes, our attendance patterns at church change too. We wonder, what does that mean for what matters most to me?  What does that mean for the way I've been able to connect with God in this community? We don't want to change what matters most to us, and rightly so. Most of us see our children, grandchildren, or others in younger generations connecting with a worship style that is different from what we currently offer at DLUMC; we wonder what does that mean for the future of our church?  And more importantly, what does that mean for generations of people who desperately need a church offering the care and compassion of Christ? How do we honor what is currently meaningful as well as make room for the future? How do we care for each person who currently attends as well as fulfill our mission by considering the needs of those who are not here yet but God is calling us to reach? What is the core we want to hold on to; what remains?
     Some people believe the pastor should have all the answers to questions like this; that it is in fact the pastor's job to know exactly what God's dream for this church is and to lead us there. I, however, believe God most often speaks in community.  I believe God has a dream and a vision for this church and it is not given to one leader, but it is the vision for the community of believers to the community of believers.  This is part of the DNA and the structure of our United Methodist Church; a pastor and sets of lay leaders together overseeing the ministry of the church.
     Yes, God gave a dream to Moses to lead the people--but not without also giving the people their own dreams of the Promised Land.  Or consider the story of Nehemiah, when God spoke to the visionary leader as well as to the engaged congregation to rebuild the walls. I believe the best thing I can do as a pastor is to set aside any agenda I have and listen carefully and creatively to what God is saying through the Bible, through conversation, through the engaged members of this congregation who are also listening to God. I believe God's vision and hope for this church can only be discovered when we put our hearts and our minds and, perhaps most of all, our prayers together to discern, beyond our own hopes and desires, God's dream for our church.
     I have been working with the Vision team and the Church Council to discern: Where is God calling us? Where does God want us to go? This fall we will be expanding the conversation through intentional focus groups to hear from you about your hopes and your sense of God's dream for this congregation. Until those focus groups in the fall, would you please join me in a time of prayer, a prayer setting aside our own agendas to embrace God's agenda, that we may have the great joy and privilege of seeing God's dream for DLUMC become a reality.
     I hope you will join me in daily praying this prayer as we consider the future of our congregation:
 
Put us to what you will, rank us with whom you will.
Put us to doing, put us to suffering.
Let us be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you, or brought low for you.
Let us be full, let us be empty, let us have all things, let us have nothing.
We freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now glorious and blessed God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
you are ours and we are yours.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
(John Wesley Covenant prayer, adapted)
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                            Pastor Brenda
    

Did you know we send out an email each week called Joys of the Journey with updates from the week in our congregational life, upcoming announcements, and prayer concerns? If you have email and are interested in receiving this let us know by contacting the office or indicating on your communication card.

 

Joining Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church

We welcome your interest in membership, but please don’t feel you must be a member to participate fully at DLUMC. We welcome your involvement even more! You are invited to seek out programs or people that interest you and become actively involved even before you become a member.
 

Periodically a series of new member orientation sessions are held on Sunday mornings. Discussions center around the structure and work of the church and how you may participate in the life of the church family. Food is often involved as well!!  New member candidates are paired with sponsors from the congregation who attend the session with them and serve to help them get ever more acquainted with the people and opportunities at DLUMC.

For more information about membership, please contact the church office—phone 847-4818 or use the Contact Us link on the website to send email.