A bit ago, I introduced the Budget for 2019 and spoke of the financial challenge of commitment to continuing ministry with a full-time Pastor. Now let me share a bit of the motivation behind the dream for First United Methodist Church as a stronger, more vibrant faith community.

     To live into this dream, we must be Vision Driven. God has and still is calling First U M Church to a particular ministry within this community; a ministry only this congregation can fulfill. A ministry for which God is already preparing a leadership core. A core leadership already gifted in discovering those who are in need and in using the resources God has provided to meet their needs. the community knows this is a place, this is a people, where help can be found, And it is given without judgment...with cautious procedure, but without judging the person for being in need. While we are good at helping with material needs, and we do so very well, God's call is for us to add the spiritual component where people can find their way to the One who meets Spiritual Needs,,,ours as well as theirs; to the One who can and will judge, but who prefers to forgive when we ask.

     Lisbon First U.M.C. is about people. The challenges of our financial needs are not simply about bricks and mortar, payroll for personnel--these are critical tools for shaping ministries that affect people's lives.

     The focus of our efforts must be upon equipping people with Biblical teaching, leading to the practice of the Biblical principles of proportionate and sacrificial giving. Not every person has the capacity to make a million dollar gift, but every person is capable of meaningfully and sacrificially investing himself or herself in what God is doing in our church. It is about everyone joining in a journey of faith.

     Our efforts are Prayer Centered. Learning to make meaningful decisions by seeking God's will in our lives. By asking God this question in prayer, "Lord, what would You do through me to accomplish Your will in my church?" And by thanking God for both our blessings and for the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.

     That is, in essence, the call of Jesus' sermon to the people. "Seek my will and way of living, not the will and way of the world. Seek my purpose for your lives, not the purpose of those who surround us. Trust me to provide for your needs. Trust me to be your Christ."