“I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me!” – Philippians 4:13

Hello friends! This past month, you may remember my calling to two emphases as your pastor- 1) Pastoral Care and 2) Church Growth, especially in the younger age groups. I thank you for the kind feedback that you gave to me about the article.

This month (September), I would like to share with you some of the emphases that came from the Onboarding Session. As it turns out, there is harmony in the Spirit! I am very humbled and honored by what both the laity and the clergy shared during the conversations that were facilitated by Allison Lindsey. One of the questions asked in the laity session was, “What are your hopes and dreams for your church?”. Among their responses were to “have growth in the children and youth areas” and to “establish a core of young families” as we seek to be a “church of transformation!”. There was a recognition that we already have “[great] facilities and lots of room to potentially bring in ministries such as a ‘nursery school’ ”. When the staff were asked in their session “What is the DNA/ culture of the church?”, they responded there is “tension between what was and should come next”. In other words, they recognized that White Bluff has such a rich history of ministry to all age levels but the church is also in need of revitalization, especially in the youngest of
ages. Another interesting aspect that the laity shared is that there is a potential “hesitancy to take on new challenges”. There was a lot more shared, but there is not enough room to list it all in this short article!

Taken all together, I am very hopeful. We have a strong core membership at White Bluff. We have a church that recognizes the need to bring in young adults of all ages (from babies up to those in their 30’s). At the same time for many reasons, there is a
hesitancy to launch into something new. Part of this may be fear of the unknown or potential failure. Hesitancy may also come from knowing that something has been tried that did not work. I believe that moving forward entails 1) valuing the rich
foundation on which White Bluff is built as we 2) create an even brighter future by building God’s Kingdom at White Bluff.

As your Pastor, I am encouraging to develop a “CAN DO” focus. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do, let’s focus on what we “CAN DO”. Jim Collins, business leadership guru and author of many books including Great By Choice, once said that
sometimes we have to fire calculated cannonballs. In the days when cannons were used in war, an uncalculated cannonball would most certainly miss its target. A calculated cannonball took into account the wind, the location of the target, the
amount of gunpowder to be used, and other factors that might change how the cannon was fired. The goal was to hit the target, square on, even if the target was miles away. More often than not, a calculated cannonball would hit close to its intended target if
not on the bullseye. I am inviting us to begin the process of firing calculated cannonballs at White Bluff through prayer, visioning, and creating new opportunities to build the Kingdom of God at White Bluff. I am reminded of Philippians 4:13 (NIV), “I ‘CAN DO’ all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

In the next month, I will be inviting White Bluff to begin corporate prayer on what we “Can Do”. I am well aware that COVID is very active, but I am also aware that there is a lot we can do even in the midst of the COVID struggle. It truly takes a village to accomplish God’s mission, and so I need your help! This cannot be just the Pastor or Staff working to build God’s church.

As a beginning step, join me in weekly prayer. Delilah Meadows already has a marvelous list of cell phone numbers that she sends texts to regularly. If you are not already on the list call or text Delilah at (912) 657-8051. In turn, you will receive periodic prayer requests as well as my upcoming weekly prayer texts that will invite us all to pray together at a specific time. It will be a call to take a moment to pray at the same time for the mission of church growth that God would like us to undertake. It all starts with prayer

There will be next steps, but for now, let’s be more like Mary than Martha, sitting in the presence of Almighty God as we ask Him what we “CAN DO”.

Reverend Barry Giddens
Senior Pastor, White Bluff United Methodist Church, Savannah, GA