We have had a great time celebrating the 40th Anniversary of St. Luke United Methodist Church this year, with still several events yet to go. In 40 years, St. Luke has grown to be a great church. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to move boldly forward. We must be constantly looking at how can we do better in all of our ministries as well as working to develop additional outreach ministries that will engage more and more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry Directors and Staff are constantly seeking ways to make the many strong ministries of the church even stronger so we can reach more and more people, as well as seeking God’s will in developing new ways of doing ministry and outreach.
But St. Luke has not forged such a wonderful history simply through the efforts of staff. The strength of the church has always been the creativity, calling and dedication of all the people. The St. Luke family is a rich and diverse group of committed followers of Christ. And if the church is going to continue to grow and reach more and more people with the good news of Jesus Christ, that type of commitment must continue.
The danger for any church, even a great one like St. Luke, is that it become staff driven rather than lay driven. I want to hear your hopes and dreams and ideas for the ministry of the church. That will be the purpose behind “Pizza With The Pastor”. I’ll bring the pizza and you bring your hopes and dreams and ideas, and we will share together. These will not be “gripe” sessions but rather times of Holy Conversation around how we can make a strong church even stronger.
Our first “Pizza With The Pastor” will be August 10 from 6 p.m. until we’re finished in the Life Center Café. I am hoping that we will make this a monthly gathering and that each month we will focus on a different area of the ministry of the church that is on the “front burner.” This first time we will be having conversation around worship at St. Luke.
Let me set the stage for that conversation: All across the American Church there has been a steady decline in worship attendance. Church experts now say that if a person attends worship only once a month, they are regular church attenders. Almost across the board, attendance at existing services is declining. Those churches that are showing increases in worship attendance are doing so because they are starting new services. That has been our experience at St. Luke in the last few years. But this is an unsustainable model for continuing growth. Attendance at each of our three morning services has either plateaued or declined slightly in recent years, reflecting the new norm in the American church. The Directors and Staff, as well as the Worship Team, believe that St. Luke can do better than this, must do better than this, and we have been exploring ways to reverse these trends.
This summer we have made some changes to the third morning service in both the start time and the “style” of worship to try and reach more persons (particularly young adults). In the next few weeks we will be soliciting feed back from those who have been attending that service that will help us in this continuing discussion. I know that many of you have many great ideas concerning how to make worship even better at St. Luke, and I would love to hear those as we move forward.
So come, let’s share a Pizza and have a great conversation about worship at St. Luke on Wednesday, August 10th at 6:00 P.M.