First United Methodist Church of West Memphis

Above Average Faith

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

12 hours. 12 out of 8,760 hours in a year. 12 hours is how much time an average Christian in the United States spends in church each year now. Half a day for God in a year. That is an average faith today.

In our culture we are encouraged to excel in our careers, in our education, in athletics, but in our faith? Not so much. Maybe we think, “God is forgiving, God will understand why I just didn’t have time for church this week.” But then this week becomes the next week, and the next week, and the next week. Will God ever be our priority?

This fall at FUMCWM we will take time to notice whether God is a priority in our life or not. For this fall’s commitment campaign, we will be seeking to practice an Above Average Faith. In addition to praying about the giving commitment we will make in 2016 (which will include a commitment to give time as well as funds), we will all be invited to spend the three months from August 16 to November 15 giving 36 hours to God, which is three times today’s average (also in a quarter of the year). We will break down the 36 hours in three ways which come from our vision statement:

  • ·         12 hours to Encounter – We are inviting everyone to commit to 12 hours of worship. We have 4 worship services each week at our church, including three on Sunday: the contemporary service at 9 a.m., The Bridge (a hybrid worship/Sunday school class) at 10 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall, and the traditional service at 11 a.m. We also have Wednesday night services at 6:15 p.m. We do not just count worship in our building, though. If you worship at another church, you have still had an encounter with God and God’s people.
  • ·         12 hours to Encourage – When we talk about encourage in our vision statement, we mean the building up of the people of our church. This nurturing happens in various ways, including in Bible study and small group and Sunday School classes, but also in all the ways we care for each other. The teams who take flowers and communion to our homebound members, for example, are also doing encouraging work.
  • ·         12 hours to Engage – When we go out into the world, we engage in mission in the name of Christ. This fall we will deliberately seek to be in communion and service with our neighbors. We will have organized mission efforts through the church, but we also recognize that our people serve our community in a myriad of ways. Those are all ways of engaging the world for Christ, especially when such work flows from our faith.

Enclosed with this letter is a commitment card. It has space for next year’s giving commitment, but it also has space to track how much time you spend serving God in the next three months. You can complete a card as a family, but we also have extra cards at the church, and we encourage all family members to complete their own cards, children and youth included. Then on Commitment Sunday, November 15, we will celebrate how we have served God during this time when we bring these cards to the altar. We are confident that the people of FUMCWM will rise to the occasion and live out an Above Average Faith. We know that our faith is a gift and a joy, but also a privilege and a responsibility. We will rise to this challenge together.

36 hours. Out of 2,184 hours from August 16 to November 15. It is still a small amount to give back to a God who gives us everything. We will commit ourselves to give generously of our time and talents this fall. And we as your Stewardship Committee are thankful that both in the 2,184 hours of this fall, and in all the hours yet to come, we have such an amazing, faithful, above average group of people walking with us as we grow closer to God.

Grace and peace,

Your 2015-16 Stewardship Committee

Note: This website is organized by Encounter, Encourage, and Engage, so if you are having trouble deciding what counts as what, see if it falls under one of the categories. You can also check the bulletin, or just make your best guess. The point is not to get the "right" category, but to think about how much time you are giving to God generally.

Address: 215 N. Missouri Road, West Memphis, AR 72301

Phone: 870-735-1805


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