Barry & Jayne Hunter
Jim & Dixie Spears
Lead Gifts Team:
Bob & Nadine Miller
Craig & Stacy Stites
Michael & Elizabeth Thames
John & Jane Stauffer
Bill & Paula Williams
Advance Commitments Team:
Ben & Lane Shipley
David & Judy Staggs
Dick & Ann Appleton
Blake & Debbie Hocott
Jack & Louanna Green
James & Patti Cox
Youth & Children Team:
Mike & Kelly Jacimore
Henry & Melissa Udouj
Gratitude & Ministry Team:
Gary & Lee Andra White
Cliff & Christy Ivey
Affinity Groups Team:
Joe & Carla Byars
Philip & Anna Brown
A Message for the Small Groups of the Church
1st Affinity Group Announcement (January 28 – February 7)
Thank you for allowing me to share with you for a few minutes about the upcoming “Faith Forward” campaign. I also want to hear what questions you may have so that we can improve our communication with the congregation in the days ahead.
Last October, we celebrated 175 years of ministry in Fort Smith. Today our church has a strong children’s ministry, with three day schools, a full program of Christian education, and a Vacation Bible School that involves 200 children every summer. Our youth group is growing in numbers and mission. Our music program is second to none. We are engaged in multiple missions with the needy in our community and our local schools. Each year we send a medical mission to Guatemala. Over the last three years, we have seen increases in attendance, new members, baptisms, and financial support. At First United Methodist Church, God has truly blessed us.
Now we are engaging in an exciting “Faith Forward” campaign. The objectives of this campaign are two-fold: the first is to update the Family Life Center, and the second is to enhance our permanent endowment funds. The Family Life Center is used almost every day by a variety of our ministries. The entire building needs a fresh look, new equipment, and repair work. The Connexion worship service has outlived its temporary stage, lighting, and technology. A team is working to determine the scope and cost of the work, which should be available soon, but we are anticipating spending up to $1,000,000 to upgrade this vital facility.
The second aspect of the campaign is to grow and strengthen our permanent endowment. These permanent funds earn income that can be used to maintain our campus, enhance our ministries, and resource missions initiatives that align with our purpose of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Over the next three years, we will be receiving outright gifts and planned gifts such as bequests, transfers, and gift annuities. There will be much more information about these opportunities in the days ahead.
The success of this campaign depends on every church household reflecting on God’s blessings in our lives and prayerfully considering how we might invest in the future of our ministry to all ages. Every commitment, regardless of size, will be necessary for our success and enthusiastically received.
Here are some activities within the “Faith Forward” campaign that will be occurring over the coming weeks:
A campaign brochure will be sent to every family in the church on February 8th.
Prayer Team Contacts: Our Campaign Prayer Team will be reaching out to every local household in the church from February 11th – 21st. They will want to verify that each family received the brochure, invite them to pray, and most importantly will be requesting prayer concerns in order that the church might be in prayer for them.
Our Early Commitments work will include several opportunities for families to prayerfully consider making their commitments before Commitment Sunday in April to provide momentum to the campaign. The totals of these early commitments will be shared by our Campaign Chairpersons, Jim and Dixie Spears and Barry and Jayne Hunter, in an exciting financial announcement on April 8th.
In March, I will be sharing more details about the campaign after the public phase has begun.