One on One - Book 6, Volume 24

Adults needed for New Year’s Eve Lock-in! Work in 4-hour shifts.

Last Saturday was a very special day for the Rairdon family, as we gathered in Evansville at the Lutheran Church which Matthew’s (Kelsey’s husband) family has attended for many years. It was a double baptism with Matthew’s nephew baptized at the same time. The Pastor has been at this same church for 30 years and was very old school even though he is younger than me. He was happy to have me participate in the baptism as long as we didn’t share that I was a pastor. I had no problem being “just” a grandpa. I read a letter that shared what it meant to have Coen declared a child of God and the Pastor let me hold Coen while he performed the baptism.

On Friday Matthew Phipps and I attended the Bridges Out of Poverty workshop put on by the Julian Center, an agency which helps women experiencing domestic abuse. They started a Circles group because they realized poverty is one factor forcing women to stay in abusive situations. It is very enlightening to realize that society tends to place all blame for poverty on individuals and we tend to ignore the societal factors. It is funny how we do not blame children who are forced to grow up in generational poverty but as soon as they turn 18 we act as if they should magically know how to get out of poverty. We certainly need to do more, which is why we are looking at forming a ministry which will support persons who desire to move out of poverty.

We had a great conversation with the director of the Julian Center and they are very interested in partnering with us with the dream of launching our own group by early 2016. St. Luke’s UMC is on board with this goal, so we hope we can share much of the training efforts to move this goal along more quickly. We are bouncing around the idea of calling this ministry Bridges but we have more conversations to hold before we lock down details. I will continue to work on building this coalition and Pastor Matthew will begin building our local team.

Matthew Phipps, Cheryl Platt, Nita Wilson, Nathaniel Asperger, and Leanna Zimmerman attended the Alan Hirsch event. I’ve been reading one of Hirsch’s books so with the debriefing given to our staff, I can say a few things worth hearing. Hirsch believes that churches in America are still using an Attractional model which worked well beginning in the 50s but is less effective each year. Hirsch suggests that right now only 40% (may be generous) in the United States have any religious inclination which might result in them ending up in church. So churches in America are fighting over the same 40%. If we really want to become the church that thrived in the early years, we need to incarnate ourselves into the world of the 60% who are not currently inclined toward church. We need to move the laity into the world, become externally focused in every way possible and pushing the spirituality of Christ instead of the institutional church. We will work to find the best way to share some of Hirsch’s concepts with our leadership in 2015.

Matthew Phipps has been in contact with the Braeburn Apartments’ social director and is seeking to find servants willing to provide tutoring help from 3:30-5:30 on Tuesdays or Thursdays. You can come as you are available but we would like to start building this partnership after the first of the year.

We completed our Starting Point group Tuesday night and in the next two weeks we should be receiving 20 new members into our congregation. We are excited about the blessing these new people will be to our congregation, as well as affirm the covenant of some worshippers who have attended for some time.

Our young adults will be gathering at Pastor Matthew’s house this Friday for a Christmas party from 5:00-7:30 pm. Contact Leanna Zimmerman for details. Leanna and Nathaniel are seeking help for a youth lock-in on New Year’s Eve from 8:00 pm December 31 to 8:00 am January 1. They are asking for snack donations so they can concentrate on the content for the evening. They will have worship, prayer, service and games! They need some supervisory help in four-hour shifts. Again contact Leanna Zimmerman at

Deborah Hartman tells me we are getting close to matching the $10,000 required to receive the 2015 $10,000 Pledge Match challenge offered by one of our generous members. We have some letters that went out by request today, so we hope to have this effort wrapped up by next week so we can hold a celebration on December 21, for meeting our pledge goal of $585,000.

This Sunday we continue to consider what God is telling us by coming into our world as a baby. We will receive new members, have some fun looking at adult baby talk and consider what that baby meant to a group of shepherds. In preparation read, Luke 2:8-20.

See you Sunday,

Rev. Jerry

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