It’s about JOY, not sacrifice
Sometimes I don’t think we realize the power of our presence. Have you ever thought about it? What would happen if Bear Creek UMC was no more! I know it’s not something we like to think about very long, but it’s worth pondering for a moment. This past month I have been struck by the power of our Sunday morning worship community. If you haven’t noticed we are growing! We had 8 guests in worship last Sunday! Many of the folks who join us for worship are looking for something that’s been missing in their lives. One of our recent guests has struggled anxiety for years. It took all her energy to muster up the courage to come to our Trunk or Treat event 2 years ago. She again participated this past year, and then, just this Fall, decided to brave it and come to worship. As she shared with me about her lifetime struggle with anxiety, tears filled her eyes as to how wonderful it has been to be in the midst of this community of grace at Bear Creek. She’d always wanted a relationship with God, but there were too many obstacles in the way. After reading our churches statement of inclusivity, she knew our church was the place for her. Our church helped her overcome a major hurdle in her life and she feels a new connection to our loving God, and that love sustains her in those dark moments when her anxiety screams “don’t go!”
Another guest in our midst is going through a difficult struggle with a key relationship in his life. He and his family moved here this summer but had not connected to a church. As this key relationship in his life fell apart, he felt a need to reach out to God and a community that cared. He had been attending a United Methodist Church in Kansas City, and as he searched the internet he came across our new website and saw our we were doing a small group study called “Unafraid.” He couldn’t believe it: the author of that book had been his pastor in Kansas City! His heart strangely warmed as he made plans to worship with us that Sunday! That Sunday he signed up for the “Unafraid” small group study at Bear Creek! It was just what he needed in a time of trial. God was working through Bear Creek to reach him!
You probably don’t realize this, but every week 2 or 3 folk call our office asking for help with their energy bills or with their rent. And every week, we help those folks find ways to make ends meet. We prevent an energy bill disconnect! We prevent an eviction notice! For me this ministry, a ministry we call Helping Hands, quietly prevents folks from slipping into homelessness. And as you know, once that happens, it often take years to find a way back into shelter. Bear Creek makes a real difference in the lives of people just like you and me!
Four years ago, we hosted Camp Unity Eastside, a homeless community, here at BCUMC. One of the folks involved with Camp Unity was a man named Allen. During their stay, Allen developed a warm relationship with our church and became a regular attender at our worship service. Through the help of our church he got connected with Congregations for the Homeless, and just this last month, Allen was able to get a room in a real, live, honest- to- goodness house! Allen had been homeless for 8 years! As I listen to Allen’s story, much of the support he received during his struggle came from members, pastors, and friends of the Bear Creek. A member of our church picks up Allen for worship every Sunday (when Allen isn’t working). we sponsored Allen on the Walk to Emmaus! Many of us have given Allen spiritual support in times of need. And the cool thing is that Allen is now giving us support! Last week he sang in our band! Bear Creek makes a real difference in the lives of people just like you and me! Our programs, people, prayers, presence, commitment, missions and outreach, children’s and youth ministries…are changing lives!
This month, we are asking all of you to consider your regular giving to Bear Creek UMC. Many of you are SO incredibly generous with your gifts! It so warms this pastor’s heart to be a part of this generous community. And for all that giving I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! Many of you know that Bear Creek UMC is stretching its ministries in new ways this coming year. We have hired new staff to help us “turn the corner” as far as volunteer coordination, outreach beyond our walls, growth in worship numbers, and congregational development. The new staff we have are incredibly gifted, and passionate about what Bear Creek can be and where God might be calling us to go. But in order for them to continue on in ministry and help us to grow we need your support. Would you consider increasing your pledge for 2019 by $20%? 10%? If you are not giving regularly to Bear Creek UMC, would you consider starting a regular giving program today? Would you please take some time in the next couple of weeks to pray about your financial commitment to Bear Creek in 2019?
On Sunday, Nov 18th, Terry Pottmeyer, the president and CEO of Friends of Youth, will be sharing a message with us about the importance of growing into a giving person. During the worship service we will pass out 2019 Estimate of Giving cards and giving you time to fill those out in worship. After worship we have an incredible and free thanksgiving feast prepared for you by our own Tim Allen and Chris Aakre. Please take some time to make a reservation for that dinner today by calling the church or going on our website at bcumc.org.
With all my heart I believe Bear Creek UMC is on the brink of taking off to new places…great places! With all my heart I believe Bear Creek can and will grow! God is on the move here! It’s exciting for me to invite you on this journey with me. Please help Bear Creek UMC take this next step in its journey. Every gift counts. Please consider investing in Bear Creek!
Your friend and pastor,
Rev. Brook R McBride