September 8, 2011
“State of the Charge” Pastor’s Report for First UMC Hillsville-Out of the Box Worship Center 2011
Submitted by Pastor Ronnie G Collins
It has been a great year of ministry for First UMC Hillsville with gains in membership, baptism, worship services, professions of faith, and worship attendance. I consider all of these as gains for The Kingdom of God and God’s people have caught a vision to win the lost.
As I have been working and spending most of my time with the new campus in downtown Hillsville, I will report on the work that is being done through Out of the Box Worship Center and Out of the Box Youth Center and Senior Pastor Ty Harrison will report on the First Hillsville Fulcher Street Campus.
We began our services on the first Sunday of January 2011 and we have progressed to this point with an average attendance in excess of 200 people each Sunday in two worship services. We are seeing a great number of people doing the ministry of the church, if this were not the case this new work would not be possible. We have a praise team made up of all volunteers with the exception of our worship leader who is paid $200.00 per month and they are an outstanding group of people. We have sound and lighting maintained by volunteers who do an exceeding great job week in and week out. We have children’s workers volunteers who are working with children from infants through toddlers with a great desire to add to the age groups as soon as possible. People are not the concern to add the ministry; it is a space readiness issue. We have volunteers who stand outside and inside each Sunday and greet the people who come, serve as ushers and greeters in the services, as well as serve them coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks. We have volunteers who are leading Life Group Bible Studies and at this time we have six groups meeting with a need to start several more. We have volunteers who are doing an outstanding newsletter for the downtown location as well as other needed office related work. We have volunteers who have helped in every aspect of the church and I don’t want to leave anyone out, we have a lot of workers.
We have now had more than 700 people visit and worship at Out of the Box Worship Center in the first eight months of its existence. We have received 35 new members through OOTBWC into the First Hillsville family, we have baptized 5 people. An added bit of information, we have several people ready to soon become members of First Hillsville UMC through OOTBWC and several to be baptized. I believe that we are on track to be blessed with as many as 100 new members before the end of 2011.
As the pastor of this congregation I do not shy away from any of the teachings of the Bible. We stress the importance of worship, the importance of tithing and giving in worship, the importance of being actively involved in the spread of the gospel to the entire world, and we stress living a holy life. The people have responded to Christ in all of these areas.
We have had several ministries start out of the new worship site. One is called Get Outta Your Seat and is a ministry where once a month they collect and distribute clothing all through our community, we have gained several new worshipers through this ministry. We have a ministry that has started called SOHO-Step Out Help Out. This group has been finding ways to let the community know “if you have a need” call on us. Over the past two months this group, made up of several volunteers and different people each time, as well as members from both church locations, has helped to move a displaced family into a new rental home, this family is now attending church. This group has helped to accomplish various other jobs with a tree removal request slated for them now, due to the latest storm to hit our area. We have an Art Ministry where a volunteer is teaching children of all ages once a month.
The worship center along with First Hillsville UMC held one of the most successful Vacation Bible Schools our church has experienced in several years with more than 100 children in attendance. VBS has also brought new families into our worship services.
We have a very strong presence in the community and nationally with the web and social media ministry of the church. We are active on facebook, twitter, and on many blogs represented by individuals within our membership. At least 99 percent of our promotion in written form is done through the use of social media which costs the church nothing. However, the greatest promotional tool that we possess is the people in the congregation. We have church members and those who have not joined that have brought many people to our services. The greatest Evangelists we have are those among us whose lives have been radically changed. I wish that I could share with you all of the stories of changed lives here in Hillsville, there isn’t enough room to do that here. However, you can see them and meet the people on the various blogs and facebook statuses posted on our Out of the Box facebook page, check them out.
I see several areas of need for the new worship center but I believe that these should be revealed as we feel led by the Holy Spirit and each time we make people aware of a need, we quickly have those needs filled.
The state of the people is strong. People are reporting each week that God is changing their lives through the ministry of His church here in Hillsville.
Out of the Box Youth Center is meeting the needs of youth from both worship sites and has been the youth ministry of First Hillsville for 4 years now. This ministry is served by myself and 4 other church members who have been devoted to God’s work with youth for more than 10 years through First Hillsville UMC. We have had groups of youth as low in number as 20 and as high in number as 150 at various Bible Studies and events through the past four years. This year we have seen some decrease in numbers of youth and that is related to many dynamics. The main one being that all of the youth that helped to start the Youth Center have now graduated high school and many are now in college and working jobs and of course have moved on to other age groups and out of the youth meetings. Another factor undoubtedly is the fact that when we started the new worship center in January much of my focus and time has been taken for needs there. We are working together as a team and with the youth to go to the next place in ministry where God wants us to be with the youth center. We know that it has been a catalyst for so many ministries that now exist at First Hillsville and we will do what God leads us to do. When all is complete, we still have a strong youth ministry with dedicated, excited, people who love God and are doing the work there.
We meet each Wednesday for Bible study and fellowship with the youth and there is a youth Sunday School/Life Group that meets there each Sunday morning. This is a ministry that has reached a lot of youth and even adults over the past 4 years and many new people have come into relationship with Christ and First Hillsville UMC through this ministry.
It has been an exciting time of discovering where God is at work and joining with Him. We are being blessed as one congregation in multiple locations. Over the past four years we have grown from a church with two worship services to a church with six worship services. Two Sunday morning services First Hillsville Fulcher Street, two Sunday morning services at FUMC Downtown OOTBWC, a Hispanic worship service at the Fulcher Street site, and a Sunday evening service at the Fulcher Street site. We also have a very active Sunday School teaching ministry that is held each Sunday morning at one of our local retirement/nursing homes. We are a strong ministry church with many active lay ministers as all members are ministers. The work that is being done through this body could not happen without so many dedicated, hardworking people.
In working together with all of the various ministries of First United Methodist Church I can say without a doubt this is a great place to be in ministry. We have work to be done in order to share the gospel with our community and with the world and we are doing just that. We have needs that we are addressing such as communication between all of the various ministries and ministry sites. This is all very new to us and we are working hard together to make this a ministry that God will first be pleased with and that the community can look to and follow.
Philippians 3: 11-21 NLT
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. 17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
We are striving to be as Paul when he said, follow me and learn from those who follow our example. We are also looking to others as examples as we learn to follow Christ in this ministry each and every day.
Respectfully submitted for Charge Conference 2011
First United Methodist Church Hillsville
Pastor Ronnie G Collins