Making sense of lab results can be a challenge. At the end of each calendar year, every United Methodist congregation receives a year-end report that contains something like church “lab results”. Are you curious about what our report from 2015 shows us?
Membership is Steady
Our congregation lists 1,443 persons as members. This means that we are a large congregation, as United Methodist churches go. This is about the membership we have reported for years. (It has been years since we checked in with those who have moved away or become inactive, and we will be doing that this year. My estimate is FUMC’s “real” membership is closer to 1,000.)
Worship Attendance Growing (slightly)
After several years of declining worship attendance that number grew slightly in 2015 from 488 to 491. The many new faces in worship over the last six months suggest this growing trend may continue in a more robust way.
Growing numbers of younger families, children and youth are showing up at First United Methodist & The Open Door. The age profile of the congregation, for the first time in many years, is growing younger. Evidence of this can be seen in the next “lab number.”
Children & Youth
Some 60 youth are active in our middle school and senior high youth ministries. The number of children participating in our faith community has jumped by 32%, going fronm 173 to 230 in the last year!
A Mission & Outreach Oriented Church
More and more we want to be a congregation that gives itself away to the world in the name of Christ. Last year we gave over $203,751 away to the general mission of the United Methodist Church (“denominational tithe”) and we also gave to such missions as One Great Hour of Sharing, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Monroe County United Ministries, Shalom, Habitat, etc. This was over 15% of our overall spending of $1,545,338 in 2015.
Also, our congregation served more than 1,690 persons from our community through our outreach ministries.
Giving to God’s Work Is Surprisingly Strong
Our congregation has too often found it challenging to give faithfully and meet our annual mission & ministry budget. In 2015, though, giving through pledges jumped 12%. Gifts given by those not making a pledge increased by 105% from $118,334 to $242,292! Finally, total giving (with the help of a special, mid summer stewardship emphasis) to God’s work here grew by 20% over 2014. God’s people are continuing to grow in their stewardship!
Still in Debt
A generation ago the leaders and people of our church decided to stay downtown. Then, they made a courageous decision to upgrade the facilities by building the Wesley Wing (east wing). We are all blessed by this facility but we continue to have a building debt of $1,428,406. We are paying it down but it is past time to eliminate that debt.
We thought you might be interested in the “lab results” our church received at the end of 2015, through the reports prepared by Pastor Marie Lang and her team.
I am so thankful for the movement of God and the life the Spirit is bringing!
See you on Palm Sunday. Please invite a friend to join you for that special day, and also for the 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday service, the Good Friday Community Worship Service at 12:15 p.m. in our Sanctuary, our Road to Resurrection interactive children’s event, and one of our Easter Sunday services (9 & 11 in the Sanctuary, 11:15 at the Open Door).