Get on Board

As I was reflecting this morning on the developments at First UMC during the past two months my heart was filled with praise for God’s sovereign mercy and grace. I believe God led Toby Chastain to us and us to him to be partners in ministry to face our challenges and opportunities with strength. Toby officially became our Associate pastor on August 4. God has acted to equip His Church for Kingdom work in 2019 and beyond.

I was reminded of a hymn we sang often at the rural churches my father served. It begins with a chorus which is repeated between every verse. Each verse repeats the first line two times and concludes with “Get on board, get on board.” Here is the message:

‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
Get on board, get on board.

1. It has landed many a thousand

2. Ain’t no danger in the water

3. It was good for my dear mother

4. It was good for my dear father

5. It will take us all to heaven

‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
‘Tis the old ship of Zion,
Get on board, get on board.

Hymnary.org

The old ship of Zion is the Church of Jesus Christ which will be preserved to the end of time for the conduct of worship and the due administration of God’s Word and Sacraments, the maintenance of Christian fellowship and discipline, the edification of believers, and the conversion of the world.

I have seen God at work at Decatur First UMC fulfilling His promise to sustain the church to land many a thousand by overcoming the danger of the water as it did for our dear mother and our dear father and to take us all to heaven.

Now is the time to get on board and be a part of what God is doing in our church to bring us and many who are lost at sea on board for the eternal destiny we have as followers of Jesus Christ. Get on board, get on board.

Yours in Christ,

Hughey Reynolds

Telling the Old Story in New Ways

A website is not new for Decatur First United Methodist Church. The one we have has been around since 2014 when a group of committed church members undertook to develop a website that would communicate the vision and mission of the church for the 21st century in an easy to navigate format. In a time of rapid change, few things are changing as rapidly as communication technology.

After a pastoral change in 2015 and several staff changes since then, no one on the church staff has been “in charge” of website maintenance or development. Several pages on our site were not updated through the changes and still featured events or personnel from the past. Nothing dissuades me from exploring a website faster than finding a past event featured on the homepage or a pastor or staff member listed who has been gone for months.

The current plan is for each staff member to upload to the website items pertaining to his or her area of ministry. Alyson keeps the calendar updated and you can find current activities for the day or for the month under the events tag on the homepage. She also keeps a recording of the latest sermon uploaded to hear along with sermons from each Sunday for the past four years. Look under the see and hear tab where you will also find the current Tidings of Joy newsletter and those from the past four or more years.

Most of the time I provide a sermon preview for the next week on the website homepage in the form of a slider. I also post the event menu along with registration forms for the events. There are currently two registrations under the menu tabs, one for the upcoming “Let’s Talk about Parenting” event with Carol Ozier on August 19 and another under the ministry tap for Covenant Group registration or information. I also attempt to keep the staff pages current, which recently has been a frequent task. So, while Alyson and I are uploading to the current website, providing news, inspiration, and information to everyone who visits it, another development is on the way.

Our Youth Director, Jonathan Creekmore, has been working this summer on developing a new website. Many of the features of the current website that you use will continue on the new site, but it will have a new, crisp, and clean look and, from everything I’ve heard, be easier to explore and find what you want on it. He has worked with a team representing different areas of the church and most recently with our new Associate Pastor Toby Chastain to include what we believe are the most important aspects of our church that we want visitors to the website to see. Jonathan will complete this work by the end of August and hand off the communication coordination to Toby in September.

Even while we wait for the debut of the new website, I’m doing something today that’s not been done in awhile–maybe since 2014–with the old website. I’m changing the appearance of the old website by changing the theme behind it. I’m also writing a post, which according to the website log has not been done since 2014. This is to whet your appetite for what is about to come. Things are changing at old First Church, and for the better. A new website is coming. Our new Associate Pastor is here. God is doing a new thing. Do you hear it? Are you a part of it? I want to be. Let’s ride this wave of change to new heights at First United Methodist Church of Decatur.

Yours in Christ,

Hughey Reynolds