A Number of Stats from the Board of Stewards

Sometimes numbers sneak up on you. Sure, you loved seeing our pastors baptize those cute babies as their proud families beamed. And the Confirmands joining the church were a joy to behold. But did you realize that since the beginning of January there have been NINE baptisms and TEN professions of faith at First Church?

Wow! That’s what I call doing our job as United Methodists — making disciples for Jesus Christ. In addition, we heard from the Finance Committee that our January contributions were higher than expected. The members of the Board of Steward’s Executive Committee spent a lot of time talking numbers at their February meeting, and those were some of the best.

We also heard that our rolls were reviewed last year. Using the process required by the Book of Discipline, the names of former members we haven’t had contact with for several years have been expunged. As a result, we have a clearer idea of the number of members who participate in our congregation. Our tally is now almost 1,000 brothers and sisters in Christ. That number is significantly less than in previous years, but much more indicative of the true size of our church.

Since COVID, all churches have seen smaller worship attendance numbers, and First Church is no exception. Before the pandemic, we were seeing average Sunday service attendance numbers in the 300s, and last year the number was in the 200s.

Yet, if you’ve attended the 9 a.m. service on Sunday lately, you may have had to look hard to find a seat. Plus, the number of youngsters at that service seems to be increasing every week. Though the 11 a.m. service isn’t packed yet, there are a few more little ones moving toward the front for children’s church and many of us empty nesters are back in our favorite pews.

Numbers are not all that matter. But they can be an indication of the health and sustainability of First Church. From the numbers discussion in our February meeting, I took home both the promise of exciting growth and the challenge of continuing viability.

Please join me and the members of the Board of Stewards in our efforts to make First Church a welcoming experience for all who enter our doors. And, if you have a chance, invite a friend who may be seeking a spiritual home to worship with you. It won’t just get our numbers up, it will change lives.

In Christ’s Name,

Jessica Szenher

Chair, Board of Stewards

Lesley Andrews

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