The Forward in Faith team was created to collaboratively engage the church in growing our
St. Luke’s community in meaningful ways.
This is a church wide effort and requires the many talents of all those who are a part of St. Luke’s.

Something to Consider

When first asked to write about St. Luke’s and my idea of the future, it took me some time to put thoughtful words together. Being a part of St. Luke’s my entire life, this church has molded me into the person I am today. From youth group experiences like ASP to basketball teams I played on to my time spent on certain committees such as SPRC, I have learned so much, not only about our church, but about the love people have for each other, Jesus, and the community that sits at 480 S. Highland St.

St. Luke’s has thrived on this corner for more than any people’s lifetimes who sit in the pews every Sunday. However, many people who attend church regularly do not experience ALL of the wonderful things St. Luke’s has to offer. We have all heard the chatter – “the church isn’t growing and something needs to happen,” but that isn’t 100% true. Yes, we need to grow – not just to sustain a church building but to bring more people into a relationship with Christ. However, we have what is needed to do that. We have a sports ministry, a choir ministry, a young adult and youth ministry, a kid’s ministry, a food ministry – well you get my point. We have the people. The only issue is that we, as a church, don’t connect those ministries as often as we should. There are so many amazing things that happen at St. Luke’s that people do not know about because they stay in their comfort zones or do not get involved in new things.  Some people may only stay in the gym or some may only go to their one Sunday School class and that is it. I am not saying that we don’t connect as a church, but I am challenging each person to invest themselves in a new ministry. That could be just visiting that ministry once a month or just seeing what is happening in that area of the church. Who knows, you could have an idea that could help grow a ministry that you wouldn’t have thought about until you met the people involved.

My hope for the future of St. Luke’s is that we as members expand out of our comfort zone and truly invest in all different parts of the church. If we all take the mindset that we want to learn about a different Sunday school class or the choir or the service activities within the church, I feel like those ministries will grow. That growth will sprout more relationships with people in this community and more relationships between those people and Christ. We have the right people to grow the wonderful church that is St. Luke’s. We just all need to take small steps within ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

                                                        – Dixon Williams


The second quarter newsletter is here: April 2017 2nd Quarter

Inside you will find the updates of what’s moving forward in faith.


20 Ways to Welcome People to Church

THE PEACE PASTOR  August 2013

The following is a list of ways congregations, and more specifically you as a member of a congregation, can love any and all who walk through your doors. This list is adapted from the book Now Go Forward by J. David Eschelman, who says, “Loving unbelievers the way Jesus did is the most overlooked key to growing a church…The command to love is the most repeated command in the NT, appearing at least 55 times.”

1.  Every church member is a host & not a guest. Making visitors feel welcome is primarily the responsibility of members, not the nebulous “church.”

2.  The most important person for a visitor to talk to in order to feel at home in a new church is you. It is not the pastor, or the greeter, but a regular attender. Eshleman says “One of the most impressive gestures we can extend to first time visitors is for people with no official position to take the initiative and welcome them.”

3.  Treat first time visitors as guests of God, not strangers.

4.  Smile at everyone and offer your hand.

5.  Look people in the eye and smile.

6.  Take the initiative, don’t wait for visitors to initiate conversation with you.

7.  Learn people’s names and remember them.

8.  Use [only] appropriate and allowed Touch such as a hand shake or a gentle pat on the back.

9.  Ask questions & learn about your guests. It is better to express interest in them than it is to try to “sell” your church.

10.  Listening is a very effective way to show love.

11.  Greet children at their level.

12.  Let children be children. Yes, families love children’s church and child care. We also love it when you allow us to decide if our children should remain with us in worship. And even more, when you love our kids as kids (crying, playing, singing!) and don’t expect them to be grown-ups.

13.  Invite visitors to join you at something, anything! Invite them to today’s fellowship meal, next Sunday’s Christian Education hour, or to a restaurant for some “one on one” time.

14.  Never let new people sit alone. Eschelman says, “New people should never have to sit alone. Take initiative and go to them without delay.”

15.  Help visitors find seating that suits their families needs.

16.  Help first time visitors by being their tour guide and helping them find worship resources. Visiting a new church is like a cross-cultural experience, even for those of us who have visited dozens of other churches.

17.  Invite people to fill out your church’s visitor registration card or information.

18.  Tell people you’re glad they are here – no need to joke about a long absense. (ex. college students & returning friends)

19.  Pray for them throughout your week.

20.  Be yourself! You are loving! You have a good thing going! You have the capacity to love more people, & to love more deeply. Eschelman says, “Practice making people feel special, & what you give to others will be returned to you.”

For more information on the Forward in Faith initiative contact Megan Warren – megan.warren@stlukesumc.org

Forward in Faith Team

The Forward in Faith team wants to make every effort to communicate frequently with our Church family. Look for articles in the Epistle, announcements, quarterly newsletters, Church Council reports, or just talk to us in person.

At this time, we’ve had two newsletters published in the Epistle: January 23 and April 3.  You may link to the most recent one above.

Should you have any questions or ideas for Forward in Faith, please feel free to contact one of the members. The members include the following:

Megan Warren – Director of Community Connections

Phyllis Gay – Chairperson
Members:  Pat Anderson, Ann Bowsher, Cathy Bowsher, David Hensley, Larry Kaler, Amy Pearson, Carla Taylor, Dixon Williams, Joe Witherspoon,  Amber Wofford, Jim McKinney – Pastor

Although the above people meet monthly to discuss moving forward, St. Luke’s – the entire church – is a part of this endeavor. Opinions, feedback, ideas, solutions, prayers from everyone make this committee and the work we are called to do, the best it can be. We all want to see St. Luke’s grow and remain viable in the future and that must include fresh ideas, renewed passions, growing pains, and YOU. We’re thankful for your involvement and your love for St. Luke’s.

Continue to pray constantly for St. Luke’s to be a place where our lives and our community will be transformed. Consistently pray for God to help us carry out the Great Commission and to help people know Christ.