About a year ago, the United Methodist Church (UMC) congregation to which my husband and I belonged began the process of divorce. I wrote several articles (links provided at the end of today’s article), outlining the reasons for the split and the process that it involved, but I never followed up with a report about the outcome. Here’s where we now stand.
“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
Last year, on November 6, our Methodist congregation voted on whether or not to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. Although the majority of the congregation (the traditionalists) voted to leave the UMC, that majority was about four votes short of the 2/3 majority required for disaffiliation.
That Sunday morning, as we left the last service that we would attend in a United Methodist Church, we were heartbroken, angry, and discouraged. We had lost the vote.
“For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
Early on Monday, a group of men met at a local restaurant for a prayer breakfast, and by the end of their meeting, they had affirmed that we would hold a church service of our own on the following Sunday. We had no plan, no church building, and no money.
But God takes care of those who are listening to His voice and doing their best to follow His will.
“May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29:11)
On Sunday, November 13, 2022, one hundred eighty former United Methodists and their former UMC associate pastor met in the (very large) conference room at a local bank for the first worship service of what would become New Life Methodist Church of Pell City.
Joy. Tears. Laughter. Relief. Praise. Worship. In a word, that first worship service was INCREDIBLE.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Here’s what’s happened since then. New Life Methodist met for two weeks at the bank, and then we rented space at the local municipal complex. Because our new congregation exceeded the capacity of the space, we immediately required two services.
By the end of 2022, we had a full-time pastor, a financial officer, a church pianist, a budget, by-laws, and dedicated teams and committees that worked non-stop to get our church up and running.
“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart.” (Psalm 119:2)
New Life Methodist has over 230 members, and attendance continues to average over 180. Tithes and offerings exceed all expectations.
Our church also has an associate pastor, a youth director, and a choir director. There are Sunday school classes for children, youth, and adults. We have multiple Bible studies, disciple prayer bands, a choir, and a praise band.
“And keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His rules, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.” (1 Kings 2:3)
With God’s help, we mentor children at a local intermediate school, work on projects at the boys’ ranch, build wheelchair ramps, provide meals for those in need, and serve extended table Communion to our members who are unable to attend services.
“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:25)
With God’s help, we partner with the Gideons to provide Bibles to local schools. We lead a monthly worship service at the local veterans’ home. We build solar cubes that provide power for pastors/congregations in third world countries.
“Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 118:25-26)
With God’s help, we have been able to accomplish more than we ever imagined in the past eight months. And with His help, we will continue to grow and spread the Good News through our community.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Amen, and Amen.
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