And They’re Off…!

I thought that title was a little more professional than Darrell Waltrip’s signature NASCAR catchphrase “Oogitty boogitty, let’s go racin’!”

This season in the life of a church can be very exciting. A new pastor. New possibilities.

It can also be a little scary. What is going to happen? What can we expect?

From my perspective as the incoming pastor, I can honestly say that I feel the same way. I am excited about what we might do together as we discern the leading of God’s Holy Spirit. I am also a little nervous about what is in our future.

My greatest hope is that First UMC will be an influential part of our community as we participate in God’s work in our world by offering a life-changing relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. We may have different ways of seeing the world and different ideas of how we might accomplish this work, but if we share the goal of following the example and teaching of Jesus, I believe we will see amazing things happen in our church, our community, and our world.

As we get started, I will offer a series of sermons intended to help us remember and reconnect with some of the core practices of successful and effective churches. We’ll talk about the impact we might have when we get serious about hospitality, generosity, service, worship, and discipleship. I hope you will plan to be present in worship each week and recommend First UMC to a friend or a neighbor.

In addition, Jennifer and I look forward to getting reacquainted with old friends and making new friends in the weeks and months to come. We are excited about making a home in Wichita Falls once again.

Finally, I hope you will pray about the ways you can contribute to what God is doing through our church. Whether it’s Vacation Bible School, youth mission trips, Intentional Caring Unit, or something else, there are lots of opportunities to get connected to the ministry of First UMC. I’ve learned that our faith is strengthened when we are participating together. I look forward to hearing your stories of the ways that your service is impacting the lives of other people.

Let’s get off to a great start together and continue the tradition of this great church of being a place where real transformation can happen.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we celebrate God’s love together in worship.

With love, and joy, serving as your pastor-

John McLarty