Last week First United Methodist Church in Church Conference decided to move forward with its building and rennovation program. This program has been in the works for a number of years but in the last two the church has made major steps forward in honing the vision and raising funds for this very important project.
In the building plan a new addition will be added to the building which will include a new entrance, a new welcome area, a new coffee fellowship area, a new nursury, chapel, and meeting room. The sanctuary of the church will be renovated and brought up to date, the chilren’s area will be remodeled and the offices will be moved and redesigned. It is an exciting and historic project!
Through the process the building committee and the church have captured a vision for how God might use our church in Cedar Falls, how we might expand our ministries, and how we can work to be a light for Jesus Christ in our community.
The history of First UMC is that this is a building church. It is a church that has build new facilities but also a church that has built ministries in this community. It is a place where generations have been baptized, confirmed, and raised up in the faith of Jesus Christ. It is a church that teaches people how to act on what they believe.
Now First UMC has taken another step of commitment and stepped out in faith to say to Cedar Falls that we are here, we want to grow and help you grow. We want to contribute even more to this community. We want to share in your faith want and growth in faith. And we want to let you know that all are welcome to come and share in Christ’s love and grace and at Christ’s table.
We walk by faith and not by sight because we believe that if we do what Christ calls us to do he will help us to meet the needs of others in the name of Jesus!
We will be breaking ground on July 3rd following a 9:00 a.m. Transformation Worship Experience with the entire church. Meet us on the church lawn as we commit not only to transform our building but also to let the transforming power of Jesus work in our lives!
Out in front of my house, one of First UMC’s parsonages, I see a freshly paved street. The road crew for Cedar Falls is near completing new curbs and pavement for the street between my house and the church. On one hand it is a completely new street. They tore out the old curbs, they put in new gravel, the poured new asphalt. It is brand new, not even striped yet. But on the other hand it is still a street and still has the same purpose of any street.
The same is true with worship and our new Transformation Worship Service. Transformation, the contemporary worship experience at First United Methodist Church, is in a new location. And even that location is going to begin going through some exciting changes. The first of these is that in the next several weeks construction will begin on a new stage and storage facilities for Scott Hall (our worship venue) which will provide the Transformation experience with a new permanent central stage for the Praise Band and for preaching and leading worship.
In preparation for making room for construction we’ll be moving our current portable stage to another part of the room changing the shape of our worship space yet again. We are also working in different ways to update our worship experience, work on the logistics of a new service location, and seeking to figure out how we can make our worship one that helps us to focus on our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
But, what we are doing is still worshipping God. We will still be singing, we will still be praying, we will stil be reading the scriptures, and we will still be sharing in the sacraments. So while Contemporary worship has stylistic elements that are different from our two traditional worship opportunities we still have the same purpose we have always of seeing that, as the song says, we see Jesus lifted high!
So that effects how we change and how we don’t change. When we make changes in the coming months it will be for the purpose of lifting up the faith of Jesus Christ, helping us worship God, helping us grow in our faith as Christians, and helping us to leave worship to go out into the world to serve others in the name of Christ! Changes won’t be willy nilly or just change for the sake of change. But worship change has to match the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Tomorrow is the first Sunday for the Transformation Worship Experience at First United Methodist Church of Cedar falls, Iowa. Worship begins at 8:30 a.m. followed by fellowship and the opportunity to attend Bible study as part of the FUMC Sunday School program.
As part of our worship we will be sharing together in the sacrament of Holy Communion, we will sing praises together, read from the scriptures, and celebrate God’s transforming grace in our lives!
If you are in the Cedar Falls area please come be our guest for the inaugural Sunday of this new worship experience.
Last night the Contemporary Worship Design Team at First United Methodist Church chose a name for our new contemporary worship experience which will begin September 5th at 8:30 a.m. The worship time will be called “Transformation.” The name Transformation was chosen because it reminds us of the transforming power of Jesus Christ to bring us His redemptive love and grace, to give us the grace to grow as Christians and to transform our lives into the kind of people God wants us to be.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
When we begin Transformation it will be a new worship gathering, in a new location in the church, at a new time, with a new order or worship and a new and fresh opportunity for us to worship together.
I am very excited with the work that the Transformation Worship Design Team is doing and will be doing in the coming weeks as we prayerfully work to make this a gathering that will glorify God, help our church to worship the living Christ, and allow us to invite new friends into our church fellowship!
Let’s Be Transformed!
Spend a pleasant Sunday morning in the park with your church family. We’ll be treated to the music of Tom Brown and Phil Hague. Tom is a founder of the Journey Bound Quartet. He has since retired from that group, but not from sharing his love of the Lord through music and words. Phil is an accomplished musician whose goal is to bless your heart with the Gospel of Christ. Don’t miss this special Sunday. Bring a lawn chair, enjoy the fresh air and some great music.
One of the ministries I am privileged to be a part of as the new Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church is Greenhouse. Greenhouse is the Sunday morning contemporary worship service at First Church. In Greenhouse we sing praises to God, share in prayer and praise, and focus on how God can touch our lives today is we hear a relevant message from Holy Scripture.
This Sunday I’ll preach my second Greenhouse service. In the coming months there are a lot of exciting things coming up for the Greenhouse service.
First UMC is renovating Scott Hall, the church’s multipurpose fellowship space, to be the new home of the contemporary service. There will be a new stage for the praise band, new lighting, a new sound system, and new projection equipment. The location will give the service a new, fresh, and relaxed feel in a setting designed specifically for contemporary worship. In the coming months I’ll be sharing more with you about exciting things happening in contemporary worship at First.
At this time Greenhouse is at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Or if you are looking for a more traditional style of worship First Church also has an 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. traditional services as well.
One of the services of worship offered by First United Methodist Church of Cedar Falls is the Wednesday night service called “Ignition.” Tonight was my first Ignition service. Pastor Steve Braudt, Associate Pastor for Youth and a design team created the Ignition concept. The service consists of cutting edge contemporary Christian music, a time of sharing, a time of prayer, a testimony, and weekly communion.
Pastor Steve asked me to share my testimony of my call to ministry. He and I also served the Communion together. I thought the service was a blast! The young people and adults seemed engaged in the service, were having a good time, and enjoyed the upbeat spirit of the service.
As always the sacrament of Holy Communion is a special and holy time. One of the things I love about the United Methodist understanding of communion is that as a means of God’s grace the table is open to all. So adults, youth, and children alike can come to the Lord’s table. No one is left out who wants to eat of the bread of life and experience Christ’s loving embrace.
I also much prefer communion by intinction to the small cups and small pieces of bread. (Though Methodists do have communion that way at times) For me it more closely fits the Apostle Paul’s metaphor of the body as one using one loaf and one cup as an example. It also requires you to receive communion from another rather than “take” communion.
I’ll look forward to attending Ignition in the coming weeks, hearing the testimonies, and sharing at the Lord’s table with sisters and brother in Christ!
If you are in Cedar Falls on Wednesday nights at 7:00 a.m. come join the fun and the worship at the Ignition Center!