Town Hall Meeting
January 27, 2023
in Pastor's Weekly Message
What is our mission field?
In worship a few weeks ago, Kelly Deyoe invited us to consider witnessing about our faith to other people. This is an important habit and spiritual discipline for every Christian. However, it’s also important work for us to do as a church.
A few years ago, St. Mark’s embarked on a discernment process to consider becoming a multisite campus. We were bursting at the seams in our traditional services and knew that opening a new location would help to answer that need. But more than that, we were seeking to expand the Kingdom. To reach new people for Christ. To offer hope and healing to new people through a new location. Multisite churches are a successful method around the country, in United Methodist Churches and non-UMC churches, to expand the kingdom of God in our communities. It is good work that has unlimited possibilities. We did a lot of research and opened up a second site at Dove Mountain, seeking to reach a community without a UMC presence nearby.
While our work at Dove Mountain was thwarted by the pandemic, we continue to have the goal before us of changing the world through Christ by caring for all people. While our worship isn’t bursting at the seams, we continue to have people around us who won’t come into our space for worship. How do we reach new people? How do we share the gospel more widely?
In this last year, our Covenant Council focused on our third stated priority:
“St. Mark’s United Methodist Church will prayerfully examine our church structure. We will seek to strengthen the systems that are supporting and nurturing our ministry, and to relinquish those systems that no longer serve us well.”
We have relinquished some things that were not serving us well, things that did not share with the world the best of ourselves or what Christ calls us to be. We have spent time with Ministry Architects strengthening the systems as we supported and nurtured our ministries. This work is far from over, but we can’t ignore our call to reach new people, to change the world for Christ.
Before we were ready to start this conversation around our next mission field, the leadership at Sanctuary UMC approached us with the idea of partnering together, even merging together to make a bigger impact in our area here in northwest Tucson. Is THIS our new mission field? To give life and help to another struggling UMC that is so close to us that some of us pass it to get to the Magee campus? To have a multisite campus with a strong contemporary worship and a congregation that is already assembled? To reach people on both sides of the Interstate, an area that is still underserved by the UMC?
We went to the Conference, we met with our leadership, and finally we formed a task force with leaders from both congregations to consider a future together. As the task force began to meet, we focused on the essential questions of this merger:
- Would our congregation be better by merging rather than remaining separate?
- Could we accomplish more together than we could separately?
- Would our community be better served if we joined together?
- Could the kingdom of God be further enlarged by joining together?
These questions have guided our conversation. They will guide future conversations. But our work is not done. It is not a “given” or a “done deal” that we will merge. There’s still lots of work to be done, but we need your help and input.
We will have a Town Hall meeting at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in our worship space to give you a history of our work, to update you on where we are, to let you know where we are going, and to get your concerns and your questions. This will not be livestreamed but only available in person. Please consider coming to hear and offer your voice as we discern whether this is God’s leading for our congregation.
If you can’t attend, please pray for our work. Pray for the Town Hall meetings. Pray for the leaders who seek God’s will for our congregations. Pray for our mission field to become clear as we seek to reach people for Christ. It is holy work that we are called to be a part of, and success will only come if we ground our work in prayer.
Let me know if you have questions, and see you Sunday!
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.