Why I Stay

Posted: June 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

I found this article a good one to confront the general angst about mainline church decline. Peace be with you.

Hopping Hadrian's Wall

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Last week, the Office of the General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church (USA), released its 2013 statistics on church attendance and the number of congregations in our denomination.

You can read that report by clicking here.

Since the report’s release, Presbyterians have engaged in the usual ritual of nail-biting and finger-pointing over the current state of the church. Various pundits have offered their opinions online and in print, analyzing and interpreting these statistics.

I’m not going to do that.

What I’d like to offer now are some of my thoughts on why I came and why I stay in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

I’m a young pastor in the Midwest who falls somewhere on the line between GenX and Millennial. I’m young and married with kids… exactly the kind of demographic that most of our churches are trying to court.

Yet, we’re not just attending church, my wife and I…

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Sonrise service

Sonrise service

 

For most pastors, Holy Week is both a blessing and a huge stress. This, of course, is a week of extra services on top of all the regular responsibilities. This year my week started out pretty relaxed. Palm Sunday was our cantata where the choir sings in lieu of a sermon. Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday were pretty uneventful though busy. On Holy Wednesday, after a pretty typical day, I did a ride out with a police officer as a volunteer chaplain. It was pretty interesting to see the things that go on during an officer’s shift and thankfully it was uneventful. Maundy Thursday we had a beautiful evening service that walked us through both the love feast and then into the passion. Good Friday, Sarah and I raced to Houston. That night there was a rehearsal and a dinner for a wedding that I would officiate. On Holy Saturday my family and friends threw us a baby shower in the church I grew up in, St. James. I got a short visit with my brother and then we raced to Conroe so I could do the wedding. After blessing the food for the reception, we had to hit the road again so I could get some sleep before the sunrise service.

Easter Sunday brought about 3 Paschal miracles. Some would say the fact that I woke up for the Easter Sunrise service was miraculous, since last year I almost missed it; however I won’t be counting that one.
The first miracle was that, between the sunrise service and the regular service, I was able to write out my Easter sermon. With all the chaos of Holy SunRise2014Week, prepping for a wedding and traveling, I had not had any time to even make notes for the Easter service. For some reason, God intervened, and after reading one article I typed out a four page sermon during the Sunday school hour. That never happens because after I have done extensive research it usually takes at least 2 solid hours to write on a good day.
My second Easter miracle happened when I went to read over and edit my sermon on my kindle-fire tablet. I discovered that, like the body of Jesus, my sermon had disappeared. This was very unnerving because I had just written a very good sermon in a brief amount of time. I figured it was just a technical error in where it had been saved. I searched all of my Kindle documents and the entire hard drive of the office computer to find that not a single word of what I had written had remained. With only 20 minutes until the start of the service, all I could do was try to remember the key points of the sermon I had just written. I rushed to the sanctuary with about 6 written lines to cue my thoughts. The miracle was that the Holy Spirit showed up and the preaching came forth better than what I had written. I was also free to move about the congregation because I was not glued to my manuscript since it had disappeared.
The third Easter miracle should not be read by polite company that is easily offended by potty humor (you may want to stop reading at this point). I woke up Easter morning to find my self running to the toilet instead of running to the empty tomb. That is right – Easter morning and I have the runs. The worst time to have upset bowels is when you are leading three services in one day. To make matters worse, the plumbing at the old country church was not working and I was at least 30 minutes from the church or my home should I need a working toilet. So the miracle came that I was only hit with the urge to rush to a bathroom before the services when I was either at home or at the church. It made for an uncomfortable Easter and a day of fearing my bowels would not cooperate in the middle of proclaiming the Risen Lord! Yet, with all the potential for disaster everyone claimed they did not notice anything askew. All the services went well and to God be all the glory for saving my butt!

A New Year

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

So excited about all the activity surrounding the church. We have had seven new members join the church since December 1st. This Sunday, we are having a baby shower for the three new moms in the church.
Also, a new Hispanic Reformed Ministry is beginning and already has 25 members. Antonio and Jeannette Pichardo have joined FPC and will serve with this ministery.
Next Tuesday, First Presbyterian will serve the students at NTCC at the campus. Wow, so exciting to see our members in action. Hold on for the ride. Kathy

Soul Decay: Dirty Rotten Sins

Posted: September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Last Sunday, we kicked off a new sermon series called “Soul Decay”.  The first of the seven deadly sins was envy and this week we will look at gluttony (later will come lust, greed, sloth, wrath and pride).  As we look at these sins we are searching for preventive measures and remedies for each.  Though the only true cure from any of the sins is forgiveness and grace from Jesus Christ. This series will go for 7 Sundays and will lead us up to Reformation Sunday at Greenhill with the Goodland boys! Other happenings include a new campus ministry that has started on the NTCC campus on Monday afternoons called Seeking Out Spirituality (SOS). Discipleship groups are being formed for this year as we try to add some ways to deepen our faith.  Have a blessed week!

~Pastor Shane

Friday- Always a good day

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today was Backpack day at Fuel Up. The kids get to take a bag full of food home for the weekend.
We are so blessed to still have great churches helping with the program. I love this fellowship.
This week the Biker Church of Mt. Pleasant was serving along with our volunteers. It reminds us what a great community of believers reside in this great town.  We are here to lift each other up.

See ya Sunday.  Shane has gone to the Big Tent Conference in Louisville.  He is attending the Evangelism workshop.

The sermon will be out of Mark.  Jesus is asleep in the boat during a storm.  Does Jesus ever sleep when we are in a rocky boat?  Come find out on Sunday morning!

 

Kathy

Headed to Big Tent event

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Howdy friends! Tomorrow I leave for Louisville, Kentucky (the Presbyterian mother-ship). I will be there for a conference on Evangelism and I will be learning about the new 1001 Worshiping Communities initiative. Kathy Spann will be preaching this Sunday and communion will be postponed until next week.  We are glad to welcome Michael, Carrie  and Lillian Henry to Mt. Pleasant. I will be back in the office on Monday. If there is something urgent, for example you are in the hospital, please do not hesitate to call my cell. ~Pastor Shane

Hump Day at the Church

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

Looking forward to our Fuel Up volunteers and children arriving today. It has been a great six weeks of helping the children in the community and fellowship with other churches.
Drop by at 11:30am to help and interact with our local children.

This Sunday the sermon will be from Colossians.