Boring stories. Off-key singing. Bad White Sox jokes. Long-winded prayers. Yes, for 6 ½ years you have endured me. I am self-conscience of how I can be a “bit much” to some. Early in my ministry at a previous church, an older women told me after what I thought was the best sermon of my life, “you are just too over-bearing.” When I talked to the chair of the SPRC about what that meant, he put his 50 year old hand on my 25 year old shoulder and said, “Brad, you just a have a personality that takes time to grow on people.” 20 years later, I can laugh about that.
When I started here in July 2015, I came in with the idea that I was going to remain distant and not allow people to get close to me. I was going to set up boundaries and put my personality aside (which is pretty funny when you are an extravert with a strong personality). And those plans went right out the window because the week we were scheduled to move to Coal City, a tornado (the second in 19 months) came through town and Coal City United Methodist Church was the hub of care and service. So my guarded plan was quickly taken apart be-cause I jumped in wanting to be a part of this amazing movement at this church. Reality is, working side by side with one another we learn a great deal about each other and grow in our care for each other and we really have no choice but to be our genuine selves.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month and please know that I am not comfortable with the attention. Yes I know I share a lot of stories, but those stories about myself are not to draw attention to me but to find connection in our shared lives together. I realize that some of us were raised in families where you kept your thoughts and feelings private. Some of us prefer to show strength rather than vulnerability. Some of us want a shoulder to cry on and some of us like to make the venture alone. Some of us have obvious and overbearing personalities and some of us are just really hard to read.
This past year, you have probably heard too much from me. As I look back over these last 19 months since the beginning of the pandemic, you have got a lot of “Pastor Brad”. Not just the face you see or voice you hear every week in worship or online or in the newsletter, but I am talking about sharing the struggle of leading during these uncertain times. Though this may not line up with how you were raised or how you see yourself, I want you to know that being allowed to be fully transparent here at Coal City UMC is affirming and empowering. And it is that very same experience I want for you. That who you are, private or public, internal or external, strong or vulnerable, tight lipped or loose tongued, knowledgeable or still learning; that who you are is affirmed in this community of faith and that you are empowered to grow even more into who you are. That is what makes for a family, a community…a church.
I know that we are still trying to emerge from this pandemic and find a new pattern for our faith and comfort for our life together. And there have been some amazing moments over these last 19 months of parking lot worship, baptisms and confirmations, online Bible Studies, and so many people stepping up to offer care…and yet I think one of the most impactful moments was preaching to a sanctuary full of pictures. Not because you weren’t here because man alive I missed you…but you sent in pictures because you wanted to be present and a part of your church when we felt so estranged from one another.
Though there is not a congregational appreciation month or day… I want you to know that I am thankful for you. I give thanks every day, for you. I give thanks for your sage advice. I give thanks for your servant leadership. I give thanks for your humility in stewardship. I give thanks for the care you give to one another. I give thanks for those small intricate parts of your personality that make you who you are. I give thanks for your generosity of your time and resources. I give thanks that we have at times disagreed but still love one another. I give thanks for your stories and your journey. I give thanks that you feel at home in this church and make my family a part of your family. I give thanks for who you are.
May we take time this month to celebrate one another. May we share together in the Gospel of Jesus and his passion for ministry. May we know that our stories over-lap, connect, intersect and find common paths. May we find joy in the unique nature of who we are that makes Coal City UMC the strong body that we are.
8:00am - Worship Service
10:30am - Worship Service
Our services are available on Live Stream via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/coalcityum) and also on our YouTube Page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVoWM6l0PTQlO5PvFhg2Iw)..Or you are welcome to watch it later in the day through our church Facebook page or our YouTube page.
The Coal City United Methodist Church is a multi-generational church family that welcomes children, seniors, and those in between to exciting worship, study, and fellowship experiences.
Some have been members of the Coal City community and the United Methodist Church their whole lives. Others have recently moved to our area and found a home among us. All are welcome.
From the children's moment where the children of our church hear a message in a language they can understand; to carefully crafted biblically based sermons that speak to our current reality as youth and adults; to a variety of high-caliber musical expressions of our faith from classical to contemporary, from organ to oboe, from piano to projected multi-media experiences, there is a place for you in worship. Our services are on the traditional side of blended - familiar, comfortable, but far from stuffy.
All are welcome here.
With choices from Bible studies, to women's groups, children's choir and more - there are so many ways to be an active part of the CCUMC community.
The mission of the Coal City United Methodist Church is to be a sanctuary where prayer, worship, acts of mercy and study of scripture
empower persons to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
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