November
We met for our annual church conference on Tuesday, September 15th. It was well-attended. Thank you to all who took the time to be at LeValley representing both churches. We voted on the new leadership for 2020, you approved my salary package for next year, and we received the membership report for both Berlin Center and LeValley. The church membership is what I want to focus on in this article.
 
The Berlin Center membership was 48 at the close of 2018. With three withdrawals and two deaths in 2019, the estimated membership at the end of this year is 43. 19 members were presented for first-year-inactive. During 2020, I hope we will reach out to these 19 people to determine if they would like their membership transferred to another church, do they want be removed from the membership roster at Berlin Center, or would they like to remain members of Berlin Center? Should they desire to keep their membership at Berlin Center, they need to be reminded of the vows of membership they took which are to faith-fully participate in the church’s ministries by their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness. If the people are removed from the membership role, the total membership at Berlin Center will be 24.
 
LeValley’s membership was 146 at the close of 2018 and with three persons received by profession of faith and three removed by death, the current membership remains at 146. Two people have indicated a desire to become members by transfer from another Methodist church and two by profession of faith, so LeValley will most likely end the year with 150 members. 35 members from LeValley were presented for first-year-inactive. Should those 35 be removed from the membership role next year, the total would be reduced to 115 members.
 

So, where am I going with these figures? My deduction is that we have work to do, if we want to remain vital churches.

I don’t provide these figures to depress anyone or to draw a gloom and doom picture for the future, but to open our eyes to reality. We need to work on our individual spiritual health, on which I have preached for the last two weeks and will continue to preach on for the next few Sundays. Then, we need to look at what we can do as individuals and as churches to initiate a revival. I pray that we won’t become the churches described in Thom Rainer’s The Autopsy of the Deceased Church.

This article has described the issue. In future articles, I will provide highlights from the Spiritual Growth sermons, demographics provided by Mission Insite describing the five-mile radius surrounding our two churches, and some possible means for church revival and growth.
 
I am also interested in hearing from each of you. What do you see as the current state of YOUR church and what is your personal vision for its future? Many of the lyrics from the familiar hymn, We are the Church, say it well. I am the church! You are the church!
 
We are the church together! The church is not a building; the church is not a steeple; the church is not a resting place; the church is a people. Sometimes the church is marching; sometimes it's bravely burning, sometimes it's riding, sometimes hiding; always it's learning. And when the people gather, there's singing and there's praying; there's laughing and there's crying sometimes,… At Pentecost some people received the Holy Spirit and told the Good News through the world to all who would hear it.
 
Let’s become healthier Spiritually and tell the Good News though the world to all who would hear it. Advent and Christmas, as well as Lent and Easter, are the seasons of the Christian year, when non-Christians are willing to listen and hear
 
Pastor Nancy