Looking back, looking forward

Nov 03, 2021 Michael Bishop leadership

Tuesday evening’s UMC leaders’ meeting began with a moment of nostalgia as we looked back over the last number of years and reflected on what God has been doing in our community during this time. I remembered my first UMC leaders’ meeting in early 2012 when we all crammed into the big upstairs room at the manse. It was a very hot and humid evening and the first decision of the night was to get the aircon repaired ASAP :)

We remembered the major construction projects of the last decade and the way that having our office on site helped the church property to become a hive of activity during the week as people gathered for groups and courses, or met with friends in our coffee shop. We talked about quiet days, our bookshop, the growth in small groups, partnering with DLA, So-High, MPower and others, Khanyisa, the emergence of a men’s group, confirmation classes and the development of our worship team.

What has stood out for me about the leadership team at Umhlali is a fantastic openness to trying new things – not all churches are like this :) It’s also been great to see how many different people have served in different ways over the years and how each person has grown in capacity, so that we are now blessed with an incredible pool of talent and experience at UMC. We recognised that there are seasons in the life of the church – that many of our projects were for a specific time and that time has now passed. What I really hope for Umhlali though is that we will continue to be listening to God and open to new things for the new season that awaits.

A number of people also commented on qualities of the UMC community – several noted how caring this congregation is, and our treasurer’s report spoke volumes about the generosity and faithful giving of the Umhlali people. Despite the challenges of the last two years, we are in a good place and have reason to be hopeful at the start of 2022. Looking ahead to next year, one key feature of our discussions was the need to make sure that we stay connected with the significant number of people who are worshipping with us online. We’ve had some challenges with our computer hardware and we took a decision to spend some money resolving those problems to better serve our online community.

As you look back over your time here, what is the new thing that God is stirring up in you as a member of this UMC family?