Pastor’s Note – August 22, 2019

Schweitzer UMCPastor's Note

Hello Friends,

It’s been a nice and relaxing summer for me — no school, less busy work schedule, more vacation, that sort of thing. I have to say, I’ve been blessed and refreshed in more ways than one. And to top it all off, we added a new addition to our family just a couple of weeks ago! See Judah Pierce Hotchkiss in the picture below. (I’ve already decided, he’s going to be a preacher just like his dad.)

While I’m sad to see summer coming to an end, there’s one thing I’ve really missed the last few months and that I look forward to having again this fall — my small group. Christian fellowship. That weekly camaraderie. Those deep dives into scripture. The godly conversations. The growth I see in myself and others. All those things that bring such life to my soul. As Spencer talked about last Sunday, it can be so easy to just live a “religious” life without really knowing and walking with God. But I find that there’s nothing that keeps me more grounded and alive in God than these weekly meetings with by brothers and sisters in Christ. In my opinion, there’s hardly anything that comes closer to God’s design for the Church than this, which is why I’m so passionate about helping every person at Schweitzer connect to a small group. To put it simply, we all need something like this in order to faithfully and joyfully follow Christ.

So as you may have heard already, I’m leading something this fall called Group Night, where every Wednesday, we’ll meet for 90 minutes (6:30 – 8:00 PM) for teaching, bible study, group discussion and prayer. I know there are a lot of reasons why someone may be hesitant to join a group at Schweitzer, and Group Night is my attempt to remove as many of the common barriers as possible. For parents with kids at home, we have kids/youth programming, as well as childcare. For those who are unsure about a long-term commitment to a group, you can just come and try it for a few weeks before making a decision. For those who don’t really know anyone in the church, this is an easy and relaxed environment, where relationships can develop more naturally over time, rather than feeling forced like it might be in a smaller setting. For those who aren’t ready for the deep sharing and accountability of a covenant group or a band, this is a much easier first step. For those who feel like beginners in Bible study and prayer, Group Night was made to help you learn and get comfortable with these things.

If anything of this describes you, don’t hesitate! All I’m asking is that you try out Group Night for three straight weeks before making up your mind. Based on how it went last spring, I really don’t think you’ll regret it! And for all of you who already have a group with whom you’re growing, please pray with me that others would find the very same thing at Group Night this fall.

Sign up for Group Night here: sumc.co/group-night/

(Side note: If you plan to attend, you MUST sign up online, unless you already know which group you’re going to be a part of).

God bless you!

Jake