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As I have gotten older, I have found that I really enjoy making things. Some of what I make is pretty simple, while other items are fairly complex. One of the items that I am currently making are metal ornaments. I first saw these ornaments for sale a little over four years ago, and I thought that this was something that I might like to make. It took me another three years before I tried making the ornaments. I have now made about three hundred of them. 

Everything that I am currently making I first saw somewhere else. What I have found, though, is that I always have my own ways of doing things. I tend to modify the items that I make, and put my own spin on them. I also tend to find that there are more challenges than I initially anticipated. Perseverance is a helpful trait to have!  

This last Sunday at an All-Church Conference a pastor asked me about having a spot-light on a different church in each of our weekly South District newsletters. This seems like a good idea to me! As I travel around to our South District churches, I’m seeing wonderful ideas for ministry that I wish that I would have thought of. Our newsletter is one place where we can share what is working well for us in our churches. Our newsletter is also linked to our South District Facebook page, which gives us even more exposure. 

I’m also wondering about how many seminars and training sessions do our South District laity and clergy attend in a year? Individual churches usually benefit from these trainings, but what if we find ways for our entire district to benefit from these trainings? The starting point might once again be our weekly newsletter. What if we write up a summary and recommendation after we attend a class? This gives others a contact to ask questions, and perhaps encouragement to attend a specific training in the future. 

As I get to know our South District churches better, it is clear to me that these ministry settings are different from each other. Every setting is unique. This means that most ministries that work in one setting will have to be modified to work in another setting. More than two decades ago I saw a plaque that quickly became one of my favorites. I was on a mission trip in Texas just this side of the border from Mexico. We were staying in an old hotel. The plaque was very ornate, and it described in flowery words the famous French architect who designed the hotel. After reading all of this information, I saw some very small and plain print at the bottom of the plaque. It said: “redesigned on site”. This is something that most church people know how to do! 

Part of being a courageous church means that we constantly search for new ways of connecting people with Jesus. When we stop changing, we start to be less effective as a church. Let’s help each other to be the very best churches that we can be! 

Your brother on the journey, Mark 

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