March 24, 2017
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope this note finds you well. I would like to begin this week’s note with some exciting news. At last Monday night’s Administrative Board meeting, Chris Mucha was introduced as Peachtree Road’s new Director for Youth and Their Families! Chris currently is the youth director at Fayetteville First UMC in Fayetteville, Georgia where he has served for the last 10+ years. He is an exceptional leader, loves Christ, and is committed to helping youth and their families grow as Christian disciples. Chris and his wife Ashley have a ten-year-old son Dayton, and they are looking forward to joining our church family. He will begin his work here on May 1. I am most grateful to the search team, chaired by Daris McCullough, for their diligent work over the last six months. We learned a great deal through this process about growing a vital ministry with youth and their families, and we are confident that Chris will bring outstanding leadership to our staff team. We look forward to welcoming Chris and his family to Peachtree Road very soon. Please pray for the Muchas as they make this transition to Atlanta.
Also, at Monday’s Board meeting, we adopted a budget for the year of $6.85 million. The staff worked hard to create “zero-balance” budgets, but the Finance Committee determined further cuts were necessary in order to avoid another year of an operating budget deficit. As the committee wrestled with this reality, a new model was envisioned – the development of two budgets: one for the operations of the church and the other consisting of our goals for local and global outreach. In recent years, our support outside the operating budget for outreach has exceeded that which was designated within the budget. For example, last year Peachtree Road invested over $1.3 million in outreach, but less than $500,000 came from the operating budget. The difference came from the generous second mile gifts of our congregation to efforts such as Christmas Kindness, the Dogwood Gift Shop, the Christmas Eve Offering for water filters, etc. Outreach is at the heart of what we do here at Peachtree Road, and we are changing lives here in our own community as well as faraway places in Kenya, Georgia, and Nicaragua. Our Finance Committee believes this new model will help us accomplish all of our goals in a strategic and sustainable way. I am grateful to Beth Spencer and Anne French for all they do to keep outreach at the forefront of our ministry, and I am grateful to the Finance Committee for helping us make our efforts sustainable over the long haul.
In an effort to make sure that our support for outreach does not slip in any way, I am establishing a church-wide outreach initiative in which every area of the church will be challenged to help us fulfill our goal to transform lives in the name of Jesus Christ and leverage every member of our congregation in the process. I have asked our new Chief Operating Officer, Raymond Reynolds, to make it a priority of his time in the next three months to work with a group to help us fully develop this plan and the needed resources. Some of you may know that Raymond has extensive experience in the area of development, most recently as the Vice-President for Major and Legacy Giving at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. We are blessed to have him on our team! I have been encouraged by several conversations in recent days and believe this new model will enable us to grow our investment in outreach toward that $2 million goal we have set for ourselves in the future. I will give you details of the plan as it develops. Please know how grateful we are for your tithes, offerings, and second mile gifts.
I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue with our Lenten series of messages entitled “Breathe!” This week we will consider the encounter between Jesus and a man who was born blind (John 9:1-41). In my study this week, I have really been struck by the question the disciples asked Jesus: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” That question is borne out of a mindset that everything happens for a reason. Does it? That’s a question I want us to ponder together this week. See you in church!
Speaking of Sunday, this week is “Baby Recognition Day” at Peachtree Road. Each year we take time to celebrate the birth of the children who have been born to members of our church within the last year. I am grateful to the United Methodist Women who organize this recognition. The parents will attend a brunch at 10:00 am in Grace Hall, and then, during the 11:15 am service in the sanctuary, the names of our newborns will be called; they will be presented with a certificate from the United Methodist Women; and we will offer a prayer of blessing upon them. Over 60 children were born in our church last year, and we should never take for granted how blessed we are!
Also, this Sunday marks the opening of the Dogwood Gift Shop for the spring season. The shop has been restocked with new merchandise, including gifts for babies, weddings, birthdays, moms, dads, and grads. As always, 100% of the proceeds will go to support the global outreach of Peachtree Road. (Last year, those proceeds amounted to over $100,000 and helped us make a difference in faraway places such as Kenya, the nation of Georgia, and Nicaragua.) I hope you will drop by the Dogwood this week and support our global outreach ministry.
Finally, today marks the final countdown to tomorrow’s Great Day of Service. This is the 25th year Peachtree Road has hosted a day of service, and I hope you are signed up and ready to participate. If not, it’s not too late! We have a wonderful group of project captains who are ready to work with you as we go out into the community to demonstrate our love for God and neighbor in life-changing ways. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.
Thank you for all that you are doing in the name of Christ through Peachtree Road. I look forward to seeing you Saturday at the Great Day of Service and in worship on Sunday.