July 8, 2016
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
The days of the summer are here, and I know many of you are enjoying time away with loved ones. While you may be enjoying cooler climates on the weekends, I do want to keep you up with what is taking place at your church. For example, last Monday from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. a good number of our members gathered in front of the church for our annual Party on Peachtree. I am grateful for those who helped organize this event. It seemed like the hottest Fourth of July ever to me, but the heat and humidity did not dampen the enthusiasm of our members as they handed out bottles of water, cheered, and offered encouragement to participants in this year’s Peachtree Road Race.
The Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10k race in the world and draws 70,000 people from all over. Each year I look forward to seeing folks from my hometown as well as congregations I have served in the past. We even see former members of Peachtree Road who come back to Atlanta to be a part of the race. It is a wonderful way to begin the holiday.
Of course, July means “Summer in the City“ here at Peachtree Road. During the Sundays of this month, you are encouraged to dress “comfortably” for worship. Our services will be more casual, and lemonade will be served each week in front of the church at the close of worship. We also sing more during these services. In the bulletin we call them “Hymns We Love to Sing,” but the worship staff refers to them as “Hymns Bill Loves to Sing.” I cannot deny it – I picked out the hymns we’re singing this week, and, yes, they are some of my favorites: “Love, Mercy, and Grace” (which was #153 in the old Cokesbury Hymnal) and “There’s Within My Heart a Melody.” I’m not planning on needing a hymnal this week!
The messages this month will focus on Christian Discipleship using the image of a baseball diamond. I am calling the series “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The goal of a Christian is to grow in God’s grace and to become more mature. Each week we will reflect upon one of the four basics of being a disciple of Jesus Christ:
July 10 | Luke 9:18-20 | 1st Base: Knowing Christ
July 17 | Romans 12:1-2 | 2nd Base: Growing in Christ
July 24 | Matthew 25:31-40 | 3rd Base: Serving Christ
July 31 | Matthew 28:16-20 | Home Plate: Sharing Christ
Also, each week we will enjoy special music by some of our favorite soloists: Tyrone Webb, Clarke Harris, Paul Sewell, and Jeanne Brown.
This week we begin our Summer in the City series by noting that the first goal of Christian discipleship is “knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” The soloist for this week is Tyrone Webb, one of our own. I hope you will be present as we worship together. If you are on vacation, tune in at 11:15 a.m. and watch us online or make it back in time to worship in the chapel for Sundays @ 5. And, one more thing – on the hymns, don’t leave me out there singing by myself!
I do want to update you on our progress toward meeting our goals for the year. Through the first six months of 2016, we are doing pretty well:
- We have a goal of receiving 250 new members and have received 187
- We have a goal of receiving 100 persons on profession of their faith and have received 99
- Our average attendance has increased by 10.8% per Sunday over this time last year
- We have seen very good participation in our Bible studies, small group study series, Sunday School classes, and special speaker series such as Jim Fleming, Glennon Doyle Melton, Brent Strawn, and we look forward to having Dan Cathy and maybe one more with us in the fall
- Through our local outreach ministries: 500+ participated in Every Member in Ministry, 900+ participated in the Great Day of Service, generous support in offerings to Murphy-Harpst Home, Habitat for Humanity, and Wesley Woods
- Through our global outreach ministries we are approaching 350 adults and students on mission trips and many of our initiatives are being funded by proceeds from the Dogwood Gift Shop
- Our giving to the operating budget is about $300,000 below year-to-date projections
- Our disbursements from the operating budget are about $35,000 less than year-to-date projections
The operating budget for the year is $7.09 million and being below projections in both giving and disbursements appears to be a timing issue (many of you give most generously at the end of the year). We fully expect both to be at the budgeted levels by year-end.
As you enjoy your summer, I do encourage you to make sure your giving to the church is up-to-date. It is so easy to get behind and then not be able to catch up by the end of the year. We need every member to do his or her part in order for our church to achieve all of its goals. And please know, when your pledge is current, your senior minister rises up and calls you blessed!
See you Sunday!