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From the Pastor's Pen — Monthly Message Archive
 



Pastor Mike Rich

 Pastor Mike Rich

  

   

•   July 2018   •   August 2018   •     
 
July 2018: "Saying Hello, While Saying Goodbye"

As I write this, I am in the midst of turning over my conference responsibilities to other people and finishing up all kinds of paperwork. After working for six years in a couple of different jobs on the conference staff, it will be a change of pace to focus on one church, rather than being in service to 1000+ churches.

I am also saying goodbye to a congregation that I have come to love over the past two years. They might not be that large, but they have a huge spirit, and have done amazing ministry in that community and beyond. It is always bittersweet to be leaving a place you have loved, while welcoming the opportunities of a new place and a new people. Rose and I look forward to moving into the community, getting to know you, and serving Christ together with you.

Some Things to Expect

  • I tell lots of stories. In my preaching, teaching, and everyday interactions, I share openly of my life and ministry. You will get to know lots about me, where I grew up, where I have lived, and many of the people with whom I have served. I also like to hear your stories, and get to know you, and what makes you tick. I have a vision of God's Kingdom being a big front porch with the family of God sharing their stories together.
  • I tend to be informal. I grew up in a blue collar family, and most of my kinfolk never made a living in a suit and tie. Though I will wear a suit on different occasions, you will generally find me in more comfortable clothing. I earned a doctorate over 20 years ago, but it is rare that I am ever addressed as "Doctor." If you have to use a title, I think "Pastor Mike" is my favorite. If titles are not your thing, I have been called "Mike" or "Michael" most of my life and I will answer to both. (If you call me by my first name, "Howard" I will suspect you are trying to sell me something, or have some kind of government business to talk about.)
  • I enjoy technology. I would have never survived six years on the conference staff without enjoying it. I know my way around websites, social media, other kinds of media. Since the 1990s, I have found various ways to use it in local churches and communities. I also realize that it is not everyone's cup of tea. For me, technology is just a tool for telling stories and making them available to others. I hope you will join me on Facebook, and on the web in the coming months.

Rose and I don't know all of you yet, but from the folks that have greeted us warmly, and from our interactions with various leaders and staff, we already anticipate a joy-filled and fruitful ministry together with you.

We look forward to moving into the parsonage on July 3rd, and we already feel like Rehobeth and Terrell are our new home!

Michael Rich

 
August 2018: "An Amazing Welcome"

Last month, I wrote an article about my near arrival at Rehobeth, all from a single visit to the church, several phone calls with leaders, and some emails and notes from others who had wished me well before the move.

Now I actually experienced it.

What a surprise when I drove up to the parsonage on July 3rd and saw a lawn full of cars and trucks and people willing to help us move in. We had a moving company that did the heavy lifting, but even they were surprised that so many showed up to assist them.

The number of folks I have spoken with still has me reeling that had a hand in painting, cleaning, fixing, moving furniture, and more. David Sigmon and his coworkers did an amazing job with the parsonage. It is by far one of the nicest homes I have ever lived in my nearly 58 years.

The welcome on my first Sunday preaching at Rehobeth will always be a great memory. In the middle of vacation season, when people are coming and going, so many showed up to hear this stranger preach. The way you turned out to care for Carol Graham and family that weekend when we said goodbye to Jean Sheets (with a stranger leading the service) was a sign that you know lots about what it means to be church.

The covered dish meal that you prepared for us was outstanding. My son, who also felt welcomed on that Sunday, was the first to say, "These folks know how to eat." I am even more convinced that a church that knows the basics of sharing food and hospitality is ripe for great ministry in the world.

In the past few weeks, I have been meeting lots of folks, some who are part of this faith community, and others who are part of the community. I have met folks that remind me of my roots and make me feel comfortable in my own skin. I think I am right when I say this, but I have moved to a friendly, down to earth place, with folks who know how to laugh, and serve, and seem to do it with ease.

I believe that what Rose and I have experienced is the sign of great things to come.

  • A church that can welcome a stranger, can be open and welcoming to a community full of folks seeking a church home and seeking family.
  • A church that serves so willingly in so many ways can be a people of mission locally and beyond.
  • A church that shows such great table hospitality, knows a basic building block of building community.
  • A church that laughs heartily and takes itself lightly, can be a beacon to a world that can be dark and forbidding to many.

I look forward to seeing this amazing welcome blossom into a transforming ministry in this community.

Michael Rich

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

   
   
   
 
 
Rehobeth United Methodist Church • 9297 Sherrills Ford Road • P.O. Box 356 • Terrell, NC 28682
Copyright © 2018 Dr. Michael Rich
Used by permission