Good morning friends—

This Saturday evening we will celebrate our church at our annual meeting and dinner.  That may sound a little boastful, celebrating us.  Maybe more accurately, we will celebrate that God has created this church, a people drawn together, forming friendships, and sharing the invitation of God to be God’s hands and feet in the world. 

I am a pastor here, specifically ordained to preach, provide the sacraments, serve and oversee the general administration of the church.  The ministry of the church, mission, outreach, teaching, all that depends on you, the people of the church.  Whether these things happen or not depends on the leadership of the church. 

My work would not be possible without strong leaders.  The church would not thrive without strong leaders.  The United Methodist Book of Discipline requires that we have four committees:  Leadership Development, Staff Parish Relations, Trustees and Finance.  Each of these committees, along with the Worship Committee and the Memorials Committee, have term limits.   At our annual meeting, we will thank those whose term limits have ended and are retiring from committee work and consecrate those who are beginning their terms and taking on new leadership roles.  We specifically honor the leaders of these committees that experience leadership turns over. 

But, here at WDMUMC, we have dozens of strong leaders whose leadership work does not have terms limits and continue in their roles often for years and years.  From Stephen Ministries to Griefshare to Sunday School Teachers to the Reading Buddies Coordinators, College Relations, Crafts for a Cause, Welcoming team, Prayer Shawl, MitsWits, UMW, Youth Group, Covenant Groups, MidWeek Refuel, Everybody Eats, Missions, Bells, Choir, Vespers, the Safety Committee, Yada Yadas, Coffee Fellowship, Memorials, Endowment, Prayer Team, Web Team, Preschool Leaders, Reconciling Ministry, Card Ministry, and more (I risk leaving something out.  Forgive me! And email me so that I know who I have overlooked), dozens of people step up and offer leadership.   All vital.  All important parts that create the whole of WDMUMC.  It is harder to identify all these leaders.  Leaders rise up often, responding to some sort of call God has placed on their hearts.  I want to honor all of our leaders.   

Leadership is not simply being the “boss.”  True leaders inspire us.  They encourage us forward.  They draw out the best in us. 

A few weeks ago I ran across this:

Leadership is the process of influencing the actions and behaviors of persons and organizations through complex interactions toward goal achievement.  Leadership does not reside in the person of the leader alone.  It involves accomplishing goals through persons.  Leaders cannot function without the involvement of members.  A relationship must be established between the leader and the members through an ongoing communication process resulting in a common understanding and commitment. 

Here at WDMUMC, when people take on a leadership task, they are taking on all this.  They are stepping into the long history of this church, carrying it forward, handing it off to someone else, and leaving a legacy.  In some cases, our leaders are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures.   In all cases, our leaders are responsible to God for the care of the souls and spirits of others inside and outside our church. 

And despite the enormity of the task, somehow it works.  You know when you have been in the presence of a good leader, when everyone around the table has voice, when the goal achieved is bigger than anything any one person could do on their own when the conversation is free from tension and unafraid to pose hard questions, and when you leave the meeting thinking “That was a good hour.  I am so grateful for those people and excited about the work we are doing.” 

Here at WDMUMC we have strong leaders who face challenges, have difficult conversations, wait on guidance from God, and then do what needs to be done. 

It is a miracle when you think about it.  God must be in it.  

Something to celebrate.  And we will on Saturday night.  Hope to see you there.  And if it hasn’t been said enough, thank you. 

Blessings,

Pastor Cindy

Pastor Cindy Hickman

West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
515-279-0826

Like us on Facebook or visit us and WDMUMC.org. 

We worship on Sunday mornings in a traditional way at 8:30 and in a casual way at 11.  You are invited to worship in whatever way is right for you!   And now we are livestreaming our 8:30 service!  Watch us on Facebook!

Coming Up at WDMUMC: 

Midweek Refuel Tonight!  Tonight we are going retro!  Dinner just like Grandma made with Tater Tot Casserole and 50’s style desert.  Test your knowledge of long ago with table challenges from the past!  Hula hoop contest!  And a photo booth with all the props!  You can have your picture taken in a pink convertible!  C’mon!  You made it through Wednesday!  Come join in the fun.  Suppers on at 5:30. 

Advocacy Day at the State Legislature with Bishop Laurie Haller Thursday, January 30.  The day begins with coffee and snacks at Wesley United Methodist Church at 8:45.  This is followed by devotions and advocacy training.  After that, it is off to meet with the legislature.  Items to be addressed are Climate Change, Water Quality, Restoration of Felon Rights, Minimum Wage, and Funding for Mental Health Services for Children.  You are invited.  Contact Sue Smith for details. 

Climate Crisis Parade The Central District United Methodist Women will gather at the Cowles Commons on Saturday, Feb 1 at noon for a climate crisis parade. You are invited.  Contact Sue Smith for details. 

Morganne Reads!  Morganne is starting a book club!  The last Thursday of every month from 6-7 pm Morganne and other readers (could be you!) will gather at Panera on West Town Parkway for a book talk.  The first book is The Hate You Give, a novel that tells a story of growing up facing racism.  See Morganne for details!