Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
A new chapter is beginning in the ministry of New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This chapter gives us an opportunity to become an even brighter light for Christ in this community where New Hope’s light has been shining for over 200 years. This congregation began during one of the greatest spiritual awakenings our nation has every experienced, the Great Revival of 1800, and the heart of New Hope continues to beat with the zeal of sharing the Good News of God’s love with everyone we can. This message has not changed and will not change, but just as the community in which we exist has changed significantly over those 200+ years the methods we use to reach those in the community have changed as well.
As we seek to remain an effective witness for Jesus we must remain open to new ways in which we can connect with those we are trying to reach. An extremely important part of this process is being sure that those who call New Hope their church home are aware of what it means to be part of a church family, understand the significance of and are given the necessary tools for personal spiritual growth, and discover what his/her abilities and spiritual gifts are and provide a place in the ministry of New Hope to use them. One of my primary responsibilities as a pastor is to meet these needs. Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ (New Living Translation). The classes scheduled to begin the first Sunday of September are integral in equipping the people of New Hope to do ministry.
The Foundations of New Hope is a discipleship program designed to educate, encourage, equip, and enlist people in a meaningful way in our ministry. The 4 series of classes: Christianity 101: Joining the Family; Christianity 201: Growing to Spiritual Maturity; Christianity 301: Discovering My Ministry; and Christianity 401: What’s Next?, will guide the participants through an intentional path of discipleship. Whether you have been a member of New Hope for years, have only recently become a member, or are just in the process of checking out all this “Christian stuff”, these classes will be beneficial. I, along with the elders of New Hope, strongly encourage every member and anyone considering membership to make a commitment to completing these classes. If you are currently in a Sunday School class we are asking that these classes temporarily suspend what they are doing to participate in Foundations. Once we have completed these classes you will return to the classes you are currently attending. Our youth are going to participate in Foundations, but we will continue our current classes for children. After this initial offering of Foundations these classes will continue to be offered on a rotating basis.
Our schedule for Sunday School will change a little during the time that Foundations is being taught. Due to the number of people who will be participating we will need to use the Worship Area for these classes. To insure that we have adequate time for worship preparation after Sunday School, our Foundations classes will begin with fellowship at 8:30 am and teaching to begin at 8:45 am. There will be printed materials for each participant so we are asking you to register for the classes to insure we have the adequate number of books (we want to be good stewards and not print more than we need). You can register on the tear off section of the Sunday program, by calling the church office, 615-449-7020, calling Pastor Paul, 615-429-4331, or emailing Pastor Paul, email@example.com. Please do so by Sunday, August 30 to allow plenty of time to prepare materials.
New Hope has a tremendous history of ministry. We also have the opportunity to make the future ministry of New Hope even greater. God provides the opportunities and gives us the gifts and abilities necessary to meet those opportunities. It is our responsibility to be sure that we are making the most out of what God has given. Please give prayerful consideration to committing to participating in Foundations. I sincerely believe God will use it to great things at New Hope!
Grace and peace,