First United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church - Lincoln, Nebraska
We see ourselves as a congregation with a mission and we have worked together to formulate a statement of purpose, attached, that guides our worship, education, congregational development, and community service. The senior pastor for our congregation should be comfortable with this document.
In addition, over the past few years, the laity has fashioned some special emphases that we wish to see continued and supported by our senior pastor. They are:
We have two Sunday morning worship services, one of which is informal in structure and celebrates the Eucharist on a weekly basis. In addition there is a midweek worship which includes a Service of Healing. Our worship services are based on the scriptures of the common lectionary for that week. Lay readers assist each week in our services. Congregational prayers are also an important part of our services. We observe the seasons of the Christian year with special events such as a footwashing service during Lent, an Easter Vigil, and baptism renewals.
A Prayer and Meditation group has been meeting each Wednesday evening for eleven years, and several Covenant Discipleship groups meet regularly in the church. We expect the senior pastor to be able to provide leadership for the Meditation groups, support other activities in spiritual growth and help us grow in all worship arenas.
Our senior pastor should regard preaching as a major responsibility and consider that social issues as well as spiritual concerns need to be addressed from the pulpit, so that laity are encouraged to approach issues with an informed, thoughtful and prayerful attitude.
In addition to the usual Sunday morning classes, we have offered our members continuing educational opportunities including Adult Studies in fall and spring and Lenten classes for all ages. Our senior pastor has been an important teacher in systematic Bible study, such as the Bethel and Disciple Bible programs, and prayer/meditation in addition to other classes. We expect the senior pastor to be able to carry out such teaching tasks and help us expand our education ministry within our congregation. In the past our senior pastor has been offered the opportunity to teach courses at Nebraska Wesleyan University. We have found such a congregation-campus relationship to be beneficial and would like to have a senior pastor who could continue to function in that capacity as opportunities are offered.
First United Methodist Church is entering the fourth year of involvement in the Love in Action Church Growth Program. A pastoral candidate needs to be committed to the program's completion and the evangelistic activity which will continue to expand. The senior pastor needs to be a leader/enabler in efforts to increase membership with the intent of meeting others' needs as well as gaining support for the program of the church.
Social Justice Ministry
Visitation of both hospitalized and elderly members has been an intentional part of the senior pastor's ministry. This will continue to be a much needed pastoral practice.
Our congregation has a long tradition of being a peacemaking church. This has included support for Nebraskans for Peace and respectful critiquing of the industrial military complex. In our attempt to respond to Jesus' call to be peacemakers, we have provided city and conference leadership in peacemaking efforts.
We have had a long-term commitment to community organization as a way for our congregation to help University Place and Lincoln to become a better city in which to live. University Place Community Organization (UPCO) is an outgrowth of that commitment. The church building is utilized regularly for community service programs and meetings.
Support for the above endeavors and others such as Prison Ministry and Status and Role of Women issues will be needed from the senior pastor.
We expect our senior pastor to provide prophetic leadership in social justice concerns as related to racism, militarism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc.
First United Methodist Church has inclusiveness of all persons (regardless of education, ability, economic level, gender, race, ethnic group, age, sexual orientation, etc.) as part of our purpose statement. A pastor who embraces inclusiveness as a guiding principle and who intends to both speak and act inclusively is needed to work with the laity to continue our inclusive ministry.
Inclusive language has been an intentional aspect of worship, programming and literature of this congregation for many years. Language is continually used, and recast as necessary, to include all persons in scripture, liturgy, song, and sermons. This includes a supplemental Eucharist page added to the weekly worship bulletin which is more inclusively written than the Eucharistic Orders in the new hymnal. The decision for the supplemental Eucharistic Order was made at the All Church Conference in October, 1990. It will be expected that a new senior pastor will appreciate and abide by the intent of this congregation to use inclusive language.
Effective pastoral counseling will continually be needed in such a large and diverse congregation. Being able to nurture and counsel in the midst of diversity with care and sensitivity is needed in a candidate for the senior pastor position.
First United Methodist Church is a congregation with strong lay leadership. Such leadership develops when it is supported and encouraged by the senior pastor. We expect our senior pastor to provide the kind of collegial style of congregational leadership that has been so vital to us.
We need a senior pastor who is interested in the entire church function and will accept the responsibility of administrating the church finances and directing a complex church staff.
Our stewardship involves proportionate sharing of time, talents and treasures. We need a senior pastor who demonstrates the ability to inspire personal/congregational commitments of service and financial support.
Many of us have grown up in the paradigm of neighborhood, uniform congregations. While we need to continue to expand our congregational activities in support of the life of University Place, we want to formulate new models of our mission to the whole city of Lincoln. We need a senior pastor who can help us continue to do that.
Dr. Robert G. Fuller
We value our connection to Nebraska Wesleyan University and will continue our special programs for college students; e.g. internships and host families. We want a senior pastor who will be able to help us sustain and enhance our relationship to the students, faculty and administration of Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Our proximity to the Conference Headquarters has encouraged a significant involvement of clergy, staff, and laity in Annual, Jurisdictional, and General Conference activities. We accept this involvement willingly and will look to the senior pastor for leadership within and beyond the congregation to fulfill this responsibility.
Chair, Staff Parish Relations Committee
First United Methodist Church, Lincoln, NE