October 2016


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,


The evangelist Luke writes, in the 14
th chapter of his gospel, about a lesson that Jesus taught his disciples on making preparations for the challenging work of following Christ.  Jesus says discipleship is like sitting down to estimate the cost of building a tower.  He also says that it’s like a king who calculates whether or not his army of ten thousand can overcome his opponent’s army of twenty-thousand.  The point is that preparation is a vital component of discerning and following where the Holy Spirit is leading us.    


As fall begins to set in and we prepare for the annual charge conference, this is the time of year when we look back at 2016 while also looking forward to 2017.  Of course, we look back to celebrate and assess what is going well with the church and where we have room for improvement.  On the other hand, we look forward to charting a way forward based on a collective vision for the future trajectory of the church.


Steve Jobs, the founder of the iconic Apple computer company, said that there is no need to be

pushed forward when you have a vision because that vision for the future will pull you forward.  On Saturday, October 15th from 9am to noon, all members of Neoga Grace are invited and encouraged to attend a leadership visioning meeting to prepare for 2017 and beyond.  I will lead Toledo and Etna in this process separately. This will be an opportunity to set goals and priorities that align our unique gifts and graces with our calling to make disciples wherever Jesus calls us. Vision is essential to any church. Unlike the values, mission, and purpose, the vision is more subject to change. It is moldable like clay, not hard like concrete. Over time, the vision must be renewed, adapted, and adjusted to the realities in which the congregation lives.


For the next two weeks, I am asking everyone to prayerfully discern how God is pulling you in to the life of our vibrant faith community at Neoga Grace, Etna, and Toledo.  Specifically, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on these prompting questions:


  • Why do I go to Neoga Grace, Toledo, or Etna United Methodist Church?
  • What first brought me to this church and why does it remain my home church?
  • Where can I serve the church?
  • What are the church’s weaknesses and strengths?
  • Where is God calling this church to be? What is the God-sized vision for this church?
  • What character from the Bible do I identify with when it comes to having a vision for the future?


Mark your calendars for October 15
th and join your brothers and sisters in Christ to dream about the amazing things that God has done already through the church and what God has in planned for us as we live in to the radically life-changing good news of Jesus Christ.  



Pastor Todd


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