Hey Bert!

Yesterday, Bert was our guest preacher...

No, not that Bert, this one...

Rev. Bert Neal is planting a new church in our district.  The plant that he is working on is what is commonly referred to as a "parachute drop".  These are different from a mother church "birthing" a new church.  When a pastor is "dropped", he or she is appointed to an area with a little financial support.  They spend a few months gathering contacts, forming a launch team, usually beginning some sort of regular meeting schedule, and preparing for a "launch Sunday." 

Bert has been at it since July 1st and is already ahead of the curve.  He's got a solid launch team and is prepared to begin meeting regularly with them for Bible Study and outreach opportunities.  Yesterday, Bert, his wife Denise, and several of his launch team members came to worship with us.  Bert brought the sermon and it was a powerful one that obviously came from the heart and touched several people.

Mt. Bethel has been growing, not just in numbers, but in spiritual maturity.  We have begun to reclaim our identity as a church that reaches out to the world.  In a time that so many churches seem to compete with each other for prominence, bringing Bert and his people is an effort to partner with another church to reach even more people for Christ. 

We don't have a ton to offer a new church start.  We couldn't make a $20,000 commitment to Bert, but we could do two things:  we could pray, which we did, and we could bring more awareness to the area of this new ministry and more exposure for Bert to the community.  Some folks did make financial commitments and every little bit helps.

Bert has given this new church a name: Sacred Praise United Methodist Church.  It will be in Lovejoy, Georgia (if you're close by, give it a try) and they're planning to launch sometime in March of 2011. 

Bert anticipates having close to 200 people committed to God's vision for this new church on his launch day, which will be more than we have at Mt. Bethel altogether.  It's exciting to know that such great efforts are being made to expand the Kingdom of God and I'm elated that I, and Mt. Bethel, can be a part of it all.

You can support Bert and Sacred Praise UMC too.  "Like" them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sacredpraise) and get connected. 

Meanwhile, our North Georgia Annual Conference is working intentionally to birth new Christian communities every year.  For more information on what they've got going on, read on HERE.

Other friends of mine that are planting churches (support them too):
Stephen Walters - Connection Church (Suwannee, GA)
David Walters - The Vine (Braselton, GA)
Carter McInnis - The Way (Lawrenceville, GA)
Ken Hagler - Crossroads UMC (Acworth, GA)
Kenny Ott - Fellowship Church (Dallas, GA)
Andy Postell - The Well (Cartersville, GA)
Olu Brown - Impact Church (Atlanta, GA)
Kyle Smith - Life Springs UMC (Zebulon, GA)