A New Chapter: Back to the Past on Our Way to the Future
On July 1st, we officially became Buncombe Street Methodist Church for the second time in our history. In addition, I officially started as your senior pastor. I couldn’t be more excited. When I felt the call to ministry, I never imagined I might get to pastor the very church where I was baptized. We are going to be journeying into an entirely new chapter with so many opportunities. This church has such a wonderful history, but just as importantly, a wonderful future. I am certain we are going to do great things, in and through Gods leading, and I am so honored for the opportunity to serve you.
As we head into this new season, I want you to see the historical picture on this page. Do you recognize the building? This picture hangs in our Archives Room and is where it all began. In 1834, folks gathered in this building and began the first Methodist congregation in Greenville, on the corner of Church and Coffee Streets. It would eventually become Buncombe Street Methodist Church. I want you to keep this image in your mind as we move forward. Looking at how far we have come, just imagine where we can go from here!
One of my priorities as your senior pastor is to provide clear and consistent communication about what we are doing and where we are headed. I want to let you know some of the things on which we have immediately begun to work. These are also some of the things I am going to ask you to pray for over the course of the next few months. Prayer is going to be crucial to everything we do.
#1 – Vision and Discernment Team – Through our Nominations Committee, we formed a group of 9 people, all ages, giftedness, and backgrounds who are working together to give us clear direction about things such as future denominational affiliations, programming, church objectives, and goals. We hope to accomplish this work by Jan 1, 2024 in order to give us a clear direction about our vision and values.
#2 – Financials – The Finance committee will soon be sending out an update on the financials of the church. This update will include where we are in revenue vs. expenses, how we plan to move forward in paying off our disaffiliation loan, and any information you may need to make giving as simple and easy as possible.
#3 – Children and Youth Directors – We have a subcommittee from the Staff-Parish-Relations-Committee that is working through job descriptions for the Director of Children’s Ministry and Director of Youth Ministry positions. We hope to begin the hiring process as soon as possible for those two positions. In the meantime, we are so thankful to our youth and children’s boards who are keeping our programs going, and for the patience of parents. Our children and youth are critical to us, which is why we put these two hires at the top of our priority list. Included in these discussions is the need for a strong confirmation program for the fall. A team of parents, staff, and laity is creating a plan for confirmation. The goal is to have a confirmation program up and running for 2023 school year.
#4 – Fall Worship Service Times – In response to a reduction in our number of clergy, and also in an attempt to combine overall resources, we adjusted our worship schedule for the summer. Understanding worship times are important to everyone, Church Council appointed a team of people, made up of our pastors, music directors, and leaders of both traditional and contemporary services to advise the senior pastor on how to move forward in the fall.
#5 – Preaching – We are starting a three-week sermon series entitled, “Pray. Serve. Give.” We will be talking about what you can do to help as we get started building the best church ever. If you want to make a difference in the present and future of Buncombe Street Methodist Church, you don’t want to miss this series! We also have already begun planning our upcoming sermon series’ for the fall of 2023.
Lastly, if there is one thing I pray God uses me to do while serving this church, it is to help equip and empower His people (Ephesians 4:11-12). This is ultimately God’s church, but he has called you to help lead it. My goal is to serve alongside the congregation and staff to make certain we are utilizing their gifts and talents fully. Your gifts and talents are why you are here. So, get ready to use them as God calls you to engage.
I am humbled and so very grateful for this opportunity.
Rev. Dr. Justin Gilreath
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. – Psalm 90:17