Prodigal


For immediate release July 6, 2013

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CHRIS DEMBECK APPOINTED AS NEW CAMPUS PASTOR AT WEST BALTIMORE UMC/INFINITE GRACE PARISH

Mr. Christopher Dembeck. has been appointed as a campus pastor for the West Baltimore United Methodist Church and Infinite Grace United Methodist Church by resident Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. Christopher Dembeck began his duties at West Baltimore July 1. The church is located at 5130 Greenwich in Baltimore, on the city’s historic “40 West” corridor.

Mr. Dembeck, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, was formerly a technical recruiter for various technical and non-technical growing companies within the Baltimore Washington Corridor and assisted them in finding and hiring top IT talent in the region.

Chris has been attending and volunteering at Catonsville United Methodist Church for several years in different roles including: High School Sunday School teacher, Stephen Minister, and Contemporary Worship leader.  Just this year Chris has been confirmed as a Certified Candidate for Ordained Ministry by the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Chris is married to Laura Dembeck, and they have one daughter, Ava and one son, Samuel.  Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a Marketing concentration from Towson University.  He will be starting Seminary full-time in the Fall at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church is comprised of 694 congregations with nearly 200,000 members. It is the home of Methodism in America, with the founding of the denomination at Lovely Lane Chapel in 1784.

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ImagePatrick Clayborn has been a professor at Drew Theological School in 2011. He is ordained as an Itinerant Elder in the Ohio Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Patrick previously served as Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and as a pulpit associate at St. James AME Church in Newark, NJ. Dr. Clayborn is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Academy of Homiletics.

Designing Worship that Connects with the Unchurched: 

How can we make our worship services say “whosoever will let them come”? How do we create an environment that is inviting to those who have little or no connection to church? How do we take our worship to those who have no desire to come to our churches? How can such liturgies be sustained, particularly by churches with few resources? These are the questions that this workshop seeks to address. The aim will be to explore methods for planning, enriching, and maintaining worship services so that seekers find them welcoming.

Preaching and Spirituality: 

This workshop focuses on the essentials of Christian spirituality within the preaching vocation. The history and theology of the connection between spirituality and preaching; how biblical exegesis for preaching impacts and is impacted by spirituality; and ways in which spirituality shapes and is shaped by homiletical style, design, form and diversity are components that will be introduced. These concepts will be explored through various interactive activities.

Finding and Using Music Resources for Contemporary Worship: Dana Scott

Do you often find yourself asking questions like how do I program music for a Contemporary service when I have a fixed budget? How do I build a consistent worship team when I cannot hire professional musicians? How can our evolving electronic world work for my music ministry?

The goal of this workshop is to empower you in your ministry. This session will address the unique challenges of creating a meaningful worship experience as you negotiate questions like those above. With a little creativity and innovation, you can overcome these struggles. Join us, and let’s get started!

 

Dana Scott

Dana Nichole Scott has worked for several years as a Music Minister.  She currently serves as the Accompanist and Praise Band Director for Emmanuel UMC in Laurel. As a pastor’s daughter, Dana was involved in music ministry in church from a young age. She attended two prestigious schools of music and honed her skills.

She teaches piano at the Saint James School in Hagerstown, Maryland and has additional students at Emmanuel UMC. She also enjoys accompanying the All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis, Arundel Vocal Arts Society, and on occasion the Maryland State Boys’ Choir.  Her clientele also includes: St. Agnes School, Landsdown High School, Loyola University, Loyola-Blakefield, Baltimore School of the Arts, Washington National Opera, and the University of Baltimore County. During her spare time, Dana directs productions in the area and finds time to give back to the community.

 

BY KATE THOMAS

Sundays have typically been the day of rest. Truthfully, most Christians today no longer take the day to give back to God. It’s about time we reclaimed this sacred day, not just for God, but in the spirit of Jesus’ teachings – to love unconditionally and spend time with those who are impoverished.  

Sunday is the perfect day to do a churchwide mission day at least once or twice a year for a few reasons:

1. People who attend church are already available.
2. It sets the tone for “church” to take place outside the church walls.
3. It provides connectedness with the entire church community in a way that could never be as widespread as Sunday morning.

How do we make this transition, you ask? It’s really quite simple once you realize your church probably already has the infrastructure to pull off a mission Sunday. You can harness some of the already existing groups (UMM, UMW, youth, Sunday School, small groups, mission team, church council, etc.) to each find a local mission project that church members can attend. Make sure to be specific about how many people you think might participate in each project, timing, directions, and choosing a team leader. Or this might be a time for anyone passionate about mission to shine. Either way, it’s helpful to have a team of people, each coordinating the details for the different projects.

Some other things to keep in mind:

1. Have a signup sheet for each project; two or three Sundays prior will help you predict your numbers.
2. Make sure to accommodate additional church members who will show up without signing up. Have projects that can take additional people or come up with additional projects that can have unlimited numbers.
3. Have a variety of projects for different ages, physical capabilities and interests.
4. Consider a gathering time before going out to serve. This could include a few upbeat songs and a prayer as well as a time for offering. The “sermon” will be your service to God.
5. Following the mission activities, it could be a great time for a church potluck, with some sharing time about the projects.
6. Set up for easy traffic flow at church. Make sure to have a meeting space for each of the projects before touching base for instructions and to carpool, and make sure to have details for those who haven’t signed up. This could be a bunch of tables in the fellowship hall with signs and descriptions as well as a handout at the door with all the projects. The short worship time before serving could take place in the same space.
7. Consider how your church can uniquely serve and Change the World in a meaningful way. Make this project your own.

Kate Thomas is senior productions coordinator for ACDI-VOCA and former graphic designer for the Baltimore Washington Conference

"If your church is not innovating, it is dying."

“Innovation is changing organizational systems to provide service or produce your product more effectively, efficiently or more profitably. When the organization is crystal clear about the new results that are expected, innovation thrives and eventually becomes a part of the DNA of the organization. The organization that constantly improves stretches, takes risks, and finds new ways of delivering excellence welcomes the changes that are involved with innovation.”

This was a journal entry during the time that I was in a class on creativity and organizational development.  I look at many of the mainline churches in America and realize that the concept of constant innovation is not embedded in their DNA.  Many of these congregations are declining and struggling to reach new people, grow disciples and maintain the active fellowship. They run programs and hold events but never address the systems in the church that produced the challenges that they are currently facing.

Designing intentional systems of faith sharing, stewardship, discipleship, and worship design are essential for a church to be relevant and vital in the 21st century.  Churches that are more concerned with having church in a way that appeases the wants and desires of church members rather than intentionally designing systems to reach the prodigal sons and daughters are voting to close their doors.

There are more prodigals outside the church than disciples who are in our churches.