Getting Started

Getting Started

Author: Mark Fenstermacher
July 09, 2020

There is a curious mixture of excitement, anxiety, and raggedness when we are about to begin something new. 

Over the last two months or so I have been "stepping into" the life and ministry of Auburn First in small ways (with the knowledge and blessing of your previous outstanding pastor, Pastor Jim Farrer): I've made trips back and forth to meet with the staff, to interview each staff member one-on-one, to meet with the Finance Committee, etc.). On the 28th, I preached here although my official start date was not until July 1st. This week I began moving some things into my church office, and meeting with parishioners for "Meet Mark & One Another" sessions. (If you haven't yet signed up for one of these, please do so! I look forward to getting to know you.)

So here we go. How do you start? You just jump in and go!


Here are some things that may be helpful to know as we get started:

I'll be moving into the parsonage on July 17th. (Thanks to the Trustees for their amazing work on the house!)
I don't have all the answers. Truth is at this point I barely know what questions to ask! What does that mean? We are going to learn together where we are and what God is up to! (I've told the Staff and Staff Parish that I don't have a secret playbook with a plan for the next year or two.)
God is calling Auburn First to be a place where all are welcome, and where people are heard and respected even when we disagree with one another. Paul says we are one body and every part is important.
We have a great church Staff - I'm impressed with them and blessed to be able to work with them.
During our time together over the next year or two, many things will be happening but these will be key:
 - Joyful worship.
 - Identifying places where we are "stuck" and figuring out with ADAPT how to address those "stuck" places and move forward.
 - Healing. Where there is hurt, mistrust and division, we will be inviting the Holy Spirit to help heal us and weave us together as one body in Christ.
 - Development of a vision for ministry, discipleship and outreach for the next chapter in the life of Auburn First.
 - Growing closer to Jesus, going deeper in our relationship with him, and learning what it means to walk the road with him. A healthy congregation is a people who are Jesus-formed, living out the radical love of the Creator for all creation.


That last point is key for us. In Staff this week I read Matthew's account of the call of the disciples in 4:19 (NIV): "They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will you fishers of (people).'"

They must have had all sorts of questions, just as you and I do in the beginning of this new chapter. "Where are we going? How will we get there? What will we do? What role will I be asked to play in this God adventure?"

We have all sorts of questions. But don't let that stop us from picking up and following the Galilean down the road!

I am blessed to be here and look forward to the road ahead.

Grace and peace.
Pastor Mark


First United Methodist Church
1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN 46706 | 260.925.0885