Good News: Reflecting on the Goodness of God at McFarlin
from Pastor Rockford, Pastor Wendi and Pastor Trey
Easter was a captivating celebration of the Good News of saving faith, hope, and love made known in the gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Good news of course translates the word “gospel” and McFarlin was alive with the grand good news of Easter once again! The church was full, worship vibrant, and much love was shared among families, friends, and new friends.
Now, you may hear or have heard reports in the news about how other United Methodist Churches are spending time, energy, and money on denominational disagreements, even including disaffiliation by some. You may also hear efforts to disparage the UMC by the distribution of selected snippets of extreme information.
However, the elected lay leadership of McFarlin, along with the pastors, has made it clear that, remaining true to the guidance of the Spirit of Jesus, we remain focused on sharing the Good News of God’s love in Christ.
Good news in Worship
In Fenn Hall you may have noticed that the large glass sliders are often open. Why? We need more room because of the tremendous growth we’ve seen in Modern Worship on Sunday mornings.
In the first four months of 2023 we have seen a 58% increase in on-site worship attendance, going from an average of 106 in 2022 to averaging 168 people. On top of that good news, we’ve also seen a slight uptick in online worship. Praise God that we are worshiping over 250 people every Sunday!
We are also seeing many guests and new members in Sanctuary worship. Our year-to-date in-person attendance is greater than last year, and our online worship is steady and reaches new people. This kind of stability and growth in worship is thanks to the moving of the Holy Spirit, the hard work of all in our worship leadership, and the faithfulness of our congregation.
Good News in Missions
McFarlin is also bringing tangible good news through Missions. If one word could describe missions in 2023, it might be “building.” During Spring Break, we had over 100 people travel to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas where we built ramps, decks, and important relationships through VBS at a local church.
Here in South Norman our United Methodist Men have just completed building the walls of our second Habitat for Humanity House, and right here at 419 S University we are seeing daily progress in the building of our Missions Center. Those who engage in such missions are being built up in faith and love even as they build good news into the lives of families and communities.
Good News for Families
Still, there is plenty of bad news in our world, news that breaks our hearts, especially the various challenges facing children and families raising children. That is why we feel a deep joy and hold strong convictions about all the ways McFarlin engages to make a difference.
We are focused on efforts to teach the good news story of Jesus to our children in Sunday School, children’s worship, special events, and when Katie, Zach, and our whole team welcomes a host of kids for Vacation Bible School this summer. After packing out the church for our annual Easter Egg Hunt, we’re confident that Vacation Bible School is going to be the place for kids in Norman starting on June 19th.
This year’s VBS theme, Stellar, invites kids to discover how they can shine Jesus’ love and hope in everyday life! Kids will participate in memorable Bible-learning activities, sing catchy songs, play teamwork-building games, and experience one-of-a-kind Bible Adventures, all helping them learn about the Good News of Jesus’ light.
Good News in Care
One place this good news is most urgently needed and generously shared is through our Care ministries, and we celebrate that there has been an outpouring of interest and engagement from people like you wanting to be part of our bereavement ministry, providing love and meals when one of us loses a loved one. It is good news that, in our times of grief, we have people here at McFarlin willing to step-up to share in faith, fellowship, and food.
While we were not there on that very first Easter morning, and did not witness the empty tomb, every Sunday at McFarlin is an experience of and witness to the risen Christ. While any bad news we see or hear might challenge and grieve us, our vital and effective ministries are evidence of the Spirit of Jesus alive with us, empowering us, and leading us, all of us, together, to bear witness to the Good News of God’s saving and liberating love in Jesus Christ, now and far into the future.
To quote a song from children’s church camp, “that’s wonderful, extra Good News!”