A staff retreat like that is a great start to the year. There is much enthusiasm and excitement on everyone's part for what God will do in us and through us in 2017.
We also received some exciting news as a church yesterday that we wanted to share with you. United Methodist blogger Len Wilson released his annual list of the "Top 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches" in the country. You can read the article here: Top 25 Fastest Growing UMC Churches. We celebrate the four churches in the Florida Annual Conference listed in the top 25: #2 Community of Hope in Loxahatchee; #8 Sun City Center; #11 First UMC of Coral Springs; and #16 our neighbor, New Covenant UMC in The Villages. And for the second year in a row, we were listed in the honorable mention section just below the top 25. Len's comment about our church is that based on five year trends he expects us to crack into the top 25 list next year. That is exciting to hear, demonstrating that in the midst of transition we were able to maintain our placement.
Part of the wonderful DNA of our church is a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that makes it feel like a much smaller congregation. But we are a large church. In fact we're the 23rd largest church in the Florida Annual Conference in terms of average worship attendance. And we feel like we are positioned now with the right staff to help us continue reaching out to the community around us in the future, adding more focus to Adult Discipleship, Youth Ministry and Contemporary Worship. I don't have the full numbers from tonight yet, but the winter/spring session of GROW night got off to a wonderful start with classes for children and youth AND 9 classes for adults!!!!
We're 11 days into a brand new year and we're off to a tremendous beginning! Please continue to keep our church and its ministries, staff and leadership in your prayers as we continue to be faithful to hear God's voice and follow God's leading.