The Methodist Movement in England and in America was a significant movement for Christendom. It was the field (open-air) preaching that got the Word of God out of the churches and to the people as God brought the Great Awakening to the world. With CityFest coming to East Texas and specifically to Tyler’s square this month, I am excited to see what God will do through the collaborative work of more than 400 churches partnering with the Palau ministry team.

What kind of movement for Christ will be birthed through the prayers of more than 2,500 people committed to pray daily for these events? What will be the result of the efforts of more than 2,000 Christian volunteers and the gospel being preached multiple times throughout the festival?

John Wesley, in his journal, speaks of the efforts of the Methodists whose followers were “formed from those who were wandering upon the dark mountains, that belonged to no Christian church, but were awakened by the preaching of the Methodists, who had pursued them through the wilderness of this world to the highways and the hedges, to the markets and the fairs, to the hills and the dales, who set up the standard of the cross in the street lanes of the cities, in the villages, in the barns, and farmer’s kitchens—and all this done in such a way as never had been done before since the Apostolic age.”

Even though field preaching was a burden to Wesley, who enjoyed a soft pew cushion and a handsome pulpit, open-air preaching bore the fruit of saving souls. The Methodists had followed the model of Jesus himself, who when no longer welcome in the synagogue, took his ministry to the streets, the hillsides and throughout the region of Galilee.

During the month of September, we as a church have sought to equip our membership to be invitational, prayerful and generous with spiritual conversation as we prepared for Cityfest and the harvest anticipated within East Texas. As the church anticipates an influx of new believers, we will be offering the Alpha ministry to teach Christian beliefs and practices in a small group setting, along with Life-to-Life, a one-on-one discipleship offering to help form Christ-centered relationships and teach spiritual practices to new followers.

Thank you, Marvin Church, for standing ready to help our new believers grow in their new-found faith in Christ. Thank you also for all the invitations extended to community friends to attend festival events.

During the month of October, we will be embracing our newcomers and also celebrating stewardship. The stewardship series this year will be called First and is designed to help us all remember to put Christ first as we battle the challenge of today’s culture to keep Christ before all things. I look forward to sharing this journey together.

On Sept. 22, we celebrated the five-year ministry of Julie Brown, who faithfully served as our children’s director. She is stepping away from the staff position to spend more time with her family. Her Lovie spirit was a blessing to many as she expanded our Children’s Ministry, led the first family ministry retreat, helped get a new playground for our children and created some wonderful new programs for the kids. Though we will miss her on staff, she and Tom will remain active in the church. Thanks Julie and God bless!

I look forward to seeing you around church on Sundays and throughout the week!