The Sweet Spirit


†††††††† Olive Branch United Methodist Church†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


March, 2013



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Just a thought

5 Change Killers in Your Church by Gabe Kolstad

The very fact that we belong to the church we have to chart the course and make bold steps toward the destiny God has designed for us. The problem is Ö it doesnít always work. Change is a scary proposition for most people, and so itís not always received with the enthusiasm we envision. Iím going to try to clarify why change is so hard for churches, and a few things we can do to make it easier:

1. Unbridled Tradition.

Tradition is greatóitís one of the things all of us look forward to in our lives. Vacation traditions, family traditions, holiday traditions. No matter what your personality, you find comfort and meaning in the few things that donít change in your life. Everybody does.

The problem with tradition in churches is when programs and practices become an end in themselves rather than a means to an end.

If the Great Commission and the Great Commandment are our marching orders, and our goal is to reach and grow people, then our focus has to be on the mission, not on the means.

Question: Are there traditions, programs, silos or sacred cows holding your church back from impact?  If so, are you willing to shift the emphasis to the mission and off of the means?

2. Dysfunctional Structure.

Just like our physical bodies need a structure (skeleton), so our churches need structure. Structures are the people and processes you use and the way you organize them. The best structures for creating positive change are the ones where decisions can be made quickly, trust is built through flowing communication and authority comes with responsibility.

Whenever thereís frustration on your team, itís wise to ask whether the structure is creating problems. Fixing structural problems is one of the quickest ways to gain momentum and raise morale.

Howís your structure?

3. Unresolved Conflict.

Jesus made it clear that unity in the Body of Christ is a non-negotiable. Itís intended to be the hallmark of Christianity in the world. The truth is, teams with unresolved conflict cannot make significant progress until the problems are addressed and the conflicts are dealt with in a healthy way.

4. Lack of Faith.  

Years ago, Rick Warren did a study on the 100 fastest growing churches in America. He was looking for the common characteristics of effective churches. What he discovered is each church was a very unique, with the exception of one quality: great faith.

Both the task and the challenges of church are outrageous, and they require a faith to believe God will prevail.

What are you believing about yourself and your church?

5. Fuzzy Vision.

As my mentor Nelson Searcy says, ďpeople say no to whatís confusing.Ē If the vision for our churches is foggy, the buy-in will be minimal. What people are looking for in life is a purpose, a clear and burning opportunity to connect their lives with something greater and more enduring. And when the church clarifies a clear and compelling vision and asks people to sign on, they do.

Personally, this is the most difficult part of church for me, but itís also where I see the greatest payoffs for the work we put in.

A good vision answers the question, ďWhat will it be like when we get there?Ē

How can you help answer these questions for your team and church? Give it some thought. Ed




Second Sunday Luncheon


Sunday March 10th will be the date for our Second Sunday Luncheon. This has been a tradition in OBUMC for quite a while. Everybody is invited to bring a dish and share it with those staying for lunch.If you donít have time to make a dishóstay anyway.We always have plenty of food! We will start right after services.



Lenten Luncheon


Our church will be the location of a community Lenten Luncheon on March 26th. We will discuss all the factors at the Council meeting. If you would like to help, please join us for the discussion. _________________________________________________________________


Reaching the least of us Ė meeting March 5th 7:00 pm


The Outreach Committee, with the help of members of the church, help the least of our community each month. Currently they collect food from our local Food Lion and from gifts brought to the church to take meals to 11 families in Virginia and North Carolina. These are families that are elderly, out of work and with children. Their homes are not in the greatest condition, in fact, some have not enough room for the family to live together and others use plastic bags to insulate their doors and windows from the cold. It is quite an experience to see the look of gratitude when they receive food that can help supplement their meager government allowances. The delivery is done twice a month and takes about 3-3.5 hours. It is a wonderful time. If you would like to participate contact Bev Noland or Lily Lohr or join us on the 5th of March at 7:00pm for a meeting to discuss how and why we do this important ministry. We are looking for volunteers who would like to assist in the delivery and gathering of the food.


Administrative Council to Meet


Our Administrative Council will meet this month on the 12th at 7:00pm. Remember this is our church and we each have a stake in it. These meetings are open to all church members. If you want to know the status of our church and its programs please join us. Your voice is needed to help us grow. If you have an idea of how we can make OBUMC better, bring your ideas to the council and letís talk about them. We can only be as good as our participation in the way we do things!


Outreach Committee to Meet in March

Outreach Committee will resume their regular meeting on February 12th at 6:00 pm. Lisa DiStefano asks that all members be in attendance as the committee will continue planning for the new year. See Communications at the end of this newsletter and join in!



Rev. Jeffís Bible Study


Rev Jeff is conducting an in depth study of the Bible continuing in Genesis on Thursdays at 7:00pm. For those who arrive early, refreshments (cookies and coffee) will be available.We will be meeting in the fellowship hall at OBUMC. If you think you want to learn more about the Bible join us and grow with us as we look at different interpretations of Godís word. There is a lively discussion each evening and we all come away knowing a little more.It is also a great time of fellowship and an opportunity to get to know each other better.



United Methodist Women to meet


The UMW will meet on Tuesday, the 13th of March for their business meeting which convenes at 2:00 pm. If you would like to help in their different mission programs please join them in the fellowship hall at 2:00 PM.


On Feb 10th the UMW sponsored their "Annual Souper Bowl Luncheon Fundraiser". The soup and chiliís were excellent and a good time was had by all who attended.


The UMW thanks all who took time to join together and those that helped to make this event as success.




United Methodist Men


The United Methodist Men will meet on March 16th at 8:00 am. Breakfast will be provided for all by our own Ray Dyer and B.J. Griggs. There will be a devotional and a meeting after breakfast. All men of the church are invited to join us as we begin our year of reaching out. This past month members went to the house of one of our food recipients. They repaired a door and assessed the other work needed to be done to secure the house from the cold. It was a time the Lord led us to.




Easter at Olive Branch


As continue through Lent, we will come together for the celebration of the risen Christ.†† We will celebrate Psalm Sunday and then Tennebrae;then we will gather for sunrise services as we do each year; the UMM will provide breakfast and then we will once again celebrate our risen Christ during our regular Easter Sunday Worship Service.During these services we need to remember what Jesus did in His life. He was born of a virgin. He taught us how we were to bring his Fatherís word to the entire world. He told us, as Godís son, he would suffer because of our sins. He showed us that we can live a life as he did. He would rise from the dead and tell his disciples what they were to do in the world --- bring the good news to all and love each other as he has loved us. He didnít choose who, he chose ALL.


This Easter Season is an opportunity to renew your life in Christ.Christ died that terrible death on the cross for all people.And, just as he chose to suffer and die for us, we must choose to follow him and believe in him.We must choose to follow his commandments to bring the good news to all and to love one another as he has loved us.Itís hard to believe that today we still believe that we canít be brothers and sisters with those who might not look like us, speak like us, come from a different place than us, or worship like us! Jesus didnít die for only a select few ---- he died for all. Are you truly a Christian who believes in Christ or are you a Christian who believes that only a certain few deserve Christís love? Itís your choice as it was his choice to respond to his Fatherís call positively. Could you do it?!




Sunday School


Sunday School is available each Sunday morning.The importance of Sunday School is that, though you may think hearing the word during the worship service will suffice for you, you really need to be in attendance at Sunday School to gather all the information that you can in an open discussion classroom.Jesusí word cannot be totally understood just by listening to a sermon.You have to interact with it and with other Christians to learn what He was saying to us.This is a life long study and you should take part.Please plan on joining us to learn more about our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Word. The current study is on the Prophets of the Old Testament.Sunday School begins at 10:00 AM











Celebrating birthdays this month:


††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††Jim Noland††††††††††††††† Lisa DiStefano

††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††Maria Kay†††††††††††††††† Gail Rhodes

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leroy Drummond†††† Barbara Floyd

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ed DiStefano††††


Happy birthday from your church family.



This is our newsletter. It is meant to be a way to communicate what your church is doing and what all the organizations are doing both in the congregation and the community. I will be sending this electronically via email.If you know someone who needs a printed copy, they are being made available.


There are many organizations within our church and I hope they would like to have their achievements, plans, and meetings made known to the entire church. It is my hope that they will ask one of their members to drop a short note as to what they doing each month. The line of communication in the church needs to be open and full of what we are doing at Olive Branch to make disciples in our area.


If you would like to send us something, please bring it to church or send me an email ( and we will see that it gets published.Please, letís keep our church informed on what we are doing. See you at church and God bless.