Awards Breakfast Honors Churches of All Sizes

Date Posted: 6/13/2016

The 2016 awards breakfast was a celebration of increased professions of faith. Read insight from one of the winners about growing vital congregations.
Assessments, progress reports and charts have their place in the world, but in ministry it is more fulfilling to measure what matters for eternity. It has been said that what matters gets measured and what gets rewarded gets repeated. Special congratulations go to the pastors who have won in previous years at different churches.
Congratulations to this year’s Copeland Award winners

  • Churches with average weekly worship under 100
First United Methodist Church, Centerville - Rev. Joy Richards (accepted by DS Rev. Wanda Bess)
  • Churches with average weekly worship between 101 and 200
St. Mary’s United Methodist Church, Houston - Rev. Keith Bell

Churches with average weekly worship between 201 and 300
Grace United Methodist Church, Palestine - Rev Philip Chamberlin

  • Churches with average weekly worship between 301 and 500
Williams Memorial United Methodist Church, Texarkana - Dr. Brad Morgan

  • Churches with average weekly worship between 501 and 1000   
The Harvest United Methodist Church, Missouri City   - Dr. Jeff McDowell

  • Churches with average weekly worship between 1001 and 2000 
The Foundry United Methodist Church, Houston  -Dr. Godfrey Hubert

  • Churches with average weekly worship over 2000
The Woodlands United Methodist Church, The Woodlands - Dr. Edmund Robb III (Accepted by Rev. Jon Nelson)
Rev. Phil Chamberlin shares the growth story he has experienced at Grace Church Palestine, a congregation that’s grown from 35 to 370 in five years.  Grace’s growth story began with a relocation and unique partnership purchase of a former country club. “We reopened the church in the club space while the ISD operates the golf course,” shares Phil. “A big part of our growth is a reliance upon God to guide us in our decision-making, a greater openness to the Holy Spirit in worship and realigning our church’s organization structure to the core values of our church based upon God’s Word. We are very intentional about going through a process of turning attenders into partners, partners into inviters of guests, guests into disciples, and disciples into servants, and servants into partners through our Steps 101, 201, 301 and Join Week-Ends every single month.” Baptisms, once a quarter, are exciting and symbolic for the whole church.
Leaders take the ebb and flow of attendance in stride.  “We have learned to capitalize on the natural high tides of attendance in church life effectively through worship/sermon planning, outreach events and activities -- and not sweat the low tides,” shares Phil, excited to share the phenomenal results. “Hundreds have come into the Kingdom of God because of Grace’s impact in the community. We now have small groups on every night of the week and new ones are starting up all the time.”
Lessons Learned:
1. Being a pastor can be very isolating so reach out to people as friends and don’t be afraid to get hurt.
2. The people who start out with you may not be the people who finish with you. Growth and growing pains go together, but you have to do what God has called you to do.
3. Sometimes, the greatest blessings show up in the strangest, most offbeat ways.  For instance, Phil shares, “One of the women at Grace was in an amateur roller derby league. We were joking one day on Facebook that she should start a roller derby small group for women and that she did.  It now has 30 women, all between 25-40 who have roller derby practice and then study about who they are in Christ. Who would have thought that was possible? I think we have the only church roller derby team in America; it’s called the Dogwood Holy Rollers.”
4. Laugh a lot…because God’s got this. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be real to people, not fake. But take the Gospel very seriously.
5. There are weeks when you just need to start out the day with your face on the carpet and gospel music blasting: getting before God and declaring your dependence upon the ONE who is able to sustain you. Let Him love you.
6. Look at your church with a beginner’s eye like this is the first time you’re here. That will tell you a lot about what you need to change.
7. Don’t be afraid to blow stuff up and start over. Change is constant. The message is what is consistent.
8. Don’t get too caught up in moving and appointments. Just focus on what you do where you are.  You can’t have one eye on where you are and one on where you want to be.
Radical Hospitality Chairman Rev. Jack Womack is always thrilled to make these special announcements. “We also thank the Methodist Retirement Communities for sponsoring this event, and congratulate them for unveiling The Crossings, their newest senior living community in April,” adds Jack.