Today’s Word from Pastor Jim_

The first surveys of Summer were distributed last week. Lively discussions followed and nearly 100 people turned in their surveys! Thank you for joining the conversation and thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey. The Executive Committee of the Church Council met for two hours on Monday morning to review every single response.

Let me share a few of the common threads:

What brings people to TLC?

By far the most common response revealed is that people first come to TLC because they were invited by family or friends. Others come after attending a memorial service at the church. They arrive at our doors having recently relocated to Whidbey. Some come after experiencing a traumatic life event or the loss of a loved one. People come to TLC longing for a community. They come because they are experiencing a crisis of faith. Many come to worship in person after watching online.

What keeps people at TLC?

The number one answer was consistent: the overall experience of Sunday morning keeps people coming back. That includes worship, our marvelous musicians, the ushers and greeters, the bakers and coffee makers, adult education and Sunday School. People are looking for sermons that focus on Jesus, have a practical application, and stay away from politics. The Sunday morning experience.

What keeps people at TLC?

Hospitality, a gracious non-judgmental welcome, an open communion table, and the personal touch of our staff. Outreach is critical in the mind of our respondents: they support the church because the church is “walking the walk.” The church supports our neighbors right here at home and in the far corners of the world. Also critical for the retention of our members is socialization: potlucks, concerts, coffee hours and small groups. It is clear that people long for the gift of community.

What do you most appreciate about TLC?

The welcoming spirit of this place, the authenticity of our staff, the quality of our music programs, humor, grace, a place for everyone, a safe place to worship and serve. Mine is the church where everybody’s welcome.

A word from your pastor:

I can’t thank you enough for being authentic followers of Jesus. You are the reason TLC is thriving while so many Christian Churches are closing. I thank you for helping us to build a culture of grace, for loving fully and serving humbly, for focusing on Jesus. Jesus taught us how to live and love, Jesus ate with sinners, and welcomed home every prodigal daughter and son. We can change the island my friends. We can change the world and we will. With God all things are possible.

Tomorrow they will come to see us. They will walk in the door on a Sunday morning, broken, afraid, grieving, shamed, longing for community, looking for a safe place, a shelter in the storm.

Together, let us be ready to welcome them and love them, for that is the Gospel of the Lord.

One beggar telling another where to find bread, I am

Your Pastor Jim
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])