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Discernment
Updated: February 15th, 2024

Below are the top comments and expressions from our meetings with Sunday school classes and groups at the end of 2023.
- We want to be welcoming and non-judgmental to outsiders
- We love/appreciate our Pastors/Staff
- We love the community of our church/Loving Community
- Feels like family/home/closeness/small/family in Christ
- Desire to keep similar DNA of Church/connected feel
- Love our class
- We love our Music Ministry
- We Love our Children, Youth Ministries
- We want to grow as a church and in our influence in community
- We value our Wesleyan/Methodist heritage - traditional, conservative theology
- We value support of Local Missions with a personal/church investment
- We appreciate the organization of our ministries/missions/this process
- This is a place of joy and hope – where people are real
- We value accountability and trust
- We like where we are as a church and hope it may continue similarly
- We would like to be connected in some way but take our time.
- We want to know more… about denominational possibilities
- We don’t want to be in this situation again/want a stable connection

Timeline and next steps

  • February – Round 3 discussions with Sunday school classes and groups
  • March – Round 3 discussions with Sunday school classes and groups
  • April/May - Large group gathering to learn about different denominational options
  • June/July - Vote to affiliate or decide to discern further

Resources

Below are videos containing discussions on different Wesleyan/Methodist denominations available. These videos are not necessarily an endorsement of any particular affiliation. Other resources will be added in time.
Previous Updates:
November 13th, 2023

Dear Church Family,

Your Discernment Team has been meeting to steward a process that will lead us in the next steps our church will take. We are writing to give you a clear picture of the coming months ahead as we discern throughout this season. Our hope for this period is to give everyone in our church a voice in its future.

From October 29th through November 26th, members of the Discernment Team and the Pastors will gather with Sunday School classes and other groups of the church to hear from you. Our heart in these gatherings is to discover “who we are” and “when/if” we might desire to affiliate with another network or denomination. The answers to these questions will be vital in our future connection. We will reach out to schedule a time with your class/group.

December will be a time of prayer and discernment. The Team will also host additional “Coffee and Conversations” style gatherings in the Parlor on December 10th & 17th.

Throughout January and February, we will gather again with Sunday School classes and groups. Having heard from you, we’ll be seeking to discover a potential affiliation aligned with our core values. This may include a larger gathering to hear from representatives of other denominations.

Before the end of March, the Discernment Team will recommend to the Administrative Board that the congregation move towards affiliation within a particular network/denomination or to continue the discernment process for another period based on the readiness of our congregation.

Finally, here are some things we’d like to share prior to our gatherings:
1.Your Pastors, Scott & Josh, as well as your staff will all remain with our church.
2.We will recommend to the board that our name be Brandon First Methodist Church.
3.During this transitional period, we will continue to function by our current church governance and doctrine.
4.We are engaging a process by which the whole church will have a voice in its future. If we move towards affiliation, we will take a church-wide vote.

Thank you again for your continued prayers and support! If you would like to reach out to the team, feel free to email discernment@brandonfumc.org.
Church Vote Results

On 9/10 - Brandon First Methodist voted to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church at 85% majority.
Discernment Team: 
Rev. Scott Larsen & Rev. Josh Gray (Pastors), JT Rowell (Lay Leader), Nick Pouncey (Admin. Board Chair), Stephanie Shaw, Mike Howington, Johnny Chapman, Stanley Shows, Josh McKay, Joseph Moss, Johnny Beck, Lacey Hedgepeth, Lauren Alvarez, Charity Wallace