Annual Ministry Report

A Joy to Look Back–Dreaming and Praying as We Look Ahead

Every July at our Annual Meeting, we take time to reflect on and recommit to our vision and mission. We exist to make Decatur, Atlanta and the world look more like the Kingdom of God. We do this by loving God in Worship through Christ, loving one another in Relationship in Christ and loving the world in Service with Christ. In other words, we do not exist for ourselves, but we exist because of Jesus, so that the world would know and experience Jesus in their lives. This is what you are doing through your tithes, your time and your talent. You are All Souls.

And so we believe it is a joy to look back at this past ministry year and reflect on how God has worked in our congregation and how He has used us to impact the world around us for His kingdom and His grace. It is also an exciting time to dream and pray for the plans we believe God has given us for our congregation this upcoming year. In this issue of the All Souls Times you will see the many ways your generosity of tithes, time and talents have impacted our congregation and community.

Financially, we look toward the coming year and plan our budget on faith — faith that God will provide, faith that our ministry partners will grow and faith that God will continue to use us to cultivate His kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. Our budget has changed slightly to align more closely with our vision; budgets were lowered internally in areas that exist to make us comfortable, but increased externally in areas that support our local and world mission partners. This year our budget reflects a 6% increase in offerings from the last fiscal year. If we should receive offerings in excess of that amount, that money would be used to increase giving in the area of Service — one-time community or world mission needs, or new ministry partners.

How does this translate to ministry? Currently, we have 8 Key Community Partners which serve high school and college students; victims of human trafficking; refugees; homeless men, women and children; and those who are underserved in our community. We partner with seven global missionaries in six countries. These missionaries are planting churches, providing medical care, theological training and establishing universities. We have around 100 children in our Sunday school every week and saw 125 children attend VBS this year — from inside and outside the family of All Souls. Each week, we minister to more than 90 youth in our middle school and high school ministry, where they not only play games, but also worship in song, receive Gospel teaching and develop relationships with adults who love Jesus. We have approximately 15 Community Groups that meet throughout the week to study the life of Jesus and serve one another in relationships. We have men’s and women’s groups meet every week to study Scripture and hold annual retreats to further establish the Gospel in our lives. All of these ministries are supported not only with your financial giving, but also by your time and talents as well. Many of you serve in these various areas and ministries. You make them happen. You can reread this paragraph using “I” and “my” in place of “we” and “our” to see just how God has used you to impact Decatur, Atlanta and the world for His Kingdom.

And so we want to ask you: Would you please commit again to the ministry God has been doing through you at All Souls? Would you commit your time, your tithes and your talents? Would you commit your time serving so that the Gospel would transform lives? Would you commit your tithes to provide for the Gospel mission God has given All Souls? Would you commit your talents to join in the Gospel work that God is inviting you into? Would you commit to loving God in worship through Christ, loving one another in relationships in Christ and loving the world in service with Christ?

As the Session and Staff of All Souls, we want to thank you for being a part of the All Souls Family and for your generosity in making the Kingdom of God present in this place. May the peace and mercy of Christ always be evident among us.

Love and grace,
The Session + Staff of All Souls

 

WORSHIP

“When I needed questions answered, the youth leaders always helped. They’re always willing to help–even at 3 in the morning.”

Sarah Saenger (11th Grade)

In 2016-2017,  the youth of All Souls Fellowship soared to new heights in worship and relationships with an influx of new families and leaders.

Our time on Sunday mornings and our small group program were enriched through an added emphasis in worshipping through music and meaningful conversations centered on life and the gospel.

Plus, we really had a great time with friends through social events like movie night and our Christmas Progressive dinner and through trips like Winter Retreat (North Carolina ski trip) and Breakway (youth conference in Hilton Head).

RElationship

“Community group meant a place of belonging, restoration,
provision and fellowship. In growing closer to the wonderful people who made up my community group, I found myself growing closer to Jesus and becoming more equipped to live out my faith in every corner of my life.”
Emmie Lancaster (pictured immed. below left–center)

This past minstry year, the community groups, men’s connection groups, women’s morning and evening studies and fall retreats and socials continued to be strong places to build relationships, to give and receive encouragement, and to create a network of friends and support.

As our nation battled relational strife on so many fronts this year, we joined with Ikon Community church for two forums on race, where we discussed the difficulties and blessings of cross-cultural engagement surrounding the issues of systemic racism, injustice and misunderstanding.

At the Engage Forum in November, Ikon member, Joanna Brown (pictured below left), shared her family’s story and said:   “There is healing that happens when you listen to our experiences and stories, and they are real. They are very real.”

Service

I am sending you this little note from Honduras....thank you for your financial support of my salary. Through this salary and job, my family and I can succeed!”

Angy Amador (Nurse with the McLaughlin’s clinic in Honduras)

LOCAL

This past year, God continued bringing restoration and healing through our ongoing local and global partnerships. Last fall, a team of All Souls members gathered to re-organize and re-boot the local missions team, strengthening existing relationships with partners like FCS (Back Pack Drive and Pride for Parents), Friends of Refugees, DCM (Hagar’s House), Volunteer Decatur! (MLK Project), Our House and Beloved Atlanta.

The re-organized team also started new partnerships with Intervarsity and Young Life. In November, some of our members and families even joined with Young Life to help begin a WyldLife ministry for Renfroe Middle School students.

1 DAY 4 CHANGE

In December, God used the generosity of our congregation, through the One Day for Change Advent Project, to provide $22,000 for urgent, special needs of our local and global partners. These extra gifts helped people like Angy Amador (quoted above), a nurse and friend of the McLaughlins in Honduras.

GLOBAL

Within our Global Missions Ministry, we continued our support to global partners in France, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Thailand and Uganda. Some of these individuals and families are long-time All Souls partners and some were called through the years from our own congregation. Children learned about the lives and ministries of  these friends and partners through Global Missions Sunday (every 5th Sunday) in their Sunday School classes.

The year was also bittersweet as we praised God for providing full support for the Annests (below left)–and then shed more than a few tears as we sent out this family (to Bologna) who we have loved at All Souls for many years.

 

Dreams and Plans for 2017-18

Looking ahead, we are dreaming and planning with “faith — faith that God will provide, faith that our ministry partners will grow and faith that God will continue to use us to cultivate His kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.”

WORSHIP

Will you join us in worshipping a God who is greater than we can ever imagine? We want to continue to provide dynamic Sunday Morning worship that is a welcome space for attenders as well as people in our Decatur who are curious about Jesus. We want to provide Nursery, Sunday School Classes and Vacation Bible School for our children. We want to continue to build the growing Youth minsitry.

RELATIONSHIP

Will you join us in building and strengthening relationships that reflect the Father’s Love? We excitedly build on our current schedule of Community Groups, study groups, socials and retreats–while expanding opportunities for additional people to connect through 8-10 week Beta Groups, launching in the fall. We look forward to providing other helpful relational resources (like the Enneagram Workshop) along the way.

SERVICE

Will you join us in serving our people, our community and our world with grace, speaking out for justice, demonstrating God’s love and helping the vulnerable? We want ot increase our service to each other through making Sunday Mornings a hospitable space, praying for each other, helping to meet physical and emotional needs, and serving meals in times of joy and times of needs.

We also want to increase our support for special needs that our local and global partners have. We are praying that God will use us to help families like the Bowles (pictured to the left) to move and minister in the places where God has called them.

Join us!

 

 

View the 2016-17 Annual Report below.

(Click on the image to open the flipbook to full size.)