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Moving Forward,
Beyond Ourselves

Spring Hill Methodist Episcopal Church began in 1858 under the guidance of Elder LB Dennis. In 1911, dedicated members sacrificed to complete the current building. In 1968, denominations merged and Spring Hill United Methodist Church came into being. At 165 years of age, we remember and celebrate those who contributed their time, talents and resources to create the place we now call our church home.

 

2023 finds us in a difficult financial position. Reserve funding will allow for 3 to 5 years of support. Without intervention, including but not limited to moving to a 1/4 time pastor, the church will no longer be able to meet its financial obligations and accomplish ministry in Spring Hill.

 

In all likelihood, within the same 3 to 5 year timeframe, Church of the Resurrection will open a new location in South Johnson County. When this happens, Spring Hill UMC will no longer be the only theologically progressive option in the Spring Hill area and will struggle even more to attract new members - especially young families who are looking for the worship, programs, and other ministries Resurrection offers.

The Church Council discussed this reality in no uncertain terms beginning in January. As a response, members of the Church Council asked to initiate a conversation with Resurrection about the process of becoming a new Resurrection location.

 

The Council gathered information about joining Resurrection in its mission and ministry in South Johnson County and officially voted to share this information with the congregation. Through a process of prayer and discernment, the Council hopes the congregation will be informed about the potential for being a church that lives beyond our current membership, offering future generations what the founders of Spring Hill Methodist Episcopal Church offered each of us...a place to belong and find Christ alive.

South Johnson County

South Johnson County is one of the fastest growing areas in the Kansas City region. Resurrection has planned to start a location in South Johnson County for decades, acknowledging the mission field the demographics indicate.

  • 12% expected growth from 2023-2033. (77,605 – 87,366)

  • 13% growth in households expected between 2023 and 2033 (25,875 – 29,118)

  • 9.9% of current residents express UMC affiliation

  • 60.7% of residents are not involved in any congregation

 

Resurrection already has a presence in South Johnson County.

 

  • 1,047 active congregants & 2,900 inactive congregants

  • The active congregants (ACs) include 537 visitors, 420 members, 49 former members and 40 categorized as “other.”

  • ACs worship at Leawood (740), West (125), online (94), Overland Park (37), Blue Springs (7), Brookside (2),

       with 20 not indicating a primary location

  • ACs represent 468 households

  • 190 households give $306,000 annually

  • 75 individuals have indicated an interest in helping Resurrection launch a location in South Johnson County

 

Resurrection is one church in six locations. Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor and a denominational leader, as well as author of over 30 books. He is a graduate of Blue Valley High, Oral Roberts University and Perkins School of Theology.

 

Resurrection was named “The Best Place of Worship” in the Kanas City Magazine’s 2023 “Best Of” issue.

What are our Options?

In the time I’ve been your pastor, I have grown to love and appreciate the heritage of Spring Hill United Methodist Church. The stories I have heard of past turkey dinners, bazaars, a full sanctuary and community engagement show a passion and dedication to your church home. We have much to offer the world.

 

Without receiving ongoing significantly increased donations, we all too soon will not be able to pay our bills. Even with an influx of donations, our aging congregation cannot be sustained long-term. Closing our doors in the near future is a very real possibility. This breaks my heart, and I will do everything possible to ensure a different future, not only for you, but also for the people who don’t have a church home in South Johnson County.

 

While we may lament what we wish were true, it’s time to determine what God can do with our reality. We could choose to move forward as we are, knowing closure is a possibility. Is God ready for us to close our doors? Or, we could vote to close Spring Hill UMC and play a role in starting a new congregation in cooperation with Resurrection. Can we accept this level of change for the sake of a longer-term future? Most small churches in our position don’t have any option but to close their doors permanently.

 

If we view Resurrection only as our financial savior, we should cease any future discussions on the matter. If we sense that God is calling us to partner with Resurrection so that God’s mission to offer non-religious and nominally-religious people -- those without a current church home -- a place where they can experience the radical grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, I’m all in, and I hope you are, too.

 

The decision to become a Resurrection location is not one we make primarily for ourselves. Honestly, this is probably not our first choice. Through God’s grace, we have the opportunity to look beyond ourselves toward a future where Spring Hill United Methodist Church’s

legacy continues far into the future.

 

-- Pastor Angie

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Next Steps

  • A discernment process will be introduced the first Sunday in October. The congregation will be invited to pray about how God is leading us into the future.

  • A small study, prayer, and discussion group will meet for three weeks in late October and early November. This group will be open to everyone.

  • Focus groups will give the church an opportunity to discuss openly and honestly the feelings associated with our future.

  • Resurrection leaders will join us for an all-church gathering in November. This will be a time of visioning, asking questions and receiving answers.

  • Gatherings and formal conversations will cease during the month of December, the season of Advent.

  • If we feel God leading us in this direction, a Church Conference would be held in the spring of 2024 where all church members could vote regarding the closure of Spring Hill United Methodist Church for the purpose of being involved in starting a new Resurrection location.

  • Alternatively, the discernment process might reveal a new option or may lead us to conclude that closing the church in 3-5 years is preferable.
     

The details of the new location are largely unknown, but based on the five locations Resurrection has started since 2006, we can imagine being involved in a planning phase led by a full-time Location Pastor and full-time Director of Operations. Additional staff may include a part-time Children’s Program Director, a part-time musician, and a part-time Worship Experience Specialist. The new location would likely open with two worship services on Sunday mornings, both unique in worship style.

 

In a sense, the opportunity to be involved in a new Resurrection location would be a way for the vision of those who started Spring Hill UMC, built the current sanctuary, and purchased the land on Webster to become a reality.

FAQ's

The following questions have been asked by the Church Council and will be addressed at community gatherings throughout the months of October and November.

 

  • Why are we talking about this?

  • Will the congregation vote on how to proceed?

  • Why do we have to vote to close?

  • What happens if we don’t move forward with this option?

  • Could Resurrection discern that they do not want to join with us in ministry?

  • Will the Bishop agree with what we discern?

  • Who will be the Resurrection Location Pastor?

  • Who would preach?

  • If we vote yes, what happens between the time the church closes and reopens?

  • Would we continue to worship in our current space?

  • Would the building be torn down?

  • Would the worship style change?

  • Would the culture of the church change?

  • Would we become a mega-church?

  • Would Resurrection listen to our congregation’s wishes?

  • Would we have representation in the governance structure of Resurrection?

  • Why would Resurrection move south when Spring Hill is already here?

  • Can’t we look for other revenue streams to help our budget?

  • Who does our property belong to?

  • How would Spring Hill UMC’s legacy be memorialized?

  • We’re growing as a church. Won’t that continue?

  • How do we know the church will grow once it is a Resurrection location?

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