The Pensacola District of The United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Here for You - Serving Jesus
A Word from Our District Superintendent

December 7, 2014
What a joy it was to be together as we gathered Tuesday night at the Soundside Campus of Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church for the District Christmas party!  I want to express my deepest appreciation to Dr. Lester Spencer, senior minister of Gulf Breeze UMC, to Reverend Scott Veroneau, the Soundside Campus pastor, and to the staff and volunteers of the Soundside Campus for their hospitality. It was truly a great evening.  Additionally, Abigail and I are grateful for each of you and thank you for your gift to us during this holiday season.  As has been our custom, we will use the funds to help make someone else's Christmas a bit brighter during these days of celebration. 


I had the privilege of preaching this weekend at the Lillian United Methodist Church as we continue in the Advent season.  The church focuses on the work, message, and ministry of John the Baptist in the 2nd and 3rd week of Advent, as one who called us to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.  Preparation is an often-overlooked, but absolutely critical aspect of life.  Whether it is planning for family events, church programming, or strategically thinking ahead, much of our time as leaders should be geared toward preparation and planning.  Ironically, I have found that we do not give enough "lead time" to allow for others to be able to follow us.


Here's a common way this unfolds in practice:  Most churches give two weeks' "lead time" in announcing events that will take place in the church.  If 40% of your congregation attends on a given Sunday, then 60% of your people have not heard what is planned to take place.  The next week another 40% will attend, with half of these persons having attended the week before and half attending for the first time.  Then, the event occurs the following week.  What results is of significance:  20% percent of your congregants heard about the event both times it was announced, 40% heard it once, and 40% did not hear it at all!  In other words, potentially 40% of your congregation will be surprised.  And when people are surprised, they are more prone to react in a negative way, with statements such as "I didn't know we were going to do this...." I would rather us overcommunicate in order to avoid surprises. 


The other side of the coin is not allowing for enough time to respond.  Because it does take a substantial amount of time for people to hear, filter the information, and decide to follow, what we are trying to communicate must be given ample time to seep into the life of the church.  More often than not, while leaders know the message and are intent on moving, the frustration leaders experience comes at the very point that the congregation is just starting to understand the message.  This has been voiced to me by Staff-Parish Relations Committees on various occasions, who lament an inability on the part of some pastors to stay focused, rather than seeming to always be changing things.  It appears that constancy, order, and consistency are desired in many of our churches, so as to create an environment where persons know what to expect, thus reducing anxiety and uncertainty in the life of the congregation.


I know this is a busy season of preparation and my prayer is that all of your work over these next couple of weeks will prove fruitful and will be the best Christmas yet for your congregation. Thank you for all that you do! 


As we move toward the end of the year, please note that the District Office will close on next Wednesday, December 17th, at noon.  The office will reopen on Friday, January 2nd.  Mary and I will both be checking email periodically during the break should an emergency arise. 


This week, I will be in the office wrapping up administrative matters related to charge conferences and beginning initial work on the upcoming consultation season, as well as preparing for a Cabinet meeting next week.  On Wednesday, I will be in Montgomery, participating in the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation quarterly meeting.  I will be returning to Montgomery on Friday for the Cabinet Christmas Party.  Please feel free to email or call should you have need of me.  Take care and have a great week!


Blessings and peace,
Jeremy Pridgeon
Pensacola District Superintendent

Coming January 30-February 1, 2015!


Meltdown 2015

Meltdown 2015 will be January 30 - February 1, 2015, at the Boardwalk Beach Resort on the beautiful Panama City Beach.  Meltdown is an annual youth conference that brings together students from all over Northwest Florida and South Alabama for a weekend that will draw them closer to God and to each other.  Organized by a team of youth pastors and church workers, Meltdown's mission is to empower youth groups and their churches by offering a dynamic, inspiring and challenging worship experience brought through an awesome worship team, speaker, and through a variety of breakout sessions.  This year our speaker is Andy Cartee and worship will be led by the Ben Nelson Band.   
Meltdown is designed for youth grades 6-12 and their adult leaders.  The cost is $125 if registered before Christmas, and $135 if registered after Christmas. For more information and to register visit

Meltdown is sponsored by local churches in the Northwest Florida/Southwest Alabama area. Meltdown is a non-profit event led by volunteers who have a heart for Youth Ministry.

About the Pensacola District
The Pensacola District is one of eight districts comprising the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church. True to biblical mandate and denominational priority, we are committed to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ; discipling residents, tourists, and snowbirds alike; establishing new congregations; and nurturing existing ones.

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