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Dear Church Family, Last week I attended a meeting of the Senior Pastor Gathering-pastors of large membership churches in the Tennessee Conference. Every pastor there bemoaned the huge drop in worship attendance that hits virtually every Middle Tennessee church this time of the year, primarily due to football, along with fall breaks at area schools. Our congregation is not immune from this fall decline. Depending on the weekend, BUMC takes a 10-30% hit in worship attendance during the football and fall break season, especially at our 11:00 service. Regardless of this state-wide decrease in fall attendance, I'm deeply grateful for the many people in our congregation (over 2,000 last weekend) who faithfully gather every week to worship God at BUMC. This fall we are engaged in an important worship and group-life initiative called "Real Life Ahead: Fully Alive in Christ." In short, "Real Life Ahead" is an emphasis on growing deeper in Christian discipleship. For example, last weekend we focused on deepening our prayer life. The congregation was given an opportunity to fill out a prayer commitment card, listing ways they would enrich their relationship with God through prayer. Large numbers of people responded. If you were out last weekend, and would like to participate in this prayer card commitment, please click here. Our current "Real Life Ahead" initiative is important because American Christians desperately need to grow in their discipleship. A major study was recently taken among church-going Protestants in America. The

survey revealed that only 48% of church attendees pray daily, and only 19% read the Bible daily. In our recent online survey (thanks to the 713 of you who participated!), we discovered that our congregation does better than the national average in these important spiritual practices. However, we can always grow in our spiritual depth and maturity. So my hope and prayer is that during this fall season, many of us at BUMC, me included, will be inspired to grow deeper in our relationship with God-because only that holds the possibility to "Real Life Ahead!" Finally, it was good to welcome Bill, Melissa, Rowan, Grace, Annaliese and Gabriel Fritz as new members. Welcome to our church family. In Christ's Love and Service,


Martin's e-Note Oct 2 Issue