On the Road Again …

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

The Virginia Conference lists 1,002 clergy under appointment full and part time. Together we serve the 1,205 churches throughout the state. On Wednesday, June 27, Virginia Conference clergy and their families will load all their personal belongings into a moving van and travel to their next pastoral appointment. Some will travel to large multi-staff church communities, others to rural congregations; all go in hopes of joining Christ in faithful ministry. Across the Conference 43 of our clergy will try to adjust to being retired and will feel a bit strange when Sunday rolls around and they find out what life is like in the pews … again.

Yearly about one out of every 10 churches of the Virginia Conference will receive a different pastor.

On Sunday, July 1, twelve new pastors to the Arlington District will arrive in the pulpits of their churches prepared to work at making disciples for Jesus Christ. Those churches will swell in attendance as active and inactive members turn out to check out the new pastor or associate pastor.

The Arlington District will receive 12 new pastors, and bid farewell to 12 pastors who served our District in love and fellowship. There are seven incoming senior pastors and five incoming associate pastors. There are three retirements on our District. A new satellite church begins on July 1 called Restoration Loudoun. The District staff welcomes Michelle Holmes Chaney to be part-time Coordinator for Church Development, replacing Melissa Dunlap who will be appointed to Vine UMC as a part-time associate.

On another joyous note: we welcome the reappointment of the Reverend Keith Lee as our associate pastor who is the spiritual leader for our youth, the Education Committee and Young Couples. We are also blessed by the reappointment of Reverend Eileen Gilmer as a Local Pastor appointed to serve Trinity in Outreach Ministry. Eileen received her MA from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in May of 2018. Join with me, Catherine, Eileen, Harriet, Keith, Jerry, Jose, our lay leader: Peggy Fox, and all the Trinity family as together we make disciple for Jesus Christ.

Shalom, Jim



Real-Time Prayer During the Week

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Let’s face it. Most of us feel strapped for time. Every day we must figure out what will be in and what will be out of our schedule. We feel life putting demands on our day and we can’t do it all. Often God gets put on the back burner. When something’s got to go, God will understand, right? It’s not as though we want to put our faith at the bottom of the to-do list, it just works out that way.

Here are some questions you might have about a new way for us to pray at Trinity.

What can I do about trying to fit God-time into my life?

I have an idea for you. It will only take about five minutes out of your day and you can become more actively engaged in prayer, reflection and encouragement. Please join me every weekday morning at around 8:30 for Facebook Live. We have a few minutes of scripture and reflection, followed by prayer. If you are already my friend on Facebook, you’ll be able to see it live. It will also be there if you want to watch it later in the day. If you are following Trinity Church, you can find the video on the church’s Facebook page right after I finish showing it live.

What are the benefits to me?

This is a great opportunity to go to God in prayer on a regular basis. Maybe you are uncomfortable praying. Maybe you have not prayed very often or maybe you’ve never prayed. No matter. The psalmist writes: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3). This scripture tells us that prayer is an opportunity to share with God our thoughts, needs and thanks. It is also a time to give God an open heart that is ready to accept God’s guidance.

Does is take a lot of time?

Not at all! Each one runs about five minutes. We have a little scripture, reflection and prayer. As the psalmist wrote, “I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” If you have a prayer concern, let me know. We would love to lift up your concerns or celebrations.

I hope you’ll join us live on a weekday at 8:30 or watch a recorded version when it fits your schedule. We will lay down our requests before God and wait in expectation!

I’ll see you on the web or in church.


Young Families Help Build Trinity Community

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

We offer up a big shout out to all the volunteers who signed up for being part of NLI teams. From the responses we have so far, a high percentage of NLI participants are parents and leaders in youth and children’s ministry. One of the reasons why I am enthusiastic about children’s ministry is that many parents commit to faithful church participation to encourage their children’s spiritual formation. As a parent I know that it takes a whole church community to raise a child spiritually in the Lord. I offer two points to consider for NLI teams.

Young families appreciate the multi-generational ministry environment at Trinity where different age groups from toddlers to retirees thrive and grow spiritually.

This is a framework for young families to find their place in our community. Some churches are a one generation church which means only one age group (e.g. the elderly or just young adults) congregates. I find that young families want to be in a faith community where they find all age groups in which they experience the energy of children, creativity of youth, passion of young adults, growth of young families, stability of older families, and wisdom and experience of older members. A faith community that strives to be multi-generational is attractive to young families due to diversified characteristics that each age group contributes to the life of the whole. As we are observing now, Trinity is a great multi-generational church and is primed to receive many young families.

I ask that NLI teams understand this vital advantage of Trinity and seek ways to develop and sustain this advantage.

Young families desire relevant and meaningful programs and ministries that teach Christian values, help form significant relationships with one another, and assist in outreach programs to the community.

Trinity offers a full array of programs for children: Sunday School for children, Trinity Trebles, and Vacation Bible School. In addition Children’s Ministry sponsors fun-filled events like Trunk or Treat, Bounceback Sunday, Community Movie Night, Easter Egg Hunt and Advent Workshop. Some of my fondest memories at Trinity come from Children’s Ministry events. Most of these programs and ministries are organized and run by Trinity volunteers. I am very proud and grateful to our lay volunteers and leaders for such outstanding children’s offering of spiritual resources at Trinity.

One new idea that we’re implementing with the help of Trinity Men’s Group is “Casual Sundays.” This idea was suggested by parents because it’s tough to get little ones dressed and ready for church. On Casual Sundays, we have a less formal atmosphere and the Men’s Group holds a picnic. We’ll have one on June 17 to celebrate the end of spring semester. Please invite a neighbor on this Sunday.

For NLI, I recommend tweaking existing programs or developing new ones that encourage families to develop relationships with one another so that a new family who just moved into the area can find not just an array of children’s programs but a faith community that cares for one another.

What Will Your Role Be in Our Next Level Innovation?

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

What’s next for Trinity in NLI, Next Level Innovation? In May, the Staff and Lay Leader will develop a Worship Planning Team (WPT) to make worship more conducive to new visitors. Our target audience will be persons forty and under. The WPT will develop:

  1. A sermon series that is relevant to persons not now attending.
  2. The skill of integrating the theme of the service into the sermon, the music and audio/visuals
  3. The WPT will work to diversify Trinity’s music offerings and engage more laity in the music ministry.
  4. Explore and develop a video live-stream.

A Vision Funding Team (VFT) will be created using a team of persons oriented toward generous giving and who have skills around vision, gratitude and communications. The VFT will develop and deploy both a Stewardship Campaign and Capital Campaign for 2018/2019.

Trinity’s Executive Council will help create a Community Connection Team (CCT) that will develop a plan for improving Trinity’s hospitality. In the fall the CCT will lead our entire church in hospitality training. They will recruit and deploy greeters to all entrances of the church and the parking lot to assist new guests/visitors and those who may need assistance. CCT will develop one or two third-place ministries (soccer fields, gyms, coffee shops, pubs, etc.) which will connect TUMC to younger and more diverse ministries. Finally, the CCT will lead our congregation in a prayer walk around the local neighborhoods and possible third-place sites.

Lastly, our Executive Council will create a Vision Team (VT) which will deploy the volunteer recruiting and membership training programs so that they align with our church’s vision for our future.

We NEED YOU to join the NLI team(s) of your choosing. Speak to our pastors and lay leadership. Tell us where you see your gifts best aligning with the goals of NLI. Together we’ll build a beautiful and bright future for present and future members of Trinity Church and make the ministry of Christ among us known throughout McLean.

Shalom, Jim S.


Care & Compassion at Trinity Church

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

        Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The woman who wrote that quote was a psychiatrist who did ground-breaking work on grief. You’ve probably heard of the five stages of grief she documented: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She did amazing work in the area of helping those who are facing illness and death. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross got it. She did not shy away from the struggle.

Grief is just one of the challenges most of us will face in our lives. There are plenty of others. Some will be easier to get through; some will be more difficult. As Christians, we know from reading the Bible that we are not alone in our struggles. But, sometimes it can be difficult to remember that fact.

There’s another way you are not alone. You have three clergy members who are here for you. We love being a part of your life in all the times you’ll encounter. We invite you to come by the church, meet us after worship or join us for coffee near your home or work. You’ll often find one of us at hospital bedsides, meeting members for lunch or making phone-call check-ins. These personal connections are a vital part of what we do. You are our church family and we take your care seriously.

There will be times when someone might need help finding a mental health counselor. We are blessed to have a wonderful team of counselors who are as close as Trinity House, located on our campus. There is a psychiatrist, multiple psychologists and a social worker. Between them, they cover many areas of expertise and treat all age groups, including children.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jim, Keith or me if you ever need us. We are happy to listen, pray with you, provide support and help however we can. As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, you are the “most beautiful people we have known.”

I’ll see you in church!


NLI for the Next Generation and Summer Camp 2018

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

NLI for The Next Generation

Trinity is full steam ahead with Next Level Innovation (NLI), and I anticipate much change, development and strengthening in various ministries. The question for us is, “How is NLI going to impact our next generation ministries?” The ministries to our children, youth and young adults are vital when we want to grow into the future.

There are four areas of leadership that NLI requires: Vision Team, Vision Fundraising Team, Hospitality-Communication Connection Team & Worship Planning Team, and Discipleship Team. We are recruiting members to participate in these teams, and I am writing this to highlight the need for parents, concerned grandparents, youth and young adults to be involved in the NLI process.

When visions and goals do not line up among different ministries, the church as a whole does not reap all the benefits from the efforts and sacrifices made by leaders and members. There is no synergy but a seemingly inefficient operation of ministries. When there is a clear and relevant focus then each ministry adds to the whole. Everyone involved feels like s/he is part of something greater and more meaningful.

I would love to see concerned parents, youth and young adults be involved in the visioning, fundraising, hospitality and discipling process of NLI. We need your ideas, creativity, work and participation.

Summer Camp 2018

Put yourself in your kids’ shoes. Remember the long school days? And then you hit summer vacation and how excited you got because you didn’t have to go to school for a while? Then imagine your parents telling you that you have to go to Sunday SCHOOL … School again, mom?!##:-(

Hopefully this summer will be little different. I hope to get kids excited, engaged and educated through music, crafts, videos and games for the summer. Spring semester ends on June 17 with a celebration picnic, and summer session begins June 24.

We need musicians, artists, dancers, singers and educators because it’s going to be Summer Camp 2018! Please let me know if you’re interested in joining the summer camp team and allow our teachers to have a well-deserved break to be recharged for Fall 2018.


Next Level Innovation and You

by James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Next Level Innovation (NLI) is an investment in churches that have a recognized potential for reaching more people in their community and inviting them to become disciples of Jesus. Trinity’s NLI weekend in October of 2017 generated four areas that need our attention and focus. Please plan to attend a Town Hall gathering on Sunday, April 15 for an update of our next steps.

Trinity needs to form 4 new leadership teams. Take a look at the ones listed and ask yourself where your spiritual gifts align with a team.

  1. Vision Team – creating a vision for Trinity’s ministries. Design a volunteer recruiting and membership training event so that Trinity’s ministries can align around our church vision. Read Canoeing the Mountains, by Ted Bolinger.
  2. Vision Fundraising Team (VFT) – come together by June ’18. Develop a kick-off sermon series by September. Launch a fall Stewardship Campaign. Plan and execute a Capital Campaign in 2018 or no later than January of 2019.
  3. Hospitality – Communication Connection Team (CCT) – Read : Get Their Name, by Bob Farr & Kay Kotan. Develop a comprehensive plan tor Trinity improving our hospitality. In November of 2018 invite the entire church to participate in a church-wide hospitality training event. CCT with the Staff will create a Worship Planning Team (WPT) to connect Trinity’s worship to the community. WPT will work to diversify music offerings, and to engage more laity in our music ministry.
  4. Discipleship – Staff and lay leadership will form a Discipleship Team (DT) to create a pilot program of small groups that can begin to pursue a deeper spiritual life together. These groups will: study scripture together from Sunday sermons; find community fellowship time together; eat together; pray for each other, Trinity, the world; agree to live like Christ in the world. The DT will develop and implement inter-generational hands-on mission and ministry projects for children, youth and adults.

Join one of the NLI Teams soon. Sign up to receive text messages about NLI updates. The health, vitality and future of Trinity Church is relying on your participation. The more persons involved and active in NLI the more disciples we’ll make for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. For more information talk to any of our pastors, our Lay Leader Peggy Fox, or Chair of the Executive Council John Smith. We’re listening for your response.


Jim Sprouse