I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth… The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose… For we are God’s servants, working together.

(1 Corinthians 3:6-9)


Looking back on eight years of pastoral ministry at First United Methodist Church, I ask myself, what have we accomplished? As senior pastor, I know that I accomplish very little. It’s you, the congregation, who does the work. In terms of individual and congregational spiritual growth, accomplishment may be hard to measure. However, we can point to several things this congregation has accomplished in eight years. We have continued supporting local missions and added several more, including two additional sister churches in Cuba for three. We adopted our two successive classes of orphans in Zimbabwe through Zoe Empowers. We started Day4Hope which has helped prepare needy children for school for the past eight summers. We greatly improved and expanded our online presence and Zoom capabilities to reach more people. We celebrated 125 years of ministry in downtown Sarasota. We added GriefShare, led by Pastor Woody. Our music program has flourished under Michael’s capable leadership for the past six years, reaching children and teens, as well as adults. Since 2020, we’ve been on an upward trend, adding 46 new members in 2023 and growing our in-person attendance by 17% while keeping our online audience of about 200 each Sunday. We did this and much more in spite of COVID-19, political divisions, and church disaffiliations from the UMC. I can’t wait to hear what God will do with FUMC in the coming years. Blessings!

Dr. Sam