First Impressions

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

This adage has been attributed to both Oscar Wilde and Will Rogers, but no one can cite a source.  The earliest confirmed use of the maxim occurred in a 1966 ad campaign for Botany Suits. Regardless of origin, the proverb recognizes the importance of first impressions.

According to the eccentricities of the United Methodist Church’s appointive process, I officially became the new senior pastor of Northside Church last Thursday, June 22, at 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, I preached my inaugural sermon at the two Traditional Services and the Contemporary Service.

Over the past weeks, I have fretted away many anxious hours, worrying about first chances and impressions. In such self-centered moments, I forgot that it’s not about me—it’s about faithfully serving the church of Jesus Christ in this time and place.

So I began thinking about the first impressions Northside Church has made on me.

  • A vibrant United Methodist congregation in the heart of Atlanta
  • Warm, loving people who profess and practice hospitality
  • Dedicated staff members with an amazing array of gifts and abilities
  • Entering the Sanctuary or Chapel, one steps into the very presence of God
  • Traditional Worship that exemplifies the best of mainline, Methodist worship
  • Contemporary Worship ROCKS—what an amazing worship team
  • NO debt!
  • Mission-minded Christians who know to whom much is given, much is expected
  • 15 acres in the middle of Buckhead
  • A Transition Team that has crafted a graceful process

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Based on my experience, Northside doesn’t need a second opportunity to make an eternal difference.

3 thoughts on “First Impressions

  1. Bill, we are so excited for you. I will never forget that rainy morning we picked you up at the Church and went to Einstein’s for a “hot” breakfast. You impressed us as a man of God with a strong faith and a humorous approach to things around you. Nothing has changed. God Bless.


  2. I love you, Bill Burch. I am thankful to God for blessing you abundantly to do Kingdom work. I am proud of your accomplishments through Him. All all others before them, your new people will LOVE you, too.


  3. Your presence as Senior Pastor at FUMCL was a blessing to all who came to know you,who listened to your sermons, and who were influenced by your spiritual guidance. We loved you. Your new congregation will love you and you already know God loves you even more!!


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