By Ansley Brackin
NGUMC Communications Specialist
A little change can go a long way; a hundred days of little changes can make a difference. When Rev. Steve Thomas arrived at John Wesley UMC of Norcross in June, he began to consider affordable ways to freshen up the church. The 100 Days, 100 Things challenge began on August 1st.
The goal of the next couple of months is to find small, simple ways to improve the look and feel of the church, and also provide current members with a feeling of church ownership. Every Sunday morning Thomas announces the weekly projects during service and encourages members to sign up to contribute or stay after service to pitch in.
Here are some improvements that John Wesley UMC has been making that churches of all sizes can tackle to make their building more appealing to visitors:
Declutter: The first morning of 100 Days, 100 Things started successfully as several women offered to clean up the clutter around the building. Their efforts resulted, not only in more space, but finding a total of six coffee pots, enough machinery, Thomas says, to provide coffee to double their current congregation size.
Beauty in the Details: Many churches can easily lose track of pens and envelopes for the offering. Recently John Wesley UMC cleaned up the look of their envelopes and replenished each pew with them, along with pens.
Polish and Shine: The church family shined up the metal pieces of each door. It sounds like a small task but with bathroom and classroom push pads constantly being touched and smudged, the metal quickly becomes dirty and worn looking. They also took time to wash all of the windows.
Restore the Broken: Another easy fix! Most people know how to replace light bulbs and batteries. The church placed this task high on their list. They were surprised to realize that many rooms had dead clocks and dim lighting.
Good First Impression: The entrance of John Wesley has been given a fresh look both inside and out. By moving furniture and adding artwork, the inside looks more open and welcoming; and newly planted flowers greet worshipers as they approach the church doors.
Easy Outside Maintenance: Thomas made a goal to more frequently update the church welcome sign. The youth are responsible for picking up trash around the church property. “Our church is in a great location but the building is hidden from the road," said Thomas, explaining the importance of making the church ground look inviting,
Thomas is already seeing a vibrant, positive change within the church, both in the building and the congregants. Members hold more pride and care for their church home. The pastor hopes their enthusiasm allows their efforts to “snowball into bigger projects”, like a welcome banner for the outside.
“A little extra makes the ordinary extraordinary,” says Thomas, who believes the tasks they’re completing are perfect for any church looking to revive their physical appearance, because, unlike many big changes, churches don’t need permission to complete them.
“I’d encourage any church to do the little things,” Thomas adds, who hopes to host a big celebration at the end of their 100 Days, 100 Things project in November.