Austell First UMC has set its focus on blessing its community and put its mission statement right on its sign: "Bless Austell."
Believing that putting faith into action is at the very heart of its Christian calling, the church has developed ongoing programs for the community including free aerobics classes Wednesday nights, a free community dinner (Grace Cafe) every Thursday night; and a tuition-free weekday preschool (Feed My Lambs) August - May.
The church is involved in extensive outreach to its neighbor, Austell Primary School, where the church holds teacher appreciation lunches twice a year, volunteers at the school's annual Spring Fling, and will be paying for and laying nearly 100 bales of pinestraw at the school on August 1. In addition, Austell First members volunteer at a local assisted living home, and support the community food pantry and clothes closet.
While Austell First members are focusing outward, the church is also celebrating the work the Lord is doing inside the church. In the first six months of this year compared to the first six months of 2008, worship attendance is up 13 percent and giving is up an amazing 27 percent.
'Internally, our goal is to have our church and its members focus on blessing our community, being the body of Christ, the hands/feet of Christ in the world,' said senior pastor Rev. Brett DeHart. 'Externally, we hope the campaign will signal to the community that we are ready to serve, to be an asset to this community. We hope others will want to join us in the blessing and eventually in the life of the church.'
BLESS Austell Core Values:
• God goes before us
• Generously BLESS others
• Deliver radical love that amazes the world it touches
• We want people to wonder why we are doing this.
• Servant hood
• Reach the world for Christ by serving one person at a time
• Taking light into darkness
• Carrying the heartbeat of Christ into the community
• The Body of Christ, the hands and feet of Christ in the world
• Sharing God’s love in practical ways
• No strings attached
• Leave results to God
• BLESS is not what we do, but it is who we are (lifestyle)
• God gets the credit
• An asset to our community
• Community Transformation
• Bring healing to a hurting world
• Impact our city with the love of Christ
• Move people one step closer to Christ.
For more information about Austell First UMC, visit www.austellfirst.com.