This is third in a series of stories from growing congregations around the North Georgia Conference.
By Ansley Brackin
Due West UMC in Marietta is one of the fastest growing churches in the Atlanta-Marietta District. The congregation has spent the last few years converting their services to sound “a little less metal and a little more Mumford” in order to attract the young families who have been steadily moving into the area. With them has come an increase in professions of faith for all ages, and greater community participation.
When the economy began to struggle more than a decade ago, Due West UMC slowly watched its local demographic change as fewer and fewer young people found themselves able to afford living in the area; however, the church has greeted the recent housing market improvements with open arms as these young families begin to return to Marietta.
The church is regularly hosting cookouts, festivals, and kids' camps through their Young Families Ministry. These events happen both on site as well as at local restaurants. Due West provides these opportunities as a sign of support for the local residents.
“Loneliness is very much one of the things that people are trying to overcome,” Rev. Tom Davis explains. “They want community when they come to church.”
Children are highly valued at Due West UMC. They are welcome to attend Sunday services. They are also the highest age group in the congregation who announce professions of faith and wish to be baptized. Often, the parents and even the grandparents follow suit.
Davis says outreach is important to the church and that something the church acknowledges is that “not everyone who is broken is broke.” The church gives aid the homeless and hungry, and they also strive to provide support groups for those whose needs may be less obvious. Support groups are available for those struggling with depression and suicide. The church is also a host for weekly AA meetings.
Davis hopes to expand the variety of small groups in the future. He wants to make them more welcoming to newcomer, as a way to sort of “try out church” before committing every Sunday morning.
Due West UMC members credit the growth to acknowledging the needs and population of the community. Not every church is located in a neighborhood of young families, but every church has the ability to respond to the specific needs of those surrounding them.
Due West UMC’s Young Families Ministry will be hosting a Spring Fling on Saturday, April 15, from 11am-1pm. Everyone is welcome!