Inspiring Ideas: How United Methodists Are Being The Church in Their Communities
We have been encouraged and inspired by the creative ministry ideas of churches across the North Georgia Conference. From virtual dinners, to yard signs, to community outreach—your ministries go far beyond a new Sunday morning livestream.
Here are just a few of the great stories we’ve heard over the last few weeks.
Virtual Wednesday Night Dinner
St Andrew UMC in Marietta is doing a virtual Wednesday Night Dinner.
Rev. Beth Clark shares:
“Who says we gotta let go of Wednesday night dinners?! St. Andrew UMC of Marietta has started virtual Wednesday night dinners as a way to keep our people connected! Each Wednesday night individuals, families, couples, and community members are pairing up and “sharing” a meal virtually through their platform of choice
— FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or an old fashioned phone call. The church is providing a suggested scripture and asking people to read it together, share a prayer, and eat their meal. We are then doing a Facebook check-in Wednesday night at 7:30 to see who is cooking what and dining with who, and sharing pictures of meals.”
Photo: Rev. Beth Clark and Lisa and Gordon Mosley share a meal through FaceTime.
Signs That You Are Loved
Reverends Jessica and David Blackwood in the Augusta District have embraced creative ministry as a family! Jessica writes:
“My husband, David, and I are both pastors, and we’ve been working on ways to connect with our congregations outside of relying solely on digital platforms. My daughter and I hand-painted 21 yard signs that we had leftover from another project and strategically placed them in yards of my husband’s congregation. The back of the signs all say “We love ️you.” So the part that faces the home is a reminder that they are loved and thought about. The idea is for them to move the signs into another yard when they are ready (we encourage them to disinfect and wash their hands before and after handling.)
My members live more spread out because it is a rural area. So, I adapted the idea to fit my context. I decorated my car and made hand-painted cards (then copied to make enough for my congregation), then drove through the community. One of my daughters rode with me and we dropped off cards on front porches, and honked/waved to members who were home.”
Pick Up Sunday School
A dozen North United Methodists offered an opportunity for families to pick up Children's Ministry supplies outside the church! The Children’s Ministries at Oak Grove UMC in Decatur and at Acworth UMC each held a Drive Through Family Sunday School. Kim Cody at Oak Grove writes:
“We love that 41 families picked up our Drive Through kits last weekend! Included in each kit were instructions to make a Lenten cross or tree from their own yard and Lenten symbols to add to it (purple ribbon, pretzel, bags of coins, chalice, crown of thorns, etc). We also included Bible lesson and activity sheets for different ages, two fun scavenger hunts, a craft idea, supplies to make and send a card to one of our homebound members, and a snack. The kits are meant to help families keep eyes and hearts focused on Jesus during this season of Lent, and our time apart.”
Photos: Members of Oak Grove pick up their Drive Through Sunday School Kits.
Serving Lunch to School Children
Many churches are serving their community in new ways. Rev. Roger Vest of Powder Springs First UMC is proud to see their existing community partnerships bring new opportunities to serve their neighbors:
“Because of our previous partnerships over the years and our relationships that we have built in our community, we were contacted by the South Cobb Council of the PTA, the Powder Springs Community TaskForce, and several teachers from our local schools. While there were lunch sites in other Cobb communities, there were none in Powder Springs. In about 48 hours we organized and were off.
On our busiest day last week, we served close to 350 children in two locations in our community. Several other organizations are providing food, one group is handing out on Monday and other groups on Friday and Saturday, and Powder Springs is giving lunches to kids on Wednesdays.
Our folks have stepped forward with donations of food and money and by volunteering, but it is the opportunity to serve as a community hub that has been the most gratifying. We know that one day this effort will stop, but the relationships that are built will last much longer.”
The work is so needed that the AJC picked up the story. Read that report here.
This is our church at its best — finding ways to connect families, feed children, share meals, and spread the love of Christ!