Sharing Creative Ideas
posted on February 14
We will use this to share creative ideas from church to church for engaging your community. If you would like us to add your idea here, please send Catherine Gibbs an email at the district office at email@example.com
Starting and Growing your Small Group
Posted May 3, 2023
The creative idea for ministry this week comes from Reverend Christopher Wisener. We had heard that First Sedalia has over 100 people attending small groups that are ministering beyond the church. We asked Rev. Christopher to share with the North Central District how his church does small groups. This was his response:
There were four things that I think helped get small groups started:
1. First, Candace did one herself. She invited women who she believed would form a healthy new small group. Within that group she passed on the hosting to a member. Then started another group.
2. We researched other groups and how they are doing it. The books Leading Small Groups and Planning small groups by Gladen were helpful.
3. We have preached on the importance of being in a community whenever we can fit it in as a core theme. However, when we launched the small groups, it was within a sermon series on loneliness.
4. We meet with hosts to help give them ideas, ask how to support them and develop hosting skills. Becky Imhauser does a lot of that work.
5 We purposely work with the groups to be invitational. Invite people external to the church so that they may have a healthy community as well. The Mom’s group was the most successful in helping those external to the church join.
A lot of groups have worked well, and some have fallen out. We continue to learn and develop the small group program. The goal is to disciple those around us, regardless if they go to this church.
Peace & Blessings,
Rev. Christopher Wisener
The purpose of these post is to share insight or ideas that might help encourage, inspire, or inform churches in ministry. We would love to hear from more churches in the North Central District. Please email CGibbs@moumethodist.org to share your ministry idea.
90 Days to Launch your Small Group
Posted on April 19, 2023
The following article was submitted by Charity Goodwin, and used as a creative idea to help churches launch potential small group ministry ideas.
Save time by getting started after your Easter break focusing on the fall launch of groups. As a leader in the church, your heart is for people and their transformation. You care about people becoming more like Jesus, but your discipleship methods need some attention. And with everything else you have going on such as preaching, meetings, and pastoral care; support, encouragement, and know-how would help you go further faster.
It takes a minimum of 90 days to launch compelling, invitational small groups for the first time or again. From identifying leaders, formatting your groups, and encouraging sign-ups this Fall, we will talk about it all. I’ll key in on using a focus, form, fill and facilitate system so that you will be planning, implementing as well as preparing to evaluate your groups in small steps over 90 days. A little bit of time, every week builds up to a great launch.
In this free leadership workshop, I’ll outline the 4-step process I use to get groups underway along with a calendar to help you get started.
Plan to attend. Live. Seriously.
While there will be a re-play available, if you attend live you get to ask questions and workshop your way through the next 90 days. Plus, those who attend live will be entered into a raffle drawing to win a free 30-minute small-group strategy session with me.
Date: Friday, April 28
Time: 11 a.m. CST
Link to join: Go here
In this together,
Blood Drive Scholarship Fundraiser at Vienna UMC
Posted April 12, 2023
This week’s Creative Ministry Ideas comes from Debby Adkins who is a member and helps to coordinate the American Red Cross Blood Drives at Vienna UMC church.
Vienna UMC partners with their local high school's National Honor Society members to host blood drives throughout the year. The Red Cross offers NHS members a scholarship based on the number of units of blood collected from July 1st through May 31st of the following year. This scholarship is paid out in $250 increments and can range from $250 (70 units collected), to $3000 (301 or more units collected).
The Red Cross determines the amount of the award, and whether the students have met all the criteria required, and the high school NHS advisors determine the recipient(s).
Vienna’s blood drives are unique in the fact that the church does support the school in holding additional drives, but the students are required to help in order for it to qualify as a scholarship drive. They need to help with donor recruitment, donations, volunteering, etc.
For more information on hosting the American Red Cross at your church, contact the North Central District Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to direct your request to an American Red Cross Account Manager.
The Life Of A Single Mom Ministry at Wesley UMC (Jeff City)
Posted March 15, 2023
This week’s Creative Ministry Idea comes from Wesley UMC’s The Life of a Single Mom (TLSM) Ministry. This ministry is ecumenically committed to seeing no single mom walk alone. In fact, this ministry exists to improve the lives of single mothers by providing support groups and education in three core areas: Parenting, Finances, and Health & Wellness. TLSM works to educate single mothers on the importance of their overall health & wellness by offering one-on-one counseling opportunities either online or in-person through their group mentors. In addition, TLSM promotes educating single moms by offering over 175 online, self-paced, life skills courses by enrolling in Single Mom University. Through online, self-paced video lectures, single moms can access their portal 24/7 to chose training resources in parenting, finances, or wellness. Under these three core areas, moms can learn about budgeting, overcoming abuse, homeownership, co-parenting, and dozens more.
The Life of a Single Mom Ministry at Wesley’s UMC meet the first and third Tuesday of the month, but also encourage the group participants to meet weekly to promote networking and relationship connections. Group meetings consist of Bible devotions, icebreakers, motivations speakers, games, and food & fellowship time. Three times a year, TLSM ministry plan retreat and pampering opportunities for the single mom ministry. For more information on this ministry, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com to find important information and resources.
Uplift Outreach Ministry at Mexico UMC
Posted March 8, 2023
Mexico United Methodist Church recently partnered with an outreach ministry, Uplift Mid-MO. This ministry was created as a non-profit in August of 2019 to help Christians in our community collaborate. The Uplift Clearinghouse was created as a service available to Audrain County churches and agencies to benefit those living in poverty or experiencing great challenges in our community. We seek to create personal, Christ-centered relationships between multi-denominational Christian volunteers and individuals in need. By doing this, the church community can now take an active role in being a part of the solution.
Churches need to be able to connect with individuals in our community who are in need. Many churches lack the infrastructure needed to address core issues behind assistance requests. By being the contact point for the Uplift Clearinghouse, churches are able to have face time with clients and remain involved in their experience from start to finish. When a person in need contacts a partner church, the church submits a referral to Uplift via the online system, prompting a staff member to contact the individual for a screening. Uplift will work with the client to determine eligibility and remove any barriers to sustainability. Oftentimes, the client requests a pastoral follow-up. In that case, Uplift will reach out to all church partners via email to give the opportunity to the first-available pastor to make a follow-up phone call. When a financial determination is made, the church can share the cost with Uplift if they have funding to do so.
The Uplift organization is unique in that it requires clients to be sustainable or have an adequate plan in place to become sustainable before funding is issued. They are interested in improving the lives of those they interact with and providing them with skills and resources to succeed long-term. Volunteers work one-on-one with clients to remove barriers and create a sustainable outcome, giving them a "hand up" instead of a "hand out." The programs consist of three major focus areas: career, housing, and budget coaching. During the interaction with clients, which typically takes place over a several-week period, immediate tangible needs such as hygiene items, clothing, transportation (fuel, vehicle repair costs), school supplies, baby/maternity care, some furniture, and prepaid phone services for career search are provided as need is identified. Through a network of church partners, Uplift offers spiritual support and gives clients an opportunity to speak with a local pastor, connect with a local church, and get involved later to help others and pay it forward. By working together and pooling resources, Uplift is able to ease the financial burden on the church and provide a highly personal experience for clients.
You can visit the website, upliftmidmo.org or contact Beth Lower (email@example.com) for more information about the organization.
Senior Night Ministry at Trinity UMC
Posted February 28, 2023
This week's creative idea is shared from Trinity UMC in Moberly, MO. Trinity UMC's Third Thursday Senior Night offers those over 55 years of age an opportunity to gather for fellowship, a meal, a short message and some music on a monthly basis. This is a free event, however a donation jar is available. This ministry has been going strong for about a year now. There are around 40 seniors who attend regularly with about 1/3 of those in attendance being folks who are not members of Trinity.
Flight Training Ministry at Chillicothe UMC
Posted February 22, 2023
Flight Training is a year-long ministry for High School Seniors at Chillicothe UMC. According to Kara Powell in her book “Sticky Faith” several studies indicate only 1 in 7 college freshmen feel adequately prepared for dealing with college life (friends, academics, parties, money, faith, etc), and only 1 in 2 “youth group kids” are likely to stick with their faith during or after college. Flight Training is our attempt to prepare our Seniors for adulthood, whether it be in college or the workforce.
Flight Training meets two to four times per month to look at different aspects of college/adult life. We discuss things like the importance of the first two weeks of college, finding and engaging in a church family or campus ministry, self-care, how to go to the doctor, car care, cooking, eating out on a budget, budgeting, taxes, credit cards, building credit, identity, greek life, time management, alcohol/drugs, homework, friendships, dating/relationships, balancing family and college life, laundry, boundaries, healthy eating, maintaining faith, applying scripture in daily life, dealing with doubt and new faith questions, and generally being a Christian in today's world.
We also visit four different churches to examine what to look for in a church and to practice finding a new congregation. Students enter the church alone, sit alone during the worship service, and determine how they could get involved in that church's young adult ministry. While they are anxious about this initially, they become confident and grow during the process, and are always thankful for the experience. Flight Training "graduates" often comment that this experience gave them confidence to go to church alone and try out various churches in their new towns.
During the one-year period, Seniors are required to attend 50% of worship services, 90% of Flight Training meetings, 75% of Youth Group meetings, and teach Sunday School or Middle School Youth Group 8 times each. Seniors also participate in worship services in the adult roles of providing an opening prayer and reading scripture before the message. This, along with teaching youth, provides a nice transition to serving in the church as an adult.
The culmination of our year is a week-long mission trip, where Seniors put their teaching into practice, serve others, and spread the gospel in a place of the group's choosing. Students pay a minimal deposit and host a couple fundraisers, with the majority of the trip funded by Chillicothe UMC. This year’s group will be going to Hawaii. Our church's commitment to encouraging and supporting youth into adulthood is felt by the Seniors, who often feel they exist in that "no man's land" between youth and adulthood.
* Flight Training is lead by Natalie & Michael Leamer and Dave Rogers.
** Large group photo is 2022-23 Flight Training Crew. Mission photos are from 2021-22 Flight Training mission trip to Alaska.
Posted February 15, 2022
This is a sample basket of an outreach ministry started by a faithful, longtime member, Kathy Long from Carrollton UMC. Kathy, founder of Hope Sisters, started this ministry (more info to come in a later post) with four other women from the church.
The hospitality baskets are designed as a Care Basket Ministry that is filled with gifts throughout the month by church member donations. Each basket is filled with unique gifts and delivered at the end of the month to area shut-ins and those who are home bound. This is a beautiful example of sharing the love of Christ by letting community members know they are loved.