By: Christa Meland
Reach • Renew • Rejoice is a seven-year congregational development initiative to start new churches and grow existing churches within the Minnesota Conference. Through this initiative: Each year for seven years (starting in 2014), we will start one new church where demographics and opportunity align, assist 20 existing churches in revitalizing their ministries, and partner with a vital parent church to multiply its ministry beyond its current site. These efforts will occur in every district within the Minnesota Conference. Churches across the conference have heard about the Reach • Renew • Rejoice plan, and many have pledged support. Here's an update in the form of five things you should know about what's happening with this important initiative:
1. Funds raised to date are already at work. The Minnesota Conference is already using Reach • Renew • Rejoice funds to plant new churches and revitalize existing churches across Minnesota. Churches and individuals will be fulfilling pledges for the next five years, but funding collected to date is already being put to good use, helping congregations reach new people and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
2. We are ahead of schedule in implementing the plan. The Reach • Renew • Rejoice plan calls for launching one new church, partnering with one existing church to launch a new site, and assisting 20 churches in revitalizing their ministries each year for seven years. In year one (2014), The Beloved launched in St. Paul and Rosemount UMC expanded to a second location (called “The Bridge”). In year two (2015), New City Church launched in Minneapolis and Embrace Church out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, started a Twin Cities campus in Lakeland. And during each of the past two years, more than 20 churches have started one of the conference’s three revitalization processes—the Healthy Church Initiative (for mid-sized churches), the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (for large churches), or Missional Journey (for small churches).
3. Pledges have topped $3 million. This means we’ve already exceeded our $2.5 million “breakthrough” (or, initial) goal, and we’re now working toward our “rejoice” (or, ultimate) goal of $3.7 million. The seven-year Reach • Renew • Rejoice plan will require $3.7 million, so the hope is that pledges that come in over the next few months will get us there. Thank you for your generosity in helping us achieve this significant milestone.
4. People of all ages and churches of all sizes are supporting this initiative. One of those people is Orem Robbins, who is 100 years old and a longtime member of Hennepin Avenue UMC. Robbins, who put himself through college at the University of Minnesota, founded Security Life Insurance Company of America in 1956. He said his faith and church have made a significant difference in his life, and he wants to do all he can to help more people find God. “I like any concept that gets people to church,” Robbins said. “A church is people and people do things. There’s a need and I answered the call, and I’m blessed for having answered the call. If you help expand the church, you’ll be blessed. You have to do as much as you can while you’re able to.”
5. Reach • Renew • Rejoice will reach thousands of new people. One hundred fifty-four churches will be started, revitalized, or expanded over the next seven years through this initiative. Based on past history and future projections, an estimated 12,000 new people will call these 154 churches home and experience the life-changing love of Christ.
Watch videos about the impact that Reach • Renew • Rejoice is having and the lives it's changing
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church