Sometimes we need to pay attention to the little things. St. Croix Valley United Methodist Church’s lay member of annual conference was talking with a dear friend of hers while attending conference last May. The discussion turned to some of the new things that churches were doing to attract new people. The friend shared what she had heard about what New Day United Methodist Church is doing in Big Lake: reaching out in the community, connecting with young families, and providing a safe place to grow and nurture Christian faith. The concerning news this friend lamented, was that New Day’s funding was limited and they might have to close.
Many folks would have thought--or even said aloud--“Oh, that’s a shame.” Praise God that this faithful soul isn’t like many folks. She knew her church might be able to help. So she mentioned that little detail to her friend, who in turn contacted someone at New Day Church with the news. Within one month and several meetings (to make a long story short), St. Croix Valley UMC called a special church conference with the expressed intent to help this new church start. The result was that St. Croix Valley UMC donated $40,000 from their building fund directly to New Day UMC with the intent of challenging other congregations to do likewise!
Obviously the people of New Day were thrilled--amazed, even! But the underlying story continues to evolve. Through a new relationship with a sister church, St. Croix Valley UMC is beginning to understand some ministry dynamics about itself in relation to reaching new people in their community of Lakeland. New Day UMC in turn, is helping them along a new pathway. With new ministry opportunities springing forth driven by a new strategy for reaching out to the community, the growing relationship between these two congregations has nothing to do with a monetary gift. It has everything to do with mutual transformation and sharing with those who are in need!
Paying attention to the little things can make a huge difference! I encourage all the churches of our Minnesota Annual Conference to consider similar support of our new United Methodist Church starts. During your fall welcome season, make a special gift directly to New Day UMC or to any of our other 19 new faith communities who are intentionally welcoming geographic, demographic and psychographic populations. As you reach new people in and through new churches, your gift will bear countless blessings in return! Please contact me (612-230-6124) for more information about our Congregational Development Advance Specials. “I love to tell the story!”
Dan Johnson is now the Twin Cities District superintendent for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He used to be director of congregational development and Reach • Renew • Rejoice.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church