By: Christa Meland
Earlier this year, around the time when members of Delano United Methodist Church were hearing about the Minnesota Conference’s Reach • Renew • Rejoice initiative for congregational development, they asked themselves: How can we bring Reach • Renew • Rejoice to our community?
Those questions led them to organize a big tent revival event for their community Oct. 3-4 that welcomed about 500 people, roughly half of whom were from outside of the church.
The event featured meaningful worship around the themes of “reach,” “renew,” and “rejoice”; Bible studies; excellent music from Delano musicians and the Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir; delicious (and free) food; games; and fun for the whole family. Three dynamic clergy from across the state served as guest preachers.
The goal was to reach new people, renew their spirits, and ignite in them a passion for Christ—and Rev. Matt Sipe said the event did just that.
“The affect this is having on our community is still being talked about and felt,” said Sipe. “We still are receiving cards, letters, and visits from people who were moved by God’s Spirit during the event. It has our community talking about the Holy Spirit and people speaking of our church is a positive and Spirit-filled way.”
Although the church is always looking to grow, the primary goal of the revival wasn’t to get more people in Delano UMC’s pews. It was to meet people where they’re at and share the message of God’s love and grace.
“We hope that they left there fired up for God…that they know God’s love, that they experienced God’s love,” said Sipe. “We were trying to inject some Holy Spirit into this community.”
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church