There are roughly 360 Minnesota United Methodist Churches. At times I hear about the differences between rural and metro churches and I’ve experienced differences as I have worshiped in both settings, but I think the bigger differences are between the small and large UMC’s.
It seems the smaller the church the more time is needed to focus on keeping the lights on, paying the apportionments, and keeping the doors open. Much energy is often needed to focus on fundraising dinners, fall festivals and various other means of raising money. When so much energy is required to pay the bills little is left over for sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. At the end of the day we get tired and sometimes it takes all the energy a congregation has, to just sit in the pew.
How do we share the Good News of Jesus if we only have the energy to sit in the pews? Jesus called his disciples to go out and share. The United Methodist Church calls us to “make disciples.”
In Matthew 6: 30-44 Jesus told his tired disciples to feed the hungry. Jesus expected the disciples to share even though they were tired and only had five loaves and two fish among them. And what happened, all 5000 were fed with some food left over. Even when we as Jesus disciples only have a little to share, wonderful things can happen. Even when we are tired, feel like we don’t have time or don’t have much to share, with God with us great things happen.
What would it take for us to do great things? Below are listed some ideas I found in the United Methodist Rural Advocates newsletter.
- Do not just buy school supplies and give them to someone else to pass out. Have a starting school party and make school supplies the door prizes for every student who attends. While they are at the party give them something to eat, give them fellowship, give them support.
- Do not just buy gifts for children of all ages. Set up a Christmas store where parents and children can come and purchase gifts for pennies on the dollar. While they are shopping have a Christmas ornament station where they can make an ornament they can display on a table or place on a tree.
- Do not just feed them the Word, feed them breakfast. Make sure you invite all the children in the community for Sunday School.
- Do not just complain about people who do not work, we really have no idea the reason why and what a person has faced in their lives. There are great programs like NETworX which helps people find self-confidence and self-worth which helps them be a star employee.
I am not suggesting we should do any of the ideas listed above, but I am hoping this will spur discussion and brainstorming among us. James 1:22 says “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only…”