The Afton, Arispe, and Lorimor United Methodist churches are transforming their normal fifth Sunday combined worship service into a day of service. Their pastor, Joel Sutton, wrote, that they will “go out into the community and clean up the park, paint a basketball court, plant some flowers, and help some folks who need work done around the house.”
The combined services have not had strong attendance, but they anticipate that “participation will be up this time.” Even more exciting, “this new Community Service Sunday will be kicking off a monthly community service day that connects needs in the community with youth who need community service hours to graduate from high school.”
A part of the inspiration for this experiment has come from their church leaders participating in a new Healthy Church Initiative study track designed specifically for parishes to explore shared ministries. Jaye Johnson, the Field Outreach Minister serving the South Central District, has been facilitating the workshops.
The Healthy Church Initiative (HCI), which is supported in part through apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state of Iowa, is an intentional leadership development process designed to enhance the skills of pastors and laity to lead growing, vibrant, spirit-filled congregations.