Many of our churches are expressing interest in strengthening their ministry with young adults but don’t know where to begin. The Iowa Conference with the support of apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state is sponsoring a series of workshops next month to address this concern.
The Rev. Dr. Doug Anderson will be leading one-day learning opportunities on “Post Modern Ministry.” Participants will learn about four key factors in developing ministry with people under 45 years old. In the afternoon Dr. Anderson will outline strategies to launch a new life cycle when the church is in decline. Both of these topics help us accomplish our common mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The events will be held in four locations across the state from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Click on one of the links below to register:
Doug Anderson is an Associate Director of Church Development for the Indiana Annual Conference. He has coauthored two books being used in the Healthy Church Initiative in Iowa: The Race to Reach Out (with Michael Coyner) and Get Their Name (with Bob Farr and Kay Kotan). Best of all, his seminars are energetic, effective, and fun.
Asbury United Methodist Church in Bettendorf is sending a team of seven people to the Leadership Institute, a ministry of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in the Kansas City area. These annual events “bring together clergy, church staff, and volunteers who share a passion for renewing churches,” their website explains.
Participants will be equipped, renewed, and inspired to embrace our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. More than 20,000 leaders have attended these institutes in the last fifteen years and returned to their congregations and communities empowered to lead “with impact, vitality, excellence, passion, and boldness.”
Asbury is “a Spirit-led community with every member sharing gifts in ministry,” according to their website. The Rev. Dr. Kerrin Kirkpatrick, the senior pastor of the church, says that they are hoping “to broaden and deepen congregational participation in intentional outreach and growth. . . . Going to the Leadership Institute is a part of a larger process of re–thinking and dreaming” as church leaders.
The Southeast District is providing continuing education grants to members from Asbury UMC to help defray the costs for attending the Leadership Institute. These grants are made possible with the apportionment gifts of United Methodist churches throughout the state of Iowa.
A United Methodist ministry was a beneficiary of donations from the annual Flood the Run event in Cedar Rapids this summer. Volunteers from Matthew 25 stuffed 1000 goody bags for more than 800 runners who participated in the event on Saturday morning, August 15. KCRG-TV9 featured the event in a story they ran last month.
Flood the Run began in 2009 as a way raise money after the worst flooding in the city’s history the previous year. The proceeds have always gone back into the community for flood recovery and to raise awareness for the rebuilding effort. In 2014 Matthew 25 became a recipient of the fund-raising effort because of their continuing work in neighborhoods affected by the flood.
Matthew 25 has a mission to empower people to transform neighborhoods. They envision “a thriving, connected community where people are valued and talents are multiplied; where neighborhood families have access to safe, affordable housing and healthy food; and where youth are empowered through reading and the creative arts.”
One of their programs, Cultivate Hope, has created gardens in cooperation with four area schools. They are teaching kids and families how to grow, eat and preserve fresh, high quality food right in their own neighborhoods. A grant from the East Central District, made possible by apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches of Iowa, has helped to support this ministry.
Conference leaders gathered last week to explore ways to pursue one of our strategic priorities: creating world-transforming communities of faith. Guest speaker Mark DeYmaz, the founding pastor of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, based his presentation primarily on his book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church. He has devoted his ministry in recent years to helping Christians intentionally live out the gospel message that God’s love is meant for all people, no matter their racial ethnic background or their economic status. Quoting Jesus in John 17:21, “I pray they will be one.”
Community transformation happens when three elements work together through our ministry. (1) Spiritual engagement allows the church to give credible witness to God’s love for all people. (2) Community engagement advances justice and mercy to people everywhere. (3) Economic engagement communicates resurrection when abandoned places are reclaimed and redeemed.
Iowa is blessed with a growing number of racial ethnic groups, many of whom have worshiping congregations connected with United Methodist churches. The hope in exploring the possibilities for multi-ethnic ministry is that the conference can create more and more world-transforming communities of faith that reflect this diversity. Apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa provided support for this two-day gathering.
Wednesday’s Kids is a bimonthly outreach of the United Congregational Methodist Church to the children of Lewis, Iowa. Their ministry was supported in part with a Matthew 25 grant from the Southwest District, which is funded with apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa.
The mission of the United Congregational Methodist Church is “to bring people to a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and to equip them in the Holy Spirit for a life of love and service to God and humanity.” Wednesday’s Kids accomplishes this purpose through their activities during the school year on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.
The congregation was created when the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church in Lewis joined together in the 1960s. They continue to have an impact on the lives of families in their community as they have for more than a century. The Congregational strand of the church is highlighted in the history of the City of Lewis:
The Rev. George Hitchcock, Congregational minister, built his red sandstone house in 1856 on a hill about 1 mile west of Lewis. Now designated a national landmark, Hitchcock House had a secret room in the basement used by the Underground Railroad. It has become a widely known tourist destination.