The United Methodist Church in Mount Ayr has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. Seventy people in worship was the norm only seven years ago. Now, however, their attendance is regularly 120.
The small congregation in rural southern Iowa was founded in 1856. When several of their leaders began participating in Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) workshops, exciting things began to happen.
Our laity began to dream dreams and recognize that “all things are possible in Christ,” said their pastor, the Rev. Charles “Skip” Rushing.
During a weekend consultation, the second step of the HCI process, the church explored their hopes for future. A team of consultants presented a report to the congregation after talking with church leaders, which included “prescriptions,” or action steps, that they could pursue in response to the gifts that God had already given them for ministry.
A Wednesday after-school program has developed as a result of their engagement with HCI, and their youth group is growing. “It’s allowing people to have energy and a positive feeling about what can happen,” said Rushing. Their mission support has improved, and they are more intentionally nurturing relationships in the community, including the school.
HCI is supported in part with $30,000 in Parish Development funds made possible through the apportionment gifts of the United Methodist churches of Iowa.