Small-But-Mighty Missouri Church Receives 2022 One Matters Award
By Barbara Dunlap-Berg
Honored by Discipleship Ministries, Potosi United Methodist Church recently boasted five new members, a significant accomplishment for a church of 125.
“Small but mighty” aptly describes the 125-member Potosi United Methodist Church, some 70 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. The Washington County seat is home to 2,500 people.
This year Potosi UMC was one of several congregations receiving a One Matters Award from Discipleship Ministries. The United Methodist agency partners with annual conferences in selecting recipients. One Matters recognizes one congregation from each conference that has increased numbers of professions of faith and baptisms from zero to at least one, with a renewed focus on discipleship. Honored churches get a commemorative plaque and a $1,000 check.
The Rev. Kim Jenne, Missouri Annual Conference director of connectional ministries, attributed Potosi’s growth to the efforts of the Rev. David Hendrick, a part-time local pastor, and to church leaders who focus on building connections with newcomers to the community.
A sign in the church parking lot reads, “You are entering the mission field.”
“Part of that is going out and making disciples, which will make disciples, which will make disciples, and so on and so forth,” Hendrick said.
“The door is open. No one is turned away,” he continued. “Most people who come to Potosi UMC, say this is a very friendly church. We meet them at the door. Anything you need, just let us know.”
Members share their church’s story at back-to-school events, county fairs, and health screenings.
“Attendance has begun to grow, and new people are coming into relationship with Christ through [the church’s] good work,” Jenne said. “This includes some younger families, with eight youth now involved in the church.”
"The door is open. No one is turned away. Most people who come to Potosi UMC, say this is a very friendly church. We meet them at the door. Anything you need, just let us know."
One adult layperson and one youth recently completed the basic lay ministry course. In February 2022, five new members were received, three by adult baptism.
“This small congregation that was averaging 19 people in worship has persevered through the pandemic, continuing to share the hope and good news of the gospel in their community,” Jenne said.
On one recent Sunday, Hendrick recalled, 65 people gathered for worship.
Located in the Lead Belt, Potosi was founded in 1763 by French colonists. The region, Jenne explained, produces about 70 percent of the United States’ primary supply of lead and significant amounts of the nation’s zinc.
“We would consider Potosi a county-seat town within a largely rural county,” Jenne said. “The church represents a broad spectrum of theological and political thought, although it likely tips more traditional.”
Vital to Potosi UMC’s success, Jenne noted, are community outreach, youth ministries, leadership/laity programs and involvement, and increased opportunities for fellowship. A member of Ukrainian descent inspired the congregation to connect with philanthropic groups to assist people affected by the war in Eastern Europe.
Hendrick is confident that he is in the right place at the right time.
“I enjoy the congregation, and my family and I feel very accepted and welcome,” he said. “I truly believe this is where God wishes me to be and that we will continue to experience growth.”
Receiving the One Matters Award, Hendrick asserted, “blew me away. It kind of revs your engine. You want to do more.”
To apply for the One Matters Award, a conference nominates a church, collects required information and documentation, applies online, and acknowledges and celebrates the honored congregation, often during annual conference sessions.