Issue 277 — April 14, 2016
Acts 2 to Connect
Acts 2 United Methodist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, began as a vision in the hearts and minds of people of the Oklahoma Conference who felt God calling them to launch a new congregation to serve the communities of Edmond, Deer Creek, and Oklahoma City. Under the passionate leadership of Dr. Mark Foster, young families and children gathered to form a faith community of mutual encouragement dedicated to following God. Just 12 years later, that same congregation felt called to help plant a new church as part of its own growth and journey. Acts 2 helped birth the Connect Church just as it was helped in its own launch.
The ministry team of Acts 2 UMC believes strongly that one of the best ways to reach new people for Jesus Christ is through establishing new churches where they are most needed. This desire to create ever-expanding open doors for people to embrace God explains the involvement of members of one congregation excited to support another church that was starting in the same region. They did not fear the presence of another congregation, but welcomed it! Acts 2 UMC served as the "mother church" to Connect United Methodist Church and helped start Connect until it was able to become a self-supporting United Methodist church.
Acts 2 UMC prioritizes deepening spiritual practices, small groups for fellowship and growth, and being in service to the wider community as core to the embodiment of Christian discipleship.
Like its mother church, Connect Church also feels a strong calling to grow in faith and then to take action to do good in the community. Even in its earliest stages of existence, Connect gave 10 percent of its general fund donations to outside ministries. Incarcerated persons and foster children are among the wide variety of individuals touched and cared for by the new congregation’s generosity. What God has given them is being passed forward to bless others.
Connect Church currently meets at Centennial Elementary School in Edmond, Oklahoma.
- New Church Starts
- Church Planting Strategies
- Transforming Power: Stories from Transformational Leaders for Encouragement and Inspiration, Hugh Ballous, Editor (Upper Room Books)
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What opportunities are provided for your congregation to step away to discern God’s direction as a community of faith?
- What might it mean for your congregation to be involved in launching a new faith community?
Produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture in growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
© 2016 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this newsletter for use in United Methodist congregations. This newsletter is provided as a service of Discipleship Ministries and is funded through World Services apportionment giving by local United Methodist congregations.