Issue 276 — April 7, 2016
Connecting with the Community
One of the important tasks of the church is to have an impact on the surrounding community. The First Korean United Methodist Church of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, built its community center to reach out to the diverse people in the local community. Some of the programs offered include senior school, summer school, music school, ESL classes for immigrants, a mother and child program, and a youth orchestra. The goals of the community center programs are to meet the needs of diverse people, to make a positive impact in the community, and to bring people in to the faith community of the church.
Group music lessons are a wonderful channel for connecting people. As the public schools reduced music programs due to tight budgets, the youth and children of the community were no longer being exposed to music. Seeing a need for music education, the Cherry Hill Korean UMC invited fourth through eleventh graders in the community to join the youth orchestra to learn and share their musical talents as well as nurture their spiritual formation. Thirty children came to the community center of the church every Saturday to learn musical skills from a church-hired professional conductor. They often provided special music during church services and presented musical performances at nursing homes to share the love and peace of Christ through music.
One-third of the orchestra’s students come from outside the church. Through the musical activities of the youth orchestra, these students become familiar with Christian worship and ministry. Further, the students grow in self-esteem as they share their musical talents and serve the community.
At Cherry Hill, it was possible to start the youth orchestra because of a core group of students, a devoted adult coordinator, and a committed professional conductor in the church.
- Korean Ministry resources from Discipleship Ministries
- Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations (Korean version)
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How does your congregation reach out to the youth and diverse people in your local community?
- How does your congregation connect with the local community?
- What challenges does your congregation face in making non-Christians a part of your church? In what ways might your congregation make a positive impact in the 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.