From the Seats to the Streets - Issue #81
"Our church cares for everyone." "We care for the people that nobody else wants or sees." "We take what we learn from the seats to the streets to help people in need." "This congregation welcomes all and encourages all, especially those people whom society as a whole turns away." These are a few of the statements made by members of Grace United Methodist Church in Cape Coral, Florida to describe their congregation.
A look at the congregation’s website helps confirm the accuracy of those statements. The church has four different campuses and has developed a four-part strategy for fulfilling their vision of ministry — reach, connect, form, and send.
Reach ministries include prison ministries, recovery groups, GED classes, and sports. The congregation distributes food and clothing, as well as offering health screenings, free flu shots, and sponsoring an AIDS ministry. Grace UMC also provides mailbox delivery services for individuals without addresses.
Connect ministries include a wide variety of small group ministries that meet at the church and in homes. The church has frequent fellowship events described as "picnics, parties, and potlucks."
Form ministries are composed of classes and experiences that help people to grow in their faith. These include classes to help assess spiritual gifts, Bible studies, Sunday morning classes, Walk to Emmaus, and a wide array of other offerings.
Send ministries include both local and global ministries. In addition to supporting local agencies, such as the Florida Children's Home and the Fort Myers Rescue Mission, the congregation financially supports missionaries and ministry in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Some Questions for Discussion
How does your congregation engage people that "nobody else wants or sees"?
How would people in your congreation describe the church? What would people in the community say about your church?
What is your congregation’s strategy for fulfilling its mission and vision?
Carol Krau is Director of Adult Formation and Discipleship at the Discipleship Ministries. She can be reached at [email protected]. To learn more about the ministries of Grace UMC go to www.egracechurch.com.