Keeping Connected - Issue #87
Keeping connected with church members and visitors can be a challenge, but Northside United Methodist Church in Brewster, Massachusetts, is intentionally addressing this issue. The congregation is divided by locale, and fourteen church "shepherds" have responsibility for shepherding their own neighborhoods.
The role of the shepherd is to make telephone calls, send emails or text messages, and send cards to the people in the shepherd's area. People who are homebound or who missed worship or a church activity find the service to be particularly helpful and informative.
The designated shepherds don't just share information about church activities, they also listen to the needs of the people in the neighborhood and help connect them to ministries in the church. For example, as the community of Brewster continues to grow older and more people find it difficult to drive, helping to transport people to places of necessity can be extremely beneficial. When a situation arises, shepherds contact the Transportation Team so a member of the church can be assigned to help transport someone to the doctor, pharmacy, or a church event.
Shepherds can also contact the Helping Hands Team with requests. The purpose of the Helping Hands Team is to provide minor home repair and chore services. Members of the Helping Hands Team provide services such as repairing steps, building a ramp, and changing ceiling lights. In addition, home chore services and meal preparation are provided for people just getting out of the hospital, for new parents, or for people who are experiencing bereavement.
Some Questions for Discussion
- In your community, what are the most effective ways for maintaining ongoing contact with members and visitors? How might you more effectively and intentionally use these methods?
- How does your congregation intentionally listen and respond to the needs of the neighborhood surrounding your church?