Multifaceted Ministry - Issue #138
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First United Methodist Church of Claremore, Oklahoma, takes discipleship seriously. Particularly, they focus on welcoming people new to the faith and on facilitating growth as followers ofJesus Christ. For example, their entire website is written with new people in mind, from letters of welcome to the way worship services are described.
The church is intentional about making sure that every visitor receives a follow-up visit from the Pie Team. Since 1999 more than 1800 homemade pies have been delivered to first-time guests. During this same period of time, more than 700 people have made professions of faith and more than 1000 have joined the church. The gift of a pie is more than just a tasty treat; it demonstrates the congregation's desire to connect with new people and support them in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
The pie ministry is one factor in a multifaceted approach to faith formation in which members of the congregation are encouraged in the Christian practices of presence, witness, giving, prayer, and service. For example, Claremore UMC feeds approximately 1,000 area residents every month through the food pantry, and they annually provide school supplies for 2,800 children. In the community, it is known as "the church that helps people."
Five worship experiences are offered each week that reflect the diversity of people attending and their distinct needs and preferences for fellowship and praising God. Sunday options include the Heritage Service, the Blue Jeans Service, and the Generations Service. Services on Thursday and Saturday evenings include a meal and opportunities for small-group discussions.
The offerings on the church calendar touch the entire age span and intentionally use a variety ofsettings, such as camps and retreats, Vacation Bible School, local and international mission giving and service opportunities, small groups, all-church fellowship and relationship building times, prayer services, Stephen's ministries, and much more.
Some Questions for Discussion
- If you viewed every aspect ofyour congregation from the perspective ofsomeone new to the Christian faith, what changes might that lead to in your worship services, outreach ministries, small-group offerings, and website?
- What new settings might be incorporated into the congregation's spiritual growth plans to create a more multifaceted approach to faith formation?