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The Big Event - Issue #142

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Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness'" (Exodus 5:1). God sent the Israelites into the wilderness to celebrate a festival. In effect, God invited them to have a "big event" in God's honor.

Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, sponsors one big event each quarter to build relationship with the community. For example, Gordon threw a Pentecost Party for the community. The day featured spoken word artists and poets. No party is complete without food, so the church also grilled outdoors and fed more than 400 people.

On Good Friday, the congregation gave the seven last words of Christ a creative twist by building the service around themes from Marvin Gaye's album titled What's Going On? The church chose this iconic work because of the timeless themes the album addresses such as: an American dream deferred from the perspective of a war vet, the problems of urban decay, police brutality, unemployment, and poverty. Despite the challenges, the songs wove indomitable hope throughout the lyrics. Four preachers and three poets presented the seven last words.

In the fall, the congregation hosted a Back to School event in which children in the community received backpacks. The congregation's emphasis on education is leading them into other creative outreach ministries including a tutoring program.

Through big events in God's honor, the congregation is reaching the community for Christ and increasing those involved in its ongoing ministries.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • If your congregation threw a party in God's honor, what would it look like? Whom would you invite?

  • What does your congregation currently do, and what might it do in the future to engage your community for Christ?

You can read more about Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church at www.gordonmemorialumc.org

In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #142. © 2012 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.