Rural church grows ministry for families with children

Posted: September 30, 2010 by efenster in Resources, Stories

I was standing next to Rev. Mark Brock, surrounded by flat farm fields in every direction.  I saw nothing but corn and soybeans.  However, Mark, who’s a pastor of Faith United Methodist Church, saw children in every direction.  “You see that house?” pointing down the county road outside his church, “That house is full of children.  And over there, there are children.  And down that way, there are children there too.”

What looked like empty farm fields to me were fields full of children to Mark, children God placed in the care of his little church.  Faith UMC, which averages around 30 people at its Sunday worship service, is located outside a small rural town in northern Indiana called Wanatah.  A year or so ago, the church’s members sensed God was calling them to reach children even though their congregation only had three at the time.

Several churches around Wanatah already did a joint Vacation Bible School, rotating from church to church each summer.  Last year happened to be Faith UMC’s turn, so after hosting the Bible school, Faith–with the help of Mark, his wife, and a few others–started two ministries for the children, Faith-Full Kids serving elementary age children and Faith in Motion serving youth.  Each meets in the evenings on alternating Wednesdays.

By this spring Faith-Full Kids was reaching 25-30 children and parents each month, half of them were unchurched!  Faith in Motion has been reaching a half dozen youth, all from outside the congregation.  Although a few of them are also attending the church’s Sunday morning service, the church has decided to start a Sunday evening worship service especially for them and their parents.  So not only does Rev. Brock and his congregation see children, where many of us might only see empty fields, but they also are doing something about it.  They are making places for the children and their parents to meet Jesus and encounter His love and Good News!

Faith UMC recently hosted a free workshop on how to successfully launch new worship service led by Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development for the Indiana Conference.  It’s a workshop that Ed and the other Church Development staff are willing to bring to your church, especially if you’re interested in receiving a worship matching grant for up to $5,000.  Call 877 781-6706 for more information.

  1. John & Dea says:

    Blessings to this church, pastor Mark, and the community!

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