Archive for April, 2011

New service grant helps church grow!

Posted: April 28, 2011 by efenster in Stories

  How can a church reach new people?  One way is by starting a new worship service as Windfall United Methodist Church did.  The church received a Church Development grant to help fund their effort and it made a significant difference.  Here’s what the church’s pastor, Rev. Chris Ellis, writes:

“My Windfall congregation received a New Worship Service grant of $2,000…towards the end of 2009.  These funds helped us buy the equipment we needed for our contemporary worship service ‘Passionately Engaging God’ in January of 2010.  God has used our new service.” 

“From our new service we have taken in 6 new adult member, 4 of which were not currently connected with any church.  Out of these new members, God has recently given us a praise and worship leader who is now using her beautiful voice for Christ.  Previously we worshiped only with the soundrack and screen.  This advancement will help our services tremendously.  Also, God has blessed the first [original] service with more people.  I believe this is a direct result of our taking this step of faith…”

Rev. Ellis goes on to report that his church’s average weekly worship attendance increased from 52 people in 2009 to 74 in 2010.  Although although an average of seven people attended both services, the church still reached 15 more people a week–nearly a 30% increase!  Praise God!

Risk-taking Mission and Service

Posted: April 11, 2011 by efenster in Ideas

One of the five practices of Fruitful Congregations is risk-taking mission and service.  One reason studies show that 80% of churches in America are plateaued or declining is because as churches age, they become more inward focused.  They spend more time talking about their programs, their building, and their members, than how they’re connecting with the unchurched and serving those in their community.  So how’s your church doing?

Churches are realizing that they need to begin more intentionally monitoring their members’ involvement in mission and service outside their walls.  For example, the church I attend–Covenant UMC in Fort Wayne–has begun asking those in its three Sunday morning worship services each month to indicate on their attendance cards if they’ve served on behalf of Christ outside the church in the past 30 days.  Now the church has a baseline number (34% of those present March 12) to which it can compare future months’ figures.  This way Covenant’s Mission & Outreach Team, which I chair, can begin to monitor how well we’re inspiring our attenders–children included–to be serving outside our walls on a regular basis.  

Mooresville United Methodist Church is beginning an effort to measure its peoples’ involvement as well.  Watch the church’s March 13 Church Announcements at and cue to the 55 second mark to hear all about it.  If your church also monitors its members’ involvement in mission and service, please share how its doing it too!