Smaller church

There’s a tendency for each church to be dissatisfied with its current attendance, because compared to someone else you’re always smaller. When parishioners walk through the front doors and see last week’s worship attendance, offering and Sunday school attendance, it can be a cause for pause, a reason to hang their head.

I was so touched recently by a ministry that really is an embodiment of the kind of church I want to be a part of. Ted Chalk, pastor of New Middletown United Methodist Church, invited me to speak at their Wednesday night program for children and youth. When I arrived I was overwhelmed with joy. I saw the attendance from the previous week at worship was 62 and yet, as the children, youth, and volunteers poured into the sanctuary, they filled the pews. There had to be 60 to 70 people.

Any preconceived notion you may have about “small” church should be thrown out the window in exchange for the kind of impact New Middletown UMC is having on its community. They are the community church! The principle of New Middletown Elementary School said to Pastor Ted, “every at-risk child at our school goes to your church on Wednesday nights.” My response is New Middletown UMC is exactly where Jesus would be in their community…right next to those who need Him most.

I don’t care whether your attendance is 25, 35, 65 or 2,000, Jesus had only a little money and some would say that twelve was “small” attendance, but His impact was definitely big. Let us follow the lead of New Middletown church and offer connection, community and a BIG IMPACT to those who need Him most.

Jim Moon III, senior pastor
Park Memorial UMC
Jeffersonville, Ind.

Hospitality lived

A few weeks ago I received a phone call while in the church office. It seems a couple of guys were coming through the area and needed a place to stay. He said that they were a team where one guy, named Chris, was on inline skates while another guy, also named Chris, followed behind in a SUV. They were crossing the country with the goal of raising money for schools in Haiti. They had a mission sponsor, website, and feedback from other pastors and churches that had hosted them

In the ancient world, Christians opened their homes to traveling missionaries that came with credentials, to make sure the system was secure to avoid persecution and guests that stayed too long. It suddenly dawned on me that’s what was being asked of my church was to continue this great ancient tradition.

My wife and I decided we would feed them and give them space for the day for fellowship and rest. They were not here ten minutes and we already felt like family, inviting them to stay in our home.

Their journey was barely one-third completed and they had not come close to their goal of $100,000 for rebuilding and restocking schools in Haiti. I share my story of experiencing the blessing of Christian hospitality, just in case this kind of thing touches your heart too.

You can learn more about Chris Loman (the skater) and Chris Hamby and their mission to give to Haiti at www.rollingtorebuild.com.

Matthew Stultz, pastor
Madison, Ind.