FRANKLIN, Ind. – The six churches that comprise the Johnson County Cluster (JO CO Cluster) gathered as one to live out the five practices of fruitful congregations in a practical form.

More than 200 members representing all six congregations of Honey Creek, Greenwood, Smith Valley, Greenwood Mt. Auburn, Whiteland and Franklin Grace United Methodist churches, came together Feb. 27 at Grace Church in Franklin for a “Concert of Prayer” for the needs of Johnson County communities and to celebrate the cluster’s response to those needs, as well as to welcome a new church planter to the county.

The praise and worship team from Grace led the congregation of the cluster in “passionate worship” through singing. At that point the sobering and vital needs of the local Interchurch food pantry were presented to all by the director of the food pantry.

Each of the cluster’s churches presented three things which included:

  • A report on food items collected by the church for the food pantry since Jan. 15. The collected food was gathered in the narthex of the church.
  • A report on fundraising for the JO CO Cluster sponsored Habitat for Humanity spring build, planned to begin April 28.
  • A prayer for a specific aspect of the needs of the Johnson County community, including prayers for first responders, schools, proper housing, government officials and health care providers.

After the “Concert of Prayer,” and the food and funds were counted, leaders announced a total of more than 4,000 food items were gathered for the Interchurch Food Pantry and more than $45,000 was raised for the Habitat for Humanity build. The practices of “risk-taking mission and service” and “extravagant generosity” were evident during this time.

Honey Creek pastor, Brad Miller, introduced the Rev. Tony Johnson, his wife Melissa and their family who have been appointed to Johnson County to plant a new congregation. Miller asked members of the gathered cluster churches to embrace the Johnson’s with “radical hospitality” and to support them with any need. Johnson spoke to the JO CO Cluster and cast a vision to “intentionally develop a new faith community” in Johnson County.

Central District Superintendent Bert Kite stepped forward to share with the JO CO Cluster the nature of the mission of the new church plant and the charge before Johnson. Kite invited all clergy present to lay hands on Johnson as the congregation held hands and offered a prayer of consecration and commitment upon Johnson and his family.

Kite dismissed the cluster following more worship music and the task of loading thousands of cans and boxes of food into waiting vans for shipment to the Interchurch food pantry.

Upcoming JO CO Clusterevents center around volunteers gathering for the Habitat for Humanity build project April 28 through June 6 and a special community worship event on Sunday Sept. 11, 2011, to commemorate the 9/11 tragedy.

For more information on the JO CO Cluster or how to organize an effective cluster, contact the Rev. Brad Miller, pastor of Honey Creek UMC at or call 317-535-4720.

Photo courtesy of Honey Creek UMC.

Honey Creek UM Church collected more than 1,100 boxes of Mac’ n Cheese presented to the Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County for the JO CO Cluster Concert of Prayer.

Planting churches, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, praying in concert