During the 2014 Session of our Indiana Conference we invited/challenged our churches to launch "100 Points of Light" to reach out to new people in new ministries on behalf of their congregations. In a wonderful and inspiring moment, over 300 people came forward representing 201 congregations. Those persons were given some brief orientation, assigned an advisor to help them develop their plans, and offered vouchers for a $500 grant to help launch those new ministries in this Conference year (by June of 2015).
Those new points of light are starting to shine! Seventy congregations have already received their grants and launched their new ministries. Eleven congregations have decided to drop out for now, which is OK, because not everyone is ready at the same time. Several other congregations are still in the planning stage and may launch their new ministries in the next few months. A few churches have indicated that they will launch their New Points of Light but don't need the $500 grant from the Conference. So we are moving along well toward the vision of 100 New Points of Light.
The reports of those New Points of Light are exciting and creative. One church has launched a new ministry by honoring veterans and helping them get assimilated back into their homes. Another church has launched a Mom's Club to help young mothers from their community to learn parenting skills and to support one another. A couple of churches have launched Karaoke worship services! One church has started a Sunday night worship time for "bar people" who work in the bars late on Saturday night and don't come out for Sunday morning services. Another church has launched a "biker service" for motorcycle riders to gather at a restaurant. One church started a "Friday Night Lights" gathering for youth after high school football games, and that has gone so well they are expanding it to "Fourth Quarter" gatherings after basketball games, too.
Lots of creativity. Lots of energy and joy. And most importantly those churches are reporting that they are seeing changed lives. Individuals who might never enter the door of a church for our traditional ministries are being reached by these efforts to be an "Outwardly-Focused Church" (the theme of our 2014 Session).
The lesson seems simple and obvious: when we take the ministry of our church beyond our church walls to reach out to new people, we find life, energy and joy.
Thank you! Thank you to all who are planning to be a New Point of Light – to share the Light of Christ in your communities.