Transformation Vo l u m e 2 I s s u e 3
The Desert Southwest Conference
How you impact the world
Fall 2010 | Desert Southwest Conference Communications | www.desertsouthwestconference.org
3 Publisher’s Pen 4 H ow we use our abundance reflects what we believe 5 T he Faces Behind Your Dollars 12 A pportionments are Ministry at Work 14 T he Connection: A Lifegiving Movement for the Healing of the World? 18 W hat it Means to Have a Home Photo courtesy of UMOM
Special Features 8
Q&A with J. Clif Christopher
Funding New Church Starts Economically, Efficiently, and Effectively—Through Multiplication
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Photo by Don Benton
“Share the lifechanging stories that occur in our local churches all the time.” -J. Clif Christopher page 8
M inistry M agazine
T he D esert S outhwest C onference
Fall 2010 Volume 2, Issue 3 Contributors Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, Stephen J. Hustedt, Dee Dee Azhikakath, Nichole Barnes, Randy Bowman, Tom Butcher, Larry Hollon, & Joanie A. Faust
Transformation is provided quarterly in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Communications Department of The Desert Southwest Conference. Transformation is also available online by going to www.desertsouthwestconference.org/ transformation. Individual articles and photos may be used by DSC churches and organizations. Views in Transformation come from representatives of official Conference groups or by request of Conference Staff. Viewpoints may only be those of the writer and may not be representative of the entire Conference. Questions about the reproduction of individual articles or photos should be directed to Stephen J. Hustedt, Conference Director of Communications (602-2666956 ext. 220 or email@example.com).
e don’t really like talking about money in the church, do we? For some reason we feel that discussing ministry in terms of money will somehow tarnish the ministry. Outside of the yearly stewardship sermon, discussing faith and dollars is generally frowned upon at all levels of the church. It’s just not considered polite conversation, and it makes us very uncomfortable when people bring it up. Conversely, we all know that funding is crucial to the ministry of the church and it is generally understood that giving is an important part of our faith walk. In fact, this place where money and ministry come together is a crucial part of the connection that defines us as United Methodists. The fact that simply giving to my local church on Sunday morning allows me to give to health and wellness ministries in Africa, outreach ministries in New York, campus ministries in Las Vegas, and so much more is really quite amazing—almost miraculous. In fact, it may be one of the clearest examples of how the church is capable of doing the work of Christ on earth. Unfortunately, our difficulty in talking about money and ministry prevents this story from being shared as often and as clearly as it should be. As United Methodists, when we give we are not just helping to pay for a new pew or a new sign at our local church, no matter how important these items may be. When we give we are literally providing ministry around the world! How exciting is that? How spiritually fulfilling is that? Why aren’t we sharing this amazing vision within our, often too complacent, congregations and with a world hungry for good news? The real issue is that the subject of money and ministry has been avoided for so long that we have started to lose the common understanding, vocabulary, and stories to discuss it properly. With that in mind, this issue of Transformation is going
Stephen J. Hustedt to focus on crucial areas where money and ministry overlap. This issue will look at how we motivate people to give and how what people give is used to do real and vital ministry. Perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that the two overlap greatly. When we share the stories of ministry, people give, and when people give, amazing ministry happens. It is crucial that we learn to talk about ministry and money if we are going to fulfill our mission to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. So, if talking about money makes you uncomfortable, prepare to be a little uncomfortable as you read through this issue of Transformation, but you should also prepare to be moved and spiritually fed by the way our dollars are doing the work of Christ. God is good, and is using the people of The Desert Southwest Conference and The United Methodist Church to do amazing things. We should never be afraid to share that story! † Fall 2010 | Transformation | 3
By Stephen J. Hustedt, Director of Communications
For general inquiries or subscription information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 602-266-6956, or mail Communications Department, 1550 E. Meadowbrook Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85014-4040.
Where money and ministry come together
How we use our abundance reflects what we believe By Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
little girl stood before the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Ft. Worth, Texas and told us how she had raised thousands of dollars to purchase nets to protect children in Africa from malaria. Across the ocean a grown man in Cote d’ Ivoire, Africa left his wheelchair behind and crawled to the offering basket in his church to give his offering. He did so with great joy, crawling to the basket as a humble expression of his submission to God and God’s work. A young man, who lives much closer, lost his job and went and withdrew funds from his 401K in order to meet his financial pledge to his church. A group of men and women who live just down the road gave up vacations, the purchase of a muchneeded car, cut out movies and visits to the local popular coffee shop in order to plant a new church in the name of Christ Jesus. Two young pastors in another conference, but close enough to touch my heart, raised their own salary in funds so that they, too, could plant a new church to serve God. I have met all these people, and they 4 | Transformation | Fall 2010
have inspired me! They are all different in many ways, but they all have one thing in common. They all love God and neighbor and can’t give enough. These persons, young and old, give out of deep gratitude to God who has loved them and blessed them. Their experience with God has been so profound that it overflows in love for everyone around them. They teach us several things, among them: • What we have belongs to God, the giver of all good things. • We belong to God. • God wants us to follow Jesus. Throughout scripture we read of people just like us who gave their lives over to God because they knew and believed these great lessons. Do we believe? If we truly believe then our lives should reflect our belief. How we use our money, our time, our abilities, any wisdom we have gained along the way, shows clearly what we believe. In other words, the world should be able to look at us and say, “Those persons are Christians.” Those who were first called Christians were the believers in Antioch (Acts 11:19-30). Some may say they were called Christians simply because someone finally found a way to name them. I think it was more than that. I believe that those around them could clearly see that they acted as if they believed in what Jesus had taught them about God, about themselves, and about how they were to live. Those early Christians at Antioch shared the good news of Jesus with everyone, even those whom some would
exclude. They also shared what they had with those who had need in a time of famine and economic recession. Together they remembered what Jesus had taught them; they loved and supported each other and welcomed everyone into that circle of sacred love, never forgetting to praise God for God’s goodness and generosity towards them. I pray that like the Christians at Antioch and like brothers and sisters in the faith who inspire us today, we are using our resources to truly reflect that we believe in God who has blessed us abundantly with mercy and grace. †
UMNS photo by Mike DuBose Seven-year-old Katherine Commale (left) has raised more than $40,000 for the Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign, supported by the people of The United Methodist Church.
The Faces Behind Your Dollars By Rev. Dee Dee Azhikakath, director of the Wesley Foundation of Tucson, AZ
Photo courtesy of Rev. Dee Dee Azhikakath Money provided through the United Methodist connection allows all churches of The Desert Southwest Conference to provide ministry to spiritually-hungry demographic groups that may otherwise not be able to be reached.
It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a Conference to raise up a campus ministry
ust more than five years ago I was appointed as the first full-time campus minister in our conference in over a decade. What started out as an experiment in funding turned into one of the most astonishing witnesses of the Holy Spirit. Through the conferenceâ€™s apportionments, about 40% of our ministry was
funded, and through additional pledges by the South District churches, another 40% of our budget was funded. The remaining money was donated by alumni and parents of students in the program, and through investments. By the grace of God, the generosity of every person who donated each cent, and the dedication of the Wesley Foundation Board who were
committed to fiscal responsibility, we have ended each year in the black. While the numbers passed through the conference budget and the finance committees of local churches, many people do not realize that these numbers are actually studentsâ€”students whose lives have changed because of the financial support given to campus ministry. story continues on page 6 Fall 2010 | Transformation | 5
The faces behind your dollars | Continued from page 5
Since full-time campus ministry was revived in our conference, we have seen a 1300% growth in the campus ministry. Many of these students are from our local United Methodist Churches—the ones we saw baptized, confirmed, and throughout our youth groups. These students are also from United Methodist Churches around the globe who find themselves studying at the University of Arizona or Pima Community College. Yet there are also a large percentage of students who have never set foot in a United Methodist Church or even any church before. A lot of these students come to us because their friend, room-
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mate, or significant other invites them. Some simply see or experience an outreach activity. We have baptized three students in the last few years and are excited as we anticipate another baptism in October. The Wesley Foundation is more than just “taking care of our own,” we are committed to growing the ministry and discipleship for the transformation of the world. Beyond our weekly worship and dinner, the campus ministry is also active in missions, small groups, Bible studies, and more. We have gone on mission trips to Mexico, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Guatemala, and New York, and will be going to San Francisco this May for our 2011 week-long mission trip. In addition to our monthly mission activities, the students have continued a decade-long commitment to tutor children at TMM Family Services four days a week. One college student/elementary student tutoring pair worked together to allow the child to advance from a first grade reading level to his appropriate fifth grade reading level in one year. That is not all. Our small group ministry, known as Living In Faith Everyday or LIFE groups, which meet bi-monthly for prayer and Bible Study, continues to thrive and has swelled to six distinct groups. Campus Ministry reaches students at a pivotal point in their lives. After “what college are you going to?” the most asked question to them is, “what do you want
to do for a career?” The Wesley Foundation is committed to not only making disciples, but great leaders in the world and in our church. We have a top-notch Student Leadership Team comprised of eight students who are selected by the board and the director. Coincidentally, this year, six out of the eight are from local UM churches in the Desert Southwest. They whole-heartedly facilitate this growing ministry—a ministry for students by students. They are instrumental in planning and executing weekly worship, community outreach, coordinating with the district and conference connectional teams, communicating our message in various means to a variety of different
“The students Foundation of our audiences, student program and activity planning, and helping to coordinate every other aspect of the Wesley Foundation including collecting a bi-monthly offering to help fund the ministry. The leadership development does not stop at the Student Leadership Team. There is an all-student worship band, LIFE group leaders, an outreach volunteer team and more. The ministry is committed to inviting and giving all who are part of the community a volunteer role. The students of the Wesley Foundation are the leaders of our church. From this group I see the bright future of the United Methodist Church: lay leaders, council chairpersons, and even ministers. In fact, we have had several students from
the campus ministry go on to answer their call to ordained ministry. We have seen these students graduate seminary and begin to serve our churches in the Desert Southwest. Many of them attribute their time being nurtured in campus ministry as pivotal to their call. None of this could have happened without our local churches working together to make campus ministry happen in The Desert Southwest Conference. We are some of the countless faces behind your dollars. â€
of the Wesley are the leaders church.â€?
Photo courtesy of Rev. Dee Dee Azhikakath Campus ministry allows for outreach to students, but also allows students to impact their communities.
A UMNS file photo by Ronny Perry
Photo courtesy of Rev. Dee Dee Azhikakath
Mission and worship opportunities provided though campus ministries keep young people connected to the church at a time when many leave their local church and fall away.
Fall 2010 | Transformation | 7
Q&A with J. clif Editor’s note: At the 2010 session of The Desert Southwest Annual Conference, Dr. J. Clif Christopher, CFRE spent a full day discussing the many reasons people give and how churches can compete for the charitable dollar. Christopher is the author of “Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate” and founder of the Horizons Stewardship Company which has led consultations in more
A UMNS graphic 8 | Transformation | Fall 2010
than 300 churches in all phases of building, finance, and church growth. Christopher has also been an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church since 1975. He sat down with the editors of Transformation to expand and reflect on some of the issues brought up at Annual Conference.
Photos by Don Benton
christopher Why are you passionate about Stewardship? I’m convinced that the church is the only institution on the face of the earth that has a real and genuine opportunity to change the world. The more support that we can give to the church, the better chance we have of bringing about genuine transformation of our world. I get pretty darn passionate at making our churches as successful at doing that as they can possibly be. What made you decide to start the Horizon Stewardship Company? What led you to that sort of a career from being a pastor? All of the appointments I had as a minister involved significant transformation. I relocated two churches, had building programs, and had multiple capital campaigns. I discovered there wasn’t a whole lot of help to teach you how. As I learned how to avoid some of the pitfalls, I found myself being asked by bishops and others if I would mind in assisting other churches. I was happy to do that. Eventually that grew and grew until there was more demand for some guidance and eventually (that) led to forming my company and being appointed to run it instead of a local church. What inspired you to write “Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate”? I began sharing with conferences and local churches some of the principles that are found in the book. The book is inspired by realizing what non-profits know that churches don’t know. I wanted to spread that message as broadly and as rapidly as I could. I began to do that with a series of speaking engagements and as I got more and more questions as to how to go about doing what they were learning, eventually I sat down and tried to put it all in the book. The book itself has launched a sequel because the book has generated questions that I had not fully anticipated. The sequel, [titled “Whose Offering Plate is it?” available in October], responds to 17 different questions that I have received around the
country from people who have either read the book or heard the seminar. At Annual Conference, you mentioned the number one reason people give is because they believe in the cause and that the church “wouldn’t know what to do with $1 million.” Why is that the case? I found the church seems to shy away from major donors. Where other non-profits gravitate to them, our pastors and our church leaders will almost intentionally stay away from them so as to not be accused of “pasturing the money.” It’s a huge mistake and it sends the message to those that have those kind of gift opportunities that the church is not nearly as interested as hospitals and colleges are because they get a great deal more attention (from hospitals and colleges) than from the church. The other reason has frankly been our history. People give to successful organizations. They have measuring sticks by which they judge the win-loss records of that organization in choosing to give to them. The United Methodist Church has, in the eyes of a large number of talented, professional, wealthy people, failed in its mission by membership attendance, professions of faith, etc. They see a church that is failing, not succeeding in its mission and therefore they believe any significant gift to it may be wasted. What’s the first thing a church can do to change that image? Begin to share the life-changing stories that occur in our local churches all the time. In hearing those stories, persons are able to evaluate us through the lens of changed lives… and that’s what they’re not hearing. Persons want to give where they hear stories of lives being improved. The church tends to keep a lot of their stories to themselves. We need to take advantage of every Sunday morning, sharing stories of lives that have been positively impacted by Christ and the church. story continues on page 10 Fall 2010 | Transformation | 9
J. Clif Christopher | Continued from page 9
How should most churches conduct their newsletters? Every single one of them needs to have a story in it. Not so much announcements, but a story. And it needs to be as personable as possible and told in the first person if possible. Why should pastors be given a donor list? The number one reason that pastors should have access to the giving of their members is that it’s probably the best available diagnostic tool into the spiritual health of that particular member. It was Billy Graham who said, “The last thing guarding somebody’s heart is their wallet.” We’re not in the business of getting people’s wallets. But if we’re able to understand what somebody’s doing with their wallet, it gives us the best opportunity of helping to get their hearts for Jesus Christ. It’s not fool-proof, but one of the best things we have. The second chief reason, it can be a very dynamic tool in helping to evaluate lay leadership in the life of the church.
I think it is vital that they learn basic financial management and how to do that as a Christian. What do you say to critics who say, “We’re in the Jesus business, not the money-making business.” ? They’re absolutely right. Frankly, if we were concentrating on what Jesus really had to say we would be talking a lot more about money than we do. Jesus referenced his concern about the use of material possessions in one out of every six verses. If we really want our pastors to be more like Jesus, we should insist that one out of every six Sundays our pastors preach to us about money. Our members are more in love with money than they are with alcohol, gambling, somebody else’s spouse, and all of the other vices. The biggest sin we have to overcome to truly trust Jesus is our love of money.
Is there a piece of advice regarding stewardship or fund-raising that you hear a lot that you wish would go away? Have you experienced anything that you definitely will not do again What can churches learn from secular while trying to raise money for a non-profit organizations? church? I think one of the biggest things I can’t think of something that is simply in how they reference their was a terrible mistake. I can think of supporters. Churches tend to referthe thing that I’m learning over the ence their supporters as members. years that I think we should do more Non-profits always think in terms of of—ask! Don’t be afraid to personally donors. The church tends to leave an ask. It is a huge learning step for most impression that all of these people of our pastors and our lay leaders. Yet have an obligation (because of their every year we’re finding our members membership) to give. And yet those being personally asked more and same persons continually remind us more by other non-profits, and each that they’re not following their obligayear our donors are getting more and tion. We need to learn to look at our more accustomed to being asked. people as though they have a genuine If there’s one singular thing that I choice. They’re choosing whether to think our senior pastors at our larger give or not. We may not like it, but it Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate is churches must learn more about how is a fact. Non-profits never forget available at Cokesbury.com to do, it is how to ask. They are at a that those persons whom they are great disadvantage when they don’t. serving today can first thing in the I’m hearing this from church laity themselves who are asking me, morning choose not to support them anymore. They’re always “why is it that I am asked three or four times a year by other nonmindful that that can change. profits in one-on-one, personal situations, but my church ignores me?” They’re wondering, “Why aren’t my gifts more valued?” How can young adults start learning or contributing to financial stewardship in the church? Finally, how would you describe your experience of speaking at The I think number one is probably to teach those in leadership Desert Southwest Annual Conference? to teach and train. We have to begin prior to people ever joining Wonderful hospitality. Randy Bowman did an outstanding to teach them what discipleship is all about. Stewardship is a job. The Conference was extremely gracious in its response. I subset of discipleship. And this is what we’re not teaching. We’re not teaching high expectations when people join. I would encour- would love to come back… in the winter time. † age all young adults to take a Christian financial planning class. 10 | Transformation | Fall 2010
Excerpted from the upcoming Whose Offering Plate Is It? h leaders ngs are, pastors and churc thi y wa the ge an ch to us “For nors.” Donors their “members” as “do today must begin to see d various difto give, when to give an have a choice in what d otherwise is to give. For us to preten ferent reasons on why when give a whole lot more foolish. These donors t
ng a whole lo they feel they are getti ults. They want to back. What they want is resons the world is betributi know that from their con know that lives are be to ing changed. They want d that their gifts made a ing positively affected an rk on this mindset, you difference. If you can wo ve a different future for will have a chance to lea your son or daughter.”
“The biggest tr ansformation w e have to mak to me, is to le e, it seems arn to compete for the charitab We are consiste le dollar. ntly losing mar ket share (a pe charitable dolla rc en tage of rs given) and on e of the biggest that we are not reasons is making our case in a way that is ing to the person convincs who have dolla rs to give. So w here? I argue th ho loses at th a case for and w e church is worth making hat we do is un ique to all othe profits. We ha r nonve to learn to fight for the ch convincing case urch with s or we will soon find ourselves a church.” without
by J. Clif Christop her copyright © 2010 by Abingdon Pres s. To order call 1-80 0-672-1789 or visit cokesbury.com
op crisis? The ] ic m o n o c e ready and e [current us are now midst of th to e n th e st in li y it answer, not e opportun there is an ades would if c e g d n r ri e fo d o n “What is th wh wo about that people . To people We can talk k . is a e e y n it o sp n is u to th rt s po an gu e can fe greater th nces beggin s Christ. W a li su st a Je t in u h y o g n b u a a ro o. in m ll them is offered th e’s portfoli “yes” and te re than on eternal life o w m o h d e rt d we can say, a n sh e a ri h is or nou rary all this eeds to be ent cancers n v t re a p t th o l e n u how tempo l st e’s so d wil is Ea r. in the worl how it is on nts and it e t y e u m o n o b o m a m y lk e a ta ll th Frid ioners the Good bout how a with parish a r fo rs lk a ta e rd y o n g a w c in a o We hear, e have out after g eath, but w people to t ith is all ab e fa g t a o h t aches or d w y p it u tun me to raise real oppor a This is a ti e v a ve Jesus h e ars. W uch they lo e m t u w o sh h h . it im k w to spea rch could easily procla say that they had faith in e v a h e w t ts uld bu n Chu ent accoun g. They co e America th in le p the retirem overflowin o e e re v P e is a h w is t h ts o n T n did lm? bank accou denly they ar overwhe d fe su id n d e r h when their o w h but rely on fait ve all else, be heard.” they able to Christ abo re e w answer and d e n d a e p e u n e y e is ra they felt th our time to and this is t n e m o m our Fall 2010 | Transformation | 11
Apportionments are I
t’s sometimes hard to envision, but what you give in church on Sunday morning, a part of which goes far beyond the local church through apportionments, is the heart and soul of ministry in The Desert Southwest Conference and the entire United Methodist Church. Apportionments are one of the most significant ways in which we United Methodists can remain connected to each other and to the world at large. They allow our contributions to touch not only others in our own congregation, but also to reach out to those in need throughout our communities, our country, and indeed our entire world. Without your apportionments, many vital ministries that we often take for granted would come to a screeching halt. Think first of the many disasters we’ve had in the past decade: oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, earthquakes in Haiti, the World Trade Center bombings, Hurricane Katrina in the United States, tsunamis in Asia, worldwide health, and hunger throughout the world. In all cases, our very own United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has been there providing
immediate and long-term relief. And it is your apportionments that help pay the UMCOR administrative costs so that 100% of the advance special gifts, designated for particular needs, go to these hurting people. Your apportionments also help start new United Methodist congregations, providing for those who are desperately seeking to fulfill their spiritual needs. There may never have been a greater need to bring the light of Christ to the world than for the hurting and lonely world we live in. The success with which we are able to start new congregations may very well determine the future of our entire denomination, and, more importantly, those people who so desperately need to hear our story. So if you stop by Living Water in Gilbert, Journey in Maricopa, AGOMS in Las Vegas, Spirit Song in Peoria, the Korean Fellowship in Tucson, or… well, you get the picture… you’ll see the world being transformed one life at a time thanks to the dollars you give. Also consider that you touch many lives through your support of UMOM,
Wesley Community Center, and Justa Center in Phoenix; TMM Family Services in Tucson; and United Methodist Social Ministries in Las Vegas. Each time you contribute your apportionments, you are helping to feed, house, and provide hope to the neediest of the needy in our communities, and all this is possible through the ministries of these outstanding social service agencies that you support as a part of your United Methodist connection. Maybe the thought of helping to send a kid to summer camp for personal and spiritual growth excites you. Well, your apportionments do exactly that. Take a drive out to our camps and visit Brandon and Chris Hill at Mingus Mountain or Tracey Brown at Potosi Pines. See the beautiful natural settings where people, young and old, experience God. This is only possible through the United Methodist connection and your apportionment dollars, and it doesn’t stop there. Think about helping out at this year’s Young People’s Convention in Prescott, and see even more ministry that you have made possible. It is often experiences such
Photo by Jim Parkhurst
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Miller, U.S. Coast Guard
12 | Transformation | Fall 2010
From Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries to worldwide disaster cleanup, The United Methodist Connection allows for local church members to support ministry around the world.
Ministry at Work
By Randy Bowman, Conference Treasurer
as these that become an important part of our spiritual formation and even lead some of our young people to feel the call to ministry. Without you, this ministry couldn’t happen. When you contribute you also keep some of our churches open, providing direct ministry to a flock in need. These churches are sometimes rural churches that offer the only Christian worship opportunity for miles around. They are sometimes urban churches in periods of particular challenge. About 20% of our churches count on your help at any point in time in order to continue to provide ministry to all of God’s children. So be proud of the support you currently provide to Community UMC in Page, El Mesias in Nogales, Creighton in Phoenix, or Fort Yuma UMC, along with many others. Your dollars minister to countless physically and spiritually-hungry people that you will never even meet, and the list continues to grow. How about campus ministries? At a time when many of our young adults are on their own for the first time in their
lives while away at college, your apportionments support campus ministries at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona. These ministries offer students a safe environment to gather for fellowship and honest discussions of faith and life in a college environment. They offer opportunities for Bible study and service, and they offer the love of Jesus when we cannot be there to do so. Let’s not forget about seminary education. We are at a point in time where the need has never been greater for vibrant young clergy in our denomination, and your apportionments help support scholarships for this very expensive undertaking. Just ask Brian Schlemmer, Eve Williams, or any of the other awarded students what their Board of Ordained Ministry scholarships meant to them. And make sure to keep your eye on these young clergy as they help lead us confidently into the future of our faith. Both close at home and around the world, there are many amazing ways in
which you do ministry through your apportionment contributions, and only a few have been touched in this brief article. Some of the other articles in this edition of Transformation explore in more detail some of the individual cases of ministry at work, but truly you support ministry in some way in every line of our conference budget and beyond. Some ministry areas are very exciting, while others are more mundane, but all are important and none of this ministry would be possible without you—your time, your energy, and your dollars. From caring for AIDS orphans in Africa, to sharing the story of Jesus with someone just down the street that is desperately seeking hope, we can change the entire world through our connectional system. Together we can and will make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. †
Photo by Jim Parkhurst A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose Fall 2010 | Transformation | 13
The connection: a life-giving movement for the healing of the world? By Rev. Larry Hollon, General Secretary of United Methodist Communications
ecently someone “deeply involved in budgeting” for a local church contacted United Methodist Communications seeking financial information. When we suggested contacting the conference treasurer, the response was complete lack of knowledge about who, or what, a conference treasurer is. This is not an isolated occurrence. We often encounter United Methodists who are unaware of how our connection works, what it is doing in the world or what it teaches. Is the connection connected? An anecdote does not make a trend. However, when asked by United Methodist Communications researchers if their local church understands the concept of connectionalism, only 18 percent of pastors and 12 percent of laity strongly agree that they
understand it. When clergy and laypersons are asked individually if they understand the church’s structure, 38 percent of clergy and 17 percent of laity strongly affirm that they understand it. Couple this with participation in connectional giving and the story is consistent. The most widely observed offering in the church is One Great Hour of Sharing, yet only 28 percent of United Methodist congregations participate in it. This is the highest rate of participation for any of the general church offerings. At a time when global realities call for deeper understanding of our interrelatedness and interdependencies, the fraying of the connectional system of The United Methodist Church is a cause for concern. The lack of awareness about how we are connected from the local
Rev. Larry Hollon
church to the conference and from the conference to the general church is important, not only to us as a faith community but also to the world. Let me illustrate. It is noteworthy that the World Health Organization is reporting that malaria is claiming fewer children today than in previous years. What does this have to do with the connection? I believe when the people of The United Methodist Church entered into the fight against this killer disease, we encouraged others and helped, along with other partners, to focus on something the world could do together: tackle a disease of poverty. It was our scale partnering with others of scale that gave hope that together we could alleviate human suffering and death in a global movement. Our connectedness was, and is, an immea-
surable asset in the mission to embody the leading causes of life. To quote Gary Gunderson’s marvelous phrase,“If we reclaim an understanding that the connection is about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (that’s scale), and that discipleship is expressed through missional outreach to the world (that’s scale), we can participate with God in the transformation of the world (that’s real scale).” I know there are many complex reasons the connection is fraying. But I’m asking a simple question. What if the connection were viewed less as a bureaucratic organizational model that’s a drag on finances and more as a life-giving movement for the healing of the world? What if we viewed it, interpreted it and embodied it in this way? What might happen? †
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose Duwahabi Ogoba and her two children from Lekki, Nigeria, are protected from malaria by an insecticide-treated mosquito net provided by the Nothing But Nets campaign. United Methodist Bishop João Somane Machado of the Mozambique Area cites the importance of initiatives like Nothing But Nets, founded by the people of The United Methodist Church, Sports Illustrated, NBA Cares and the United Nations Foundation to raise money to purchase and distribute sleeping nets. Bishop Machado stresses that education must accompany net distribution to best prevent the disease that kills one in four African children under the age of five.
Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in Rev. Larry Hollon’s blog. To comment or to follow Rev. Hollon’s blog, go to http://churchcultureandmedia.blogspot.com. Fall 2010 | Transformation | 15
Funding New Church Starts Economically, Efficiently, and Effectively— Through Multiplication By Rev. Tom Butcher, Director of New Faith Communities
here’s a church in the middle of Delaware that was planted by another church that had been declining steadily for a number of years. The declining (dying) church received a gift of five acres of land and decided to move a few miles away to their “new” land. Several modest financial gifts were then given by the members to put up a 5,000 square foot building and guess what happened? This old (now new) church started to grow. It kept growing week by week, until it grew to more than 100 in attendance, then 200 and after four years on the new property they were averaging more than 400 at two different worship services. This church then decided to build a beautiful “permanent” sanctuary on this newly acquired five acres. However, one little thing bothered the pastor of this church. While he was more than delighted at the church’s great growth and the enthusiasm that came with it, he knew that many of the new folks were driving at least 40 minutes up from the south where there were literally hundreds of new homes being built every year. In his heart of hearts he believed that this new community 20 miles to the south really needed a new church. 16 | Transformation | Fall 2010
The more he thought about it, the more he prayed. And the more he prayed, the more he was convinced that—for this growing community—to have a new church was the right thing to do. So he called a church meeting and asked his folks to put their building plans on hold temporarily and to set aside $50,000 to help start a new church. The members agreed since they also knew of several families that were driving that 20 miles, many of them two or three times a week for their children’s, youth, and family’s ministries. The District Superintendent was called and was asked if there could be a church planter appointed to the new location by next July. The District Superintendent thought this was possible since it was only October and the Bishop and Cabinet would have plenty of time to work on it. The pastor also said that after Christmas he would invite all those who wanted to go and be a part of this new church start to come forward at the last Sunday worship service in January to be considered as “missionaries” to the new church. The District Superintendent was delighted and thanked the pastor and the church for their
UMNS photo by Michael Henninger An infant is baptized during a worship service at Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community in Pittsburgh, Pa. The congregation uses drama in place of a traditional sermon and attracts a diverse group of worshippers that include grandparents, young tattooed and pierced adults, homeless people, and families from the city’s wealthier suburbs. The church was started in 2004 by the Rev. Jim Walker, a United Methodist minister, and his friend Jeff Eddings, a Presbyterian pastor. Attendance has tripled in the past two years.
gracious support. The last Sunday in January came soon enough for the pastor. At the end of the second service, he asked all those that wanted to help start the new church to come forward and stand in front of the altar facing the congregation. When all of them were finally in place, the pastor said that he just gulped. Not only were there 40 of his members standing together and ready to go, he said they were “some of the best leaders of the church and tithers too!” Nonetheless, he blessed them and prayed over them and off they went to start a brand new church 20 miles to the south. Today, six years later, that new church is worshipping in a converted bowling alley having three similar services on Sunday morning and averaging more than 500 in total attendance. All this was made possible because one pastor and one church decided that there was a new community being formed that did not have a United Methodist presence. The Bishop and Cabinet just happened to appoint a clergy couple in their early 40’s who had been praying that they might be able to do a new church start together. They had already
attended a new church start “boot camp” on their own before the District Superintendent called them to see if they “might” be interested. Besides the initial $50,000 the existing church put in, the conference added another $100,000. By the time the couple officially began their appointment on July 1 of that year, they had 75 people waiting for them who had already given away food, clothing and ice cream to those in need in the newly formed community. When they launched that following Christmas Eve, they did so with more than 250 people at that service! All living things multiply themselves—even churches! This true story serves as just one great example of how a new church start can be funded economically, efficiently, and effectively through a church open to multiplying itself. † Editor’s note: For more information on the multiplication of churches, see the September 15 issue of The Desert Connection at http://desertsouthwestconference.org/desertconnec tion. Fall 2010 | Transformation | 17
What it means to have a home By Nichole Barnes, UMOM
is that if you put in one hundred percent, UMOM will see you get out one hundred and forty percent!” Wayne said. “They are always doing something special, whether it is the wonderful care for our children, medical help for my wife, or the training I’ve had to become a chef.” Known for his cornbread and delicious meat specialties, Wayne’s food has become a hit with residents and staff at UMOM alike. All of Wayne’s success, all of his smiles, and his family’s joy at being together have been made possible because of faithful financial supporters who have generously dug deep during these UMOM serves the poorest and most vulnerable in the comtough times to give to one of The Desert Southwest Conference’s munity. Urban Ministries: UMOM New Day Centers. Donations, big and small, were the catalyst that made it possible for UMOM to give aving a home is something we often take for granted. Wayne’s family the extra forty percent. A home is not only a shelter from the elements. It is a Over the past four decades, thousands of Arizona families place where we gather together for meals, discuss our have been welcomed home by UMOM New Day Centers. Since plans and dreams for the future, and create memories. Because its inception in 1964 by the local United Methodist Churches as “home” means all of this and more, being homeless is more than United Methodist Outreach Ministries, UMOM has grown into just enduring life on the streets. Having no home means having Arizona’s largest homeless shelter for families. UMOM’s mission no safety, no security, no assurance of a meal every day, is to provide homeless families and individuals with safe shelter, and worse. housing and supportive services to assist them in reaching their For Wayne, the challenge of homelessness didn’t happen greatest potential. UMOM’s vision is to be a leader in breaking overnight. It developed with time and unexpected tragedy. Arthe cycle of homelessness. riving in Phoenix from New York, Wayne was able to find work UMOM does not just give a “hand out,” it gives a “hand and he met a wonderful woman who became his wife. Wayne up.” All you have to do is visit UMOM’s new campus at 3333 had a good job, a home, a wife and two children. But when this East Van Buren Street in Phoenix, Arizona to see what this family felt like everything was going their way, the economic ministry has recently done. The seven-acre campus, which at crisis hit Phoenix and the comtotal occupancy will accommodate pany where Wayne was employed. 156 families, offers basic necessities Wayne lost his job and his ability to support himself. › $40 provides food, shelter and basics for a plus education, recreation, health screenings and assessments, 24-hour In order to find and secure family for one day security, hygiene items, and cleanliving arrangements, the family lived with several different family › $65 provides one month of wellness care for a ing supplies as well as resources for financial assistance, job training and members for a while. As Wayne family placement, continuing education, said, “I had always said to myself that I would never end up hav› $200 provides diapers for 24 infants and counseling, medical services, legal assistance, and much more. ing my family live in a homeless toddlers for one month Walking through the UMOM shelter—absolutely never.” campus you’ll find a wellness center, But in desperation, Wayne and › $400 provides shelter, support and education for chapel, Kids Den for after-school his wife decided that living together a family for eleven days activities, the Clothes Closet, and a as a family was better than living apart so they came to UMOM New › $1,000 provides transitional housing for a community dining facility providing three nutritious meals daily plus Day Centers to see what opportunifamily for one month culinary skills education. Further, ties were open to them. “What I found out at UMOM › $2,400 provides rent subsidy to a family for UMOM’s Child Development Center one year
18 | Transformation | Fall 2010
UMOM New Day Centers is supported through The United Methodist Connection and serves as one example of how local churches support ministry far beyond themselves as part of that connection. It would be next to impossible for an individual church to support an operation as large as UMOM by itself. When many work together, UMOM is able to raise hundreds and even thousands of families out of poverty. The United Methodist Connection allows for churches around The Desert Southwest Conference and The United Methodist Church to work together to be the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth. Photos courtesy of UMOM
is licensed and accredited, providing an environment which gives children the opportunity to explore, discover and interact with their world in a warm classroom setting. It was in UMOM’s Child Development Center that one-year-old Uriel was diagnosed by childcare specialists to be delayed in speech development. With the aid of a speech therapist, Uriel is currently testing at the age appropriate level in language skills. Uriel first came to UMOM at the age of 20 months with her mom, Michelle. As Michelle put the pieces of her life back together, one thing was certain—her daughter Uriel was her top priority. Michelle wanted to find a supportive environment where both she and her daughter could blossom. As Michelle shares her personal story, she expands on what life has been like since she came to UMOM. “Everything they do for us, it’s just incredible,” she said. “UMOM is a chance to build a solid future, a future that provides for my family.” It is the future that Michelle is planning for. Currently enrolled at Gateway Community College in the Nursing Program, Michelle has charted out her personal goal to achieve her Master’s Degree in Nursing and focus her talents on working specifically with diabetic children. At UMOM, the belief is that every family deserves a chance at a self-sufficient life, especially for the children. Now more than ever, investing dollars to secure the future of UMOM’s services is essential as the need for those services is at an all-time high. UMOM is counting on your dollars for ministries like theirs and so are our neighbors like Wayne and Michelle who are given the help they need to get on their feet again. †
Ministry dollars in action help hundreds of children like Uriel (top) in UMOM’s licensed Child Development Center. For more information on UMOM’s services, visit http://umom.org or call 602.275.7852.
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Transformation Vo l u M e 2 i s s u e 2
the Desert southwest ConferenCe
suMMer 2010 | Desert southwest ConferenCe CoMMuniCations | www.DesertsouthwestConferenCe.org
together to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.
Published on Nov 3, 2010
Published on Nov 3, 2010
Fall 2010 edition (Vol. 2, Issue 3) of Transformation, the Ministry Magazine of The Desert Sothwest Conference of The United Methodist churc...