Christ’s Foundry Focuses Outward With Ministry With Grant
Church uses money to expand FestiKIDS program that includes food distribution and bible study
Even newer congregations with mission in their DNA need to take bold action to keep their focus on loving their neighbors and welcoming new people into Christian discipleship. Formed in 2007 through gatherings in Bachman Lake area apartments, Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission has a heart for being Church in new and creative ways.
“The mission of Christ’s Foundry United Methodist Mission is to bring positive transformation to the North Love Field/Bachman Lake area through holistic services with children, youth and families,” said Rev. Amy Spaur, senior pastor at Christ’s Foundry.
“We believe that fighting poverty and promoting justice are an integral part of our Christian faith and are tangible expressions of God’s commandment to love our neighbor. Christ’s Foundry’s holistic approach to relationship-building is innovative in that it addresses not only physical needs, but also social and spiritual needs at play in the cycle of poverty.”
With the assistance of a Ministry With Grant, the church implemented the FestiKIDS program targeted at the families and children in the surrounding area.
FestiKIDS leveraged an already-successful effort by expanding its food distribution program during the school year, which combines providing boxes of food to families along with conducting bible studies. The vision was to work directly with the communities at surrounding apartment complexes by providing programs and food distribution on-site at the various “community rooms” of the apartment complexes. The activities included skits, puppet shows, music, dancing and other interactive activities that share the good news of Jesus Christ.
From summer through the end of 2019, FestiKIDS connected the church with approximately 250 individuals. While the programming with children occurred, a team of people, whose sole responsibility is to converse with neighbors, listen to families, and build relationships.
Leaders discovered that the Parent Association at their neighboring elementary school is very active and open to partnerships. The efforts sparked ongoing relationships with six families, two apartment managers and several school officials. These are all entry points to even broader conversations within the community, and with more and more neighbors in an ever-changing area.
At their mid-point ministry assessment, leaders acknowledged their wrestling with a difficult dynamic: “We desire truly relational, transformative and not transactional ministries, yet we realize through this work that sometimes the people we seek relationship with are themselves seeking a transactional experience. We also continue to ask ourselves how to listen more, listen more deeply, and engage with community partners to have a deep impact in our community.”
The congregation is using this experimental ministry to re-focus itself outwardly toward neighbors.
“Perhaps the greatest fruit of this ministry so far is how it has energized and mobilized our own congregants,” Rev. Spaur said. “We have recruited, equipped and deployed more than 30 Christ’s Foundry volunteers in this work. We have also reoriented our calendar and finances to look outward.”
FestiKIDS is an excellent example of a church using a new ministry effort as a stepping-stone toward fruitful, outwardly focused mission and discipleship.
The Center for Missional Outreach is offering two rounds of Ministry With Grants in 2020 to help local churches and UM-related organizations catalyze creative or innovative missional efforts. The due dates for applications are April 1 and Oct. 1. It is our belief that intentional relationships with and among the marginalized are the foundation for a revived church that embodies the justice and compassion witnessed in Jesus Christ.
Please email Rev. Andrew Fiser, an Associate Director for the Center for Missional Outreach, if you are interested in learning more about Ministry With Grants. Schedule a time now to talk about your ideas or even review a draft of your application.
Published: Monday, March 23, 2020