Streamlined Values To Help Focus Our Work With Neighbors
Ministry With grants to focus on unlocking creativity, compassion, justice
Missional outreach is an integral part of The United Methodist Church. In 2022 alone, United Methodists worked in mission and ministry in more than 110 countries and with 506 partners through Global Ministries and UMCOR. Grants totaling $51.9 million dollars were given to support worldwide responses to humanitarian crises, missionaries and building healthcare facilities. From the local church car washes and bake sales to multi-million dollar projects, United Methodists have a deep-running heritage in doing the work of missional outreach on every level.
The North Texas Conference assists local churches in faithfully witnessing in their own mission fields with the Ministry With values. The Center for Missional Outreach staff and members of the Advisory Board recently updated the Ministry With values – seven to five – to laser focus on what helps us unlock creativity, compassion and justice in our witness and work with neighbors. The new Ministry With values are:
- Long-term relationships: Build long-term relationships with and among neighbors and be in community with them, as opposed to short-term, one-time contact.
- Mutuality: Engage in a spirit of mutuality and deep listening, eager to understand and recognize neighbors’ gifts, dreams and skills, and assuming that we have things to learn and gain from neighbors.
- Strengths-based: Partner with neighbors and honor their often-undervalued talents, dreams and connections without doing what they can do for themselves.
- Systems over symptoms: Address the systems that perpetuate suffering, including racial inequity, rather than deal only with the symptoms.
- Collaborative: Leverage the gifts and relationships of local community partners.
Many of the Ministry With grant recipients embody these values in their ministry with neighbors.
The English Conversation Class hosted by First UMC Allen goes beyond a simple language lesson. It creates a space for connection, understanding and unity across diverse cultures and faiths. Immigrants seeking to improve their English find not just teachers, but welcoming neighbors who value their experiences and contributions. The class builds long-term relationships, fosters mutuality, celebrates strengths, tackles the systemic barrier of language access and leverages the collaborative power of a faith community.
Another project that embodies these values is Grace Avenue UMC's Summer Lunch Program in the Preston on the Lake community. When the program began Grace Avenue was providing food boxes to households, and through deep listening to family concerns, they identified a need for storing books in homes. Responding to this mutual understanding, Grace Avenue UMC secured a Ministry With grant to provide Little Library boxes for families. Collaborating with local schools and leveraging the power of children's love for books, the program ensures its reach extends beyond the summer months, creating a lasting impact on the community.
These are just two glimpses into the transformative power of the Ministry With values. When we prioritize long-term relationships, embrace mutuality, partner with strength, address systemic issues and leverage collaborative power, we can faithfully witness the love of Christ with creativity, justice and compassion. As we continue to embrace these values, we weave a future where every voice is heard, every strength is celebrated, and every community thrives!
Rev. Danielle Kim is the associate director for research and development for the North Texas Conference.
Published: Monday, January 29, 2024