A beautiful sunrise. A baby’s smile. A beloved hymn. Seeing a loved one after a long absence. The joy you feel when you help someone who is struggling. A healthcare worker making sacrifices to care for those infected with Covid-19. A passage of scripture that speaks to your heart. These things – and so much more – are blessings are blessings from God. So the next time you wonder where God is in your life, just take a look around. You’ll have a hard time finding anywhere God is not.
It’s helpful – and at times absolutely essential – to hear others tell you how much God loves you, the difference Jesus can make in your life or why it matters to put God at the center of your life. But you don’t have to go through life only depending on other people’s experiences. And you don’t need to spend years wondering if you’re worthy enough. And you certainly don’t have to spend a lifetime figuring out what you need to do to experience it. God’s grace is a free gift. It’s available to you right now. And it’s God’s way of giving you exactly the love you need in exactly the way you need it at exactly the moment you need it.
By Melinda Shunk
Children's Ministry Coordinator
You may think that church vans are sitting alone in empty church parking lots out in the hot summer sun. Of course, we are not using them to pick up and deliver children, youth, and adults to our buildings or events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so why would they leave their parking spots?
It would be easy to think that those reliable church vans and buses could not possibly be used again until the church returns to building use. The pandemic has required people to get creative with online worship and lessons. But some have pressed to think outside the normal walls and WiFi use in ministry which has led to porch visits, food delivering, dropping off Bible lessons supplies, and celebrating a masked milestone in a driveway. It has been amazing to see the church working in the community; but how did those ministry teams get out into their communities?
Tiffany Jones from Beebe shared, “When using our own cars, it created expensive mileage costs.” They also found their loads of goodies that they were taking to family’s homes fit better in the van during their multiple stops each day.
When they drove down long driveways or came unannounced, people always knew it was the church when they saw the church van logos. Tiffany also shared, “They would see us and immediately come to the porch to greet us. Many commented they knew it was the church as soon as they looked out the window.”
Well, you know who else looks out the window: neighbors! Neighbors saw that the FUMC van was making a visit. Neighbors asked what was in the Vacation Bible School box that they saw delivered to the front porch from the church. Neighbors saw masked church staff and volunteers driving the van to bring faith, hope, and love to members during the quarantine.
Church vans need to be used for everything you do in ministry now as a way for others to witness that church is happening outside the church walls. They may want to be part of a church that they can see delivering weekly faith, hope, and love. When people see that church logo driving through the neighborhood, they see the hands and feet of Jesus in their neighborhood.
I know that not all churches have the luxury of a church vehicle, but you can very cost-effectively purchase Church Logo Door Magnets. When a church staff or volunteer drives their own vehicle with a church logo driver door magnet, neighbors know this is not just a friend stopping by for a visit.
You can contact Digital Print & Imaging Mike Burnett at 902 Cumberland St., Little Rock, AR 72202, 501-376-2200, 501-376-2202 (fax), or email@example.com for a 12×18 Church Logo door magnet. I purchased two for $60 and had to pay postage. I think that is a great deal for any church!
Beebe First UMC’s church van
501-324-8000, ext. 30
July, 29, 2020 – Little Rock, AR: In accordance with the guidelines issued by Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC, Bishop Gary Mueller has issued updated guidance for ARUMC children’s, youth and campus ministries effective immediately.
“With the COVID-19 numbers continuing to stay dangerously high, the Arkansas United Methodist Churches will remain in ARUMC Stage 2 and follow all guidelines that were provided in June 2020. With assistance from my task force, it was deemed necessary to update the ARUMC Stage 2 guidance for three particular ministries,“ stated Bishop Mueller. “Again, due to safety concerns, I want to urge all churches to continue to go slow with reopening and meeting maximum gathering numbers.”
The updated guidelines for ARUMC Stage 2 for ministries with children can be found here. The updated guidelines for ARUMC Stage 2 for youth ministries can be found here. The updated guidelines for ARUMC Stage 2 for in-person campus ministries can be found here.
It’s easy to understand that you need God because you experience it in a multitude of ways every day. But it seems odd – perhaps even theologically inappropriate – to say that God needs you because it seems to contradict the fact that God is all powerful. Yet it is the truth for a very simple reason. God chooses to need to be in relationship with you. That’s why God seeks you out, goes to the extraordinary length of sending Jesus, has a broken heart when you turn away and celebrates when you ‘come home’. All of which illustrates what your heart already knows – you are made to be in relationship with God.