Last spring, Klamath Falls United Methodist Church was invited to join the newly formed Rural Church Initiative. The U.S. Census bureau defines rural communities as those with a population of less than 50,000. In the northwest, the UMC has four districts predominated by a rural landscape, and Crater Lake District is one of them. Most of what you read here comes from the initial materials put together to invite churches into the initiative. If you would like to read the entire packet (we hope most of you will), please contact the office for a copy.
Many of our churches are facing a “tipping point” where they either can tip upward or downward. The inertia is clearly atrophy characterized by aging congregations with shrinking resources. The opportunity is to become a highly visible faith community that is transformed by the surrounding neighborhood yet grounded in our understanding of the gospel of Christ. We clearly are in a critical window of time when strategic investment in our community and church could make a long-term difference.
There is way more to the initiative than I have space to share here, but you will be hearing from our council chair, Chrys Dawes, and our lay leader, Jean Somerville Freeman, soon. They both attended the Northwest Leadership Institute last spring where they learned more about the initiative. Our immediate task at hand is to form a leadership team to work on this project. We will be attempting to build strength and competency into the local lay and clergy team around three primary practices that come out of the conference Innovation and Vitality Team: inclusion, innovation, and multiplication.
Our local team must include more members of the church outside of our council. Our council members spend a lot of time simply attending to the business of church. If you have a heart for our church and our community, I would urge you to consider joining us. The first step is to read through the initial packet of material and then meet with me to talk about your commitment.
On November 2, the district will be bringing the Innovation and Vitality Team to Roseburg for a day long training. If you are interested in attending that, please contact me asap for more info.
We live in interesting times, times that call for the love of Christ in so many ways. Won’t you consider being a part of spreading that love by joining with us in this initiative?