“See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19)
Last fall, a team of six people from John Wesley UMC attended an event called the Ministry Hatchery, a training to help congregations dream up and plan for new ministries in their community. Together, we prayed about how God might be doing a new thing in the midst of our churches, and the team from JWUMC hatched a plan.
Already, our congregation has connections to several small businesses. Perhaps you’ve had a chance to taste Senor’s Cookies, or see pictures of beautiful cakes made by A Baker’s DreamHouse. Both of these small business use our church’s commercial kitchen as they continue to develop their business plans and grow their companies. And the people behind these businesses – Jay and Kyiamoni – have both expressed how grateful they are for the support of our church through the use of our building.
The team at the Hatchery wanted to find a way to make our relationship to Jay and Kyiamoni – and others like them! – to be a real ministry of our congregation. We wondered together what it would be like if we did more than let them use our kitchen. What if we worked on building real relationships of support for these small business, connecting them to people who might be able to offer them business advice, introduce them to others in the community, and help their small businesses thrive?
We’re still working on fully hatching our plan, but we’re excited to announce that the Baltimore-Washington Conference has committed to supporting this new idea with a grant of $5,000. This is a sign of their excitement about churches and communities willing to do something new in the name of Jesus. Our dream of helping small food business find resources and support is something they’re excited about helping us put into action in Hagerstown.
Soon, we’ll be able to share with you the specific plan we’re working on, and how we hope this new ministry will help us connect with new people in our community. Included in that plan will be details about how the grant money will be used (including helping to pay our church utility and maintenance bills). We’re planning an event dreamed up by our own Reggan C., one we’re calling Mac & Cheese-Us for Jesus! Look for more details coming soon, but get ready to bring in your best mac & cheese recipe for a cook-off, to taste others culinary creations, and to hear from the Hatchery team and others about how this new ministry will work. Save the date: Saturday, February 22, 3:00-5:00 in our church Social Hall.
God is always doing a new thing, inviting us into new ministries and new ways of reaching out in Jesus’ name. As you are always in prayer for our church, please continue to be: for all our existing ministries and for the new things emerging. And join us on February 23 for food, fun, and more information!