Is your congregation looking for a way to generate some interest in Change a Child’s Story?
Panora UMC received a $500 donation from the Panora Lion’s Club to purchase children’s books. Pastor Bev Marshall-Goodell decided not to spend any of the Lion’s Club donation until the congregation contributed at least another $500. On Sunday, January 22, Pastor Bev reminded the congregation that Jesus was a reader when she preached on the story of Jesus reading from the scroll Isaiah (Luke 4:14-21).
Pastor Marshall-Goodell told about her experience growing up with a lot of books in her childhood home. She talked about buying her sons and grandsons vinyl books that they could read in the bathtub. After, she shared some facts on children’s literacy in Iowa, and how reading is fundamental to many forms of academic learning and most forms of Bible study. The pastor invited the congregation to consider how they might choose to make a difference in the lives of Iowa children by making a financial donation or signing up to be part of a new planning group to select and purchase children’s books and plan a volunteer reading program during the closing hymn.
This congregation is not accustomed to such spontaneous special offerings, but it was a huge success. Two people offered to donate more money if the $500 matching funds were not obtained, but $569 was collected during that three-minute hymn. Seven people volunteered to serve on a planning group to choose books, organize some ways to distribute them, and determine how to best match volunteer reading buddies with children who need the help. In less than five minutes a new ministry was launched, and the congregation is now ready to begin setting goals.
Hope Made Real
The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church