There is a new requirement for candidates for ordination – a Fruitfulness Project
Below is the project of one of this year's ordinands, B. Tubaugh.
Faith and Fitness Fridays
In the Fall of2012 a group of young mothers from the church and community approached me with an idea for ministry and outreach. They wanted to create a group where children could be active and learn about God. It combined two of their passions, both of which they knew I shared: spreading the Gospel and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Out of that vision, Faith and Fitness Fridays was born. The first and third Fridays of each month, second and third graders stay after school and meet in the gym. They must return a permission slip signed by their parents in order to take part. From 3:30-5:00 PM an average of 30 children share a snack, do fun exercises, play games, sing church camp songs, and take part in an interactive Bible story. Each session also averages around eight adult and youth volunteers.
This ministry project has shown fruit in the short year and a half of its existence. More children are taking part and they are learning stories about God and Jesus. Some children have even started coming to the church and bringing their families. The interaction and exposure has allowed me, as a pastor to the community, to get to know a variety of children and their parents. We have also been able to promote the importance of exercise, living an active and fun life, and eating healthy. The volunteers have also benefited. It has been an activity where younger mothers and fathers get a chance to be in ministry together. A few volunteers have joined us from other churches in the community.
Personally, this ministry project has demonstrated my fruitfulness by allowing me to be available in the community and teaching me to empower others. Part of my mission in making disciples is to care for the community, not only the people who are "members" of the church.
Faith and Fitness Fridays are a way of caring for a variety of people and meeting new parents. Also, I have been able to allow this ministry to be shaped by the faithful ideas of our young parents. It has been wonderful to see that I do not have to plan everything but can allow others to take ownership. This ministry has been wonderful in showing the community that Carson UMC is there to support people of all ages.
Faith and Fitness Fridays are making disciples by teaching young children about faith and allowing adults to put their faith in action. Education is important to the future of God's people because we have a story to tell. This time giv,es us the chance to pass that story on in an environment that is public and in the children's everyday world (right in their school). Additionally, there is a tendency in our country for young families to not feel disengaged from the life of the church. Faith and Fitness Fridays has become a ministry that is lead by young parents. It provides them an avenue where they can claim and share their faith within the life of the church.
I believe that Faith and Fitness Fridays are an avenue by which the love of God through Jesus Christ is transforming our world. Children are learning about God and Jesus Christ in a place other than the church. God is not restricted by the walls of the church building but is someone that they learn about in a school gym while they are sweating. I have already noticed these that children are willing and able to talk about God in public and to approach "Pastor Brody" out in the community without being shy. As a program, Faith and Fitness Fridays is in its second year and going strong. It is my prayer that this ministry will continue to re-establish the relevance of God in our daily lives, for both children and adults.