How does our church fulfill it’s mission? These stories demonstrate how the ministries of Dodge City First United Methodist Church are helping people encounter Jesus Christ every day–in ways that they might believe and be made new! Expand the full article to read these amazing stories.
Strength to Serve
Sarah Godbey, our Minister of Visitation estimates there are 20 or more persons in our congregation who are the primary caregivers for loved ones who struggle with major health issues or dementia. She sees the faith of caregivers lived out daily as they give selflessly of their time, love and care. She writes, “As they deal with these difficult situations with humor and understanding; as they answer the same question for the 40th time; as they humble themselves to feed, clean, and care for their relative; they understand in a new and deeper way the sacrifice and love of Christ.” As these caregivers pray to Jesus who suffered for their loved one who is suffering or for themselves when they are hurting, they experience God’s deep love for them in a new and deeper way. The support and encouragement this congregation makes possible helps each one struggling in these most difficult situations with the love and grace and strength of Christ Jesus our Savior.
Hungry for More
A young teen comes to youth group on Wednesday nights, but has never connected to the larger congregation nor attended worship on Sunday. Recently the girl participated in her first extended retreat. According to Bryce Fuhrmann, our Minister to Students, “she was so transformed over the weekend retreat that she came that Sunday morning for worship.” Not only that, but she has told Bryce that she plans to continue attending Sunday worship each week. Her appetite for Christian fellowship is growing. She is anxious to attend the ‘One Event’ Conference youth experience in January and the ski retreat in February. In just 24 hours she went from a casual youth group attendee to a young person seeking to grow in her relationship with Christ in all of the ways that she can! Bryce writes: “I am just glad that we can walk with her on this journey.” This is what happens when we create opportunities for youth to encounter Christ—they believe and are made new!
Never Too Old
On Tuesday afternoons more than a dozen adults gather at Manor of the Plains for Bible Study led by our minister of visitation, Sarah Godbey. They range in age from 75 to 96! These determined adults overcome health and pain issues that would stop younger athletes in their tracks as they gather to learn and grow in their faith. While some are well-versed in the Scriptures looking to deepen their faith, others are finding an opportunity to learn and grow spiritually for perhaps the first time in a very long time. Discussion, searching and reflecting on the teachings of Christ and the Bible help those in the study discover deeper meaning and apply their faith each day. This study is just one opportunity provided by our congregation to encounter Christ, proving that one is never too old to be made new.
A Bible of His Own
One Wednesday evening following youth group, a teen who did not have a Bible asked for one and our Minister to Students, Bryce Fuhrmann was quick to provide one he could take home. This fall the boy signed up for the “Pilgrimage,” a group of youth who are reading the entire Bible while meeting for reflection and journaling. It’s difficult to read the Bible every day, especially given the overwhelming schedule of being a teen-aged student. Yet this young man continues to make time to follow through with his commitment. He doesn’t take owning a Bible for granted, but a privilege that he has not been afforded until recently—one that has become a great priority in his life. Another person, made new in Christ, because of the vital impact of the ministries of this church!
“My Jesus Teacher!”
Melyssa White, our Minister to Children, remembers the first day she saw a rambunctious five year old running from his Mom. “We made eye contact and his heart showed through,” she said. She would learn that he had been labeled a defiant child whose behaviors were a problem. He began attending Sunday School, but only for a brief time. Several months later he suddenly reappeared, walking up to give Melyssa a big hug and exclaimed, “teacher, my Jesus teacher!” But it would be many weeks before she would see him again. Recently he’s been attending children’s activities on Wednesdays and some Sundays, but each time Melyssa asks him how he is doing, he replies solemnly, “bad day.”
One day was particularly difficult. The young boy didn’t participate in activities, instead doing everything he could to disrupt the group. Over and over Melyssa and another children’s leader told him how much Jesus loved him, no matter what his choices were. The very next week the boy returned and opened up to his “Jesus teacher,” talking for the first time about his deepest fears and sadness. A new level of trust is being born out of the reassurance of God’s love that took years to uncover in this small boy. His life is being made new because this church and its people helped him encounter the love of Jesus.
Ministry of All Believers
For several weeks, a dedicated group of persons worked together to frame the vision and strategy for our church’s school partnership. Things were beginning to come together. We had a mission, “To be the CHAMPIONS of our schoolchildren.” Our strategy to begin an in class adult volunteer program for children who were newcomers to an American school was taking shape. Suddenly, one of our lay persons blurted out, “no offense to our pastor or to our staff, but the laity have to take the lead in talking about this and letting others in the church know about this great opportunity.” Heads around the room nodded in agreement. To quote a great hymn, “The Church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.” And when the people who are the church remember that Christian ministry is the calling of all believers, powerful things begin to happen!