Missions & New Ministry Grant Recipients
From Pastor Michael Neihardt, Horton Bay UMC, whose congregation was blessed by a grant received in 2019 from Northern Waters District in 2019:
In our planning sessions at Horton Bay we decided to improve our media presence on Facebook and on our own website. It was our hope that if we published the messages from Sunday morning live on Facebook that we would increase our ability to reach our friends and neighbors.
Often, on Sunday mornings, we have 30 or more people worshiping at HBUMC. We started our online presence with the Sunday message and with our own commercials. Often, we have more than 100 persons viewing our broadcast, live or from our archives. When we publish commercials, we are able to reach 100 people on a regular basis.
The grant from the district helped us purchase “boxcast” equipment, a video camera, and a new laptop computer.
Our numbers started small and have grown. Christmas Eve this year gave us confirmation that we were reaching many. A family living in our community gathered with us for Christmas. They mentioned that they saw our Facebook posts. Twenty-five members of this family came to our service! Another family was visiting in Petoskey for Christmas. Grandma, Grandpa, and two grandkids found us online and came for our service. We had a full house on Christmas Eve partly because we found a new way for outreach.
From Pastor Randy Hitts, Charlevoix UMC, whose congregation chose to use the grant money received for their project to reach out to their community:
The Drawbridge Life revitalization project was birthed in the spring of 2019. We choose the name Drawbridge Life as a way of identifying with Charlevoix’s iconic drawbridge that is located just a few blocks away. This all began as an idea of outreach into our community by providing an inviting place to gather as a community regardless of where you are in your spiritual walk. Our mission statement is to:
Draw – people into a community,
Bridge – the gap between the community and God, for a
Life – lived, growing in faith to make disciples for the transformation of the world.
Welcome to the Drawbridge Life 7:07 Gathering. On Thursday nights, Charlevoix UMC is open and ready. A member of our team will greet you at the door. You will be directed to our newly installed hospitality counter for some freshly grounded coffee or other beverages. There is always some tasty treats available to have with your coffee.
Once refreshments are in hand, you are welcomed into our inviting, nautically themed coffee bistro area just off from the main worship area. Music videos and upcoming events are displayed on the big screen TV as you settle in.
At 7:07 musicians start playing on our dock inspired stage. The music has more of an acoustic feel to it and is not limited to just Christian contemporary. You could hear anything from Chris Tomlin to Tom Petty and often original songs that artists debut for the audience.
After the music, Pastor Randy introduces a topic for the night. Often a video is played that sets the tone for the topic. The message that follows is more of an interactive dialog and everyone is invited to participate. This is a very spirit-led time and many times people will share testimonies or life struggles that they are dealing with. We will take time to pray for, or, over people as the spirit moves. We conclude with an informal communion time, where you are served at the table you are sitting at. Following this, people are invited to linger around if they wish, but, the official gathering time is usually less than an hour.
We want to thank the Northern Waters District for providing a grant that was used as seed money to make this bistro area possible.