Growth Through Grandparents

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It is common to hear that grey heads are a sign that a church is unhealthy, but we serve a God who promises that he will give us everything we need to accomplish his mission. In this story Bishop William Willimon shares that a church without younger people need not lose hope; instead it is best that they get busy building the kingdom with whatever resource they have.

A small, dwindling congregation prayed about how they could have a future. One of the older women in the congregation had just read in a Christian magazine that single parents with children are one of the best prospects of evangelism. They discussed the growing problem of kids being raised by single parents without the presence of grandparents. They also thought about the sadness of people growing old without grandchildren close by.

 

So they determined that they would reach out to single parents with children in a mile radius of the church. They simply drew a circle around their church and began to visit. They said to the parents, “We would like to adopt your children, help you to raise them. We’re here to help.” When the parents with their children visited the church, they said, “We have a surplus of aunts and uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers. Pick out which ones you want and they’re yours.” – Bishop William H. Willimon

 

Additionally, and wonderfully, they decided to have a contest to pick the most stereotypical grandma and grandpa. The church was able to find when new babies were born in their area. This “couple” then visited the homes a week or two after people became new parents. They shared the same message; they knew something about raising children and were ready to help.

What was the result of this effort to relentlessly seek out those in their own community you may ask? “The congregation doubled in attendance in a year,” said Willimon.

 

Every Sunday, Seedbed will feature stories of how God is working through the people that make up the Church. We want to hear how God is working in your church. If you think your church should be featured in Seedbed’s Sunday series then email us at seedbed@asburyseminary.edu

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John Wesley Leek serves the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church as a Commissioned Elder. He is appointed as associate pastor to Natchez, Misssissippi’s Jefferson Street United Methodist Church. Jesus wrecked his life and he likes it. He probably likes you.

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