Big enough to make a difference, small enough to care.
This simple, yet profound phrase describes the community that has developed at Eden Prairie United Methodist Church. We are a community that makes a profound difference in our world through our PROP garden, through our mission work, through our giving beyond ourselves. We are also a church that cares deeply about people whom God brings into our surroundings. None of that changed during these past 15 months as we have moved our ministry online. In fact, we discovered we are big enough to make a difference in new ways, and small enough to extend our care to every member of the church, even when we couldn’t be together.
The character, the DNA of our church, did not change during the pandemic. We leaned into who we are and who we are called by God to be.
We have been called by God through the pandemic to move toward a two-campus ministry, one located at 15050 Scenic Heights Road, and another located online. Purchasing equipment and training for live-streaming a live worship service are moving along. We have stepped up our online presence, looking critically about how it is structured to accomplish our God-given ministry. We have tried some things. some succeeded and some fell flat. We are learning.
One of the ways we are learning is through our Digital Discipleship Team. This group of 20- & 30-somethings are leading the way toward a vibrant and engaging second, online campus. Together we are assessing and improving our presence on social media and our website. Part of perfecting that work is clarifying the community we want people to discover online, a community that reflects our in-person community. In social media circles, this is called our “five pillars.” Here is what we think people would discover about EPUMC, whether they meet us in person or online:
Intentionally inclusive of our LBGTQiA+ siblings (we are a “reconciling congregation” within the United Methodist Church). Living into full inclusion of all God’s children as we continue our reconciling work, work toward racial justice and seek to be in ministry with and for people of all different abilities.
Proactively feeding our neighbors by providing fresh produce through Crops for PROP, our garden partnership with Eden Prairie’s PROP Food shelf.
Partnering with parents in nurturing their children and youth in a progressive and inclusive faith as they grow into faithful followers of Jesus.
Making the ancient writings and stories of the faith relevant to the modern life experience through worship and faith formation.
Through a variety small groups experiences, we build relationships of nurture, support and accountability for our life in faith.
This is both who we are and who we are becoming. This is who God is calling us to be as well as equipping us to become. It is a bit more descriptive of what it means for us to be big enough to make a difference and small enough to care. It is the community you have created and will continue to create. It is a community I am proud to journey with and help grow. How about you?
Pastor Becky Jo