Three women from OKC-First UMC clean garden beds at Urban Harvest.
By Laura Alfonzo, Member, OKC-First
The congregation of First United Methodist Church in downtown Oklahoma City had big plans for the weekend of June 12-13.
The church didn’t know just how big.
With lots of ideas and a great deal of prayer some 10 months ago, the Missions Council began planning First Church’s 2010 mission emphasis. Soon the planners knew what God was leading them to do: Cancel Sunday worship and spend an entire weekend in mission service.
With that leading, MAD (Make a Difference) Week was born.
"We wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a very practical way," said Pastor Mark McAdow, "even to the point of foregoing our regular schedule on a particular Sunday, so we could be in the field in Jesus’ name."
MAD Week began with a fund-raising talent show June 6. The money raised supported seven mission projects the following weekend.
Work teams formed, made up of more than 220 volunteers of all ages. This small army, clad in bright yellow shirts, spent the weekend on the projects across the metro: Tapestry Project, OKC Compassion, Urban Harvest at the OKC Regional Food Bank, Skyline Urban Ministry’s Eighth Street and McKee centers, CJAMM’s Exodus House, and at First Church.
The team members set aside two days to reach out to others in need by painting, landscaping, building, remodeling, cleaning, organizing—showing the love of Christ in numerous tangible ways.
"We began at 8 both mornings, with breakfast and a devotional worship service," said Rev. McAdow. Sunday morning guests were invited to join the work teams, too.
To wrap up the weekend of projects, the church gathered at 5 o’clock Sunday evening for a celebration service, with worship, a video presentation about what was accomplished, and a ritual of commitment to mission work in the coming year.
Staff member Kirk Norman said, "It was a big step to cancel our regular Sunday morning worship services, but we felt it was important."