Survey builds on mission interests within congregation

10/20/2017

Karen Distefano
Match your interests in mission with missionaries in the field by answering a survey for the Oklahoma Conference’s secretary of global ministries, Karen Distefano.
She’ll then provide a custom list of connections that can help your church attract and educate more people through missions.
That’s worthwhile because interest is high in serving others, studies show, as especially expressed by young adults and including people not active in religious life.
Among the Conference’s five markers of vital congregations, mission involvement is the one that has grown in recent years. About 20,000 more Oklahoma United Methodists have taken part in local, national, and international missions/outreach ministries since 2012, according to the 2017 Pre-Conference Workbook.
Let’s build intentionally on that success, Distefano urges.
“This is all part of discipleship. Just as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and said, ‘I’ve done it to you, now go and do it to others,’ that’s how we make disciples.”
She reminds United Methodists of Jesus’ call to go “to the ends of the earth.” The survey poses: Where is Judea for you? Where is your Samaria?
Questions ask you to choose specific geographic interests, name your church’s current outreach efforts, and consider various ways you might engage with missionaries and missions that have more relevance for your congregation.
The survey link, https://s.surveyplanet.com/Hkx5meyP4-, was initially emailed to local chairpersons of missions. Distefano said those who responded identified hunger as the No. 1 concern, and 75 percent were willing to personally visit missionaries.
She is eager to receive more completed surveys, to assist both churches and her own leadership efforts in “the bigger picture of mission.”
Distefano’s home church is Oak Park UMC in Bartlesville.
For a number of years, Volunteers in Mission (VIM) teams from Bartlesville have served at a cancer care center in Albuquerque, N.M. Then they learned recently of a similar care center right in Bartlesville. Now they’ve begun exploring service opportunities there, “as a way to continue expanding their experience on VIM missions,” Distefano said.
With the survey, she also can help your church incorporate the suggestions into your overall mission program.
To contact her by email: kdistefano@okumc.org. Distefano is a member of the Conference’s Mission & Service Ministry Team and directs Chile/Oklahoma Encounter, a new mission partnership between The Methodist Church of Chile and the Oklahoma Conference. Learn more about the partnership on Facebook.