Grants announced for New People New Places
Projects small and large, from Bartlesville to Lawton
By HOLLY McCRAY
On Feb. 21, the Annual Conference Council (ACC) endorsed 24 projects to receive New People New Places grants, totaling $629,665, this year.
Award amounts range from $1,970 to $150,000. The projects vary, too.
• The church in Wright City is on the move with a running program. Adult mentors and girls ages 9-18 exercise together, building physical and spiritual strength.
• "Toy Makers of Hugo" connects two merging UM churches and the community. Volunteers make and give away wooden toys. Interaction grows discipleship.
• Young adults will learn about faith when they meet at Full Moon Café in Tulsa. "Bar Church" also will engage them in local mission.
The 2015 Oklahoma Conference budget designates up to $700,000 for New People New Places. This program seeks to reach more Oklahomans, especially younger and more diverse, "to become world-changing disciples of Jesus Christ," materials state.
Grant applications were submitted by 85 churches and ministries, Craig Stinson reported to the ACC. Those requests added up to almost $3.4 million. Rev. Stinson is Conference director of Connectional Ministries.
The NPNP review team faced difficult choices. Ultimately, 12 projects received full funding and 12 were partially funded. Stinson sent out letters of notification to the churches and ministries the last week of February.
Sketches on this page introduce the 24 churches/entities that received New People New Places grant awards. This Oklahoma Conference grant program, in its first year, was born of great desire to draw more people to God, welcoming them into United Methodist local church life, the central setting for disciple-making.
The NPNP budget, $700,000, is supported by giving to Apportionment Line Item 458 on the Conference Contribution Form.
It’s now time for your church group to explore ideas to reach new people in 2016.
• On April 11, attend a seminar or join a webinar on how to apply for grants.
• Submit your project application online between early June and Aug. 31.
St. Matthew’s UMC, Tulsa
At-risk children who live in the neighborhood of Tulsa-St. Matthew’s began showing up spontaneously after school. First 30, then 50, and now often 100 children arrive. At Spot 31, they learn to be disciples of Jesus Christ through this exciting new mission outpost.
"HomeGroup Ministry" — $3,250
First UMC, Moore
Using a deeply Wesleyan model of growing as disciples through home groups, all participants in this already successful ministry at Moore-First are challenged to invite others who are not participating in a church into their groups.
"International Ministry Multipurpose Building" — $150,000
Edmond Chinese International UMC
Chinese and other international students, many in the United States for the first time and many with no prior experience of Christianity, find a welcome at this young, energetic church. Edmond Chinese International UMC has a well-defined plan for making disciples of Jesus Christ. With a rapidly growing number of participants, the current church facility is being used at maximum capacity. There are young adults and children of varied nationalities eager for opportunities to become a part of this fellowship and study to become disciples, but, much like Mary and Joseph, there is simply no more room!
"Runner Girls" — $1,970
Wright City UMC
Girls ages 9-18 in this small southeastern town grow mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually by running with their mentors. The pastor, who also is a runner, has created a small book that teaches church members how to grow as disciples and how to mentor young disciples one-on-one. This program could be replicated in many other places.
"The Salt" — $100,000
(formerly St. John’s UMC, Oklahoma City)
Starting by connecting with third graders and their families in the church’s neighborhood, families that are multicultural, bilingual, and multi-generational are becoming disciples of Jesus Christ through this missional church. The Salt has a specific plan for discipleship, measureable goals, and a timeline for becoming self-sustaining in five years.
"United Methodist Motorcycle Association" — $32,000
Christ UMC, Tulsa
Motorcycle riders attending rallies and other events are the "new people" who experience worship, study, and discipleship through this ministry.
"Kings and Queens Ministry" — $20,000
St. Mark’s UMC, Bethany
Children younger than 18 who have been diagnosed with physical or cognitive/intellectual disabilities grow as disciples of Jesus Christ through the Kings and Queens Ministry at Bethany-St. Mark’s.
"Wesley Internship" — $35,000
Wesley Foundation, University of Oklahoma, Norman
After graduation from college, seven young adults will be trained as interns who will learn to lead in various areas. This project is modeled on the successful internship program of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Georgia.
"Shaped by God’s Mission" — $3,000
Young Adult Mission & Service, Oklahoma Conference
Many young people first learn discipleship through "doing." An experience of serving in God’s mission helps them become disciples who then invite others to join future mission groups. By training these leaders we not only serve others in need, but help make disciples of the servants themselves.
"Women’s and Children’s Outreach" — $20,000
OU Chinese Fellowship, Norman
Spouses and children of Chinese students at OU, many of them new Christians, receive assistance with childcare, medical care, and tutoring in English, in addition to worship and discipleship.
"U - So You Think You’re an Adult?" — $5,000
Village UMC, greater Oklahoma City area
Young adults living in The Village who find themselves without a support system, to help them meet needs such as basic home repairs, car maintenance, cooking, parenting, and finances, can find supportive new neighbors at The Village UMC.
"Paint and Pray" — $4,500
Wesley UMC, Oklahoma City
People with a passion for art learn about God and translate it to canvas.
Oak Park UMC, Bartlesville
Younger professionals, ages 30 to 50, are invited to participate in the Alpha course at a downtown restaurant.
"Toy Makers of Hugo" — $10,000
(formerly Hugo-First and Hugo-Wesley UMCs)
People from two merging Hugo churches and the community have all come together to create wooden toys to give and share as a ministry. Even more than the finished products, intentional discipleship comes through the work of creating the toys together. The involvement and commitment from those both inside and outside the church show this to be a connected, effective ministry.
"Going Out, Inviting In" — $34,850
New people and new businesses moving into Stroud will be invited into a life of discipleship.
"Neighbor Dinners" — $7,000
St. Paul’s UMC, Lawton
Unchurched people in Lawton find a low-key, non-threatening invitation to dinner and worship outside the walls of St. Paul’s UMC in this partnership between the church and the Lawton Food Bank.
"Bar Church" — $12,695
St. Paul’s UMC, Tulsa
Young adults who meet at the Full Moon Café will learn about faith and participate in local mission through the ministry of Tulsa-St. Paul’s.
"International & Intercultural Ministry Experience" — $4,000
Wesley Foundation, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater
International and intercultural families connected to OSU are offered religious resources through this grant.
"Recovering Ministries" — $25,000
Chapel Hill UMC, Oklahoma City
Through one-on-one counseling, Bible studies, and ongoing classes, women released from prison or drug rehabilitation centers form healthy relationships that help them discover their purpose and calling as disciples of Jesus Christ.
"PowerHouse After-School Ministry" — $25,350
Durant UMC: Caddo and Durant campuses
Youth and children in both towns grow together as disciples in this after-school program that connects multiple ministry sites and resources, in a way that could be replicated in other places.
"Outreach to Families" — $6,400
Living Water UMC, Glenpool
People of all ages in the Glenpool area can grow as disciples of Jesus Christ if they discover this new-church start, Living Water. This grant will help the new church expand its outreach through specific parenting and financial classes.
"Daily Bread" — $5,000
Penn Avenue Redemption UMC, Oklahoma City
Inmates and their families worship each week at OKC-Penn Avenue. This grant will help provide a meal and fellowship prior to the worship services.
"Children’s Ministry" — $23,000
CrossTimbers UMC, Moore
Children attending a new elementary school in Moore who desire to participate in this new church’s burgeoning program of discipleship don’t have enough space to meet, nor enough adult leaders. These funds will expand CrossTimber’s capacity to reach out to non-religious and nominally religious young families and begin new discipleship programming to connect those young families into the life of the church.
"Ice Angels’ Mobile Commissary for the Homeless" — $44,650
Epworth UMC, Oklahoma City
Homeless people in central Oklahoma City receive water, food, and clean clothes in exchange for their dirty ones through this mobile ministry of OKC-Epworth.