Texas church builds disciples of all ages
Spotlight: A Vital Congregation
"Today is church day!" Taylor, 4, shouts, as her parents drive to church.
Taylor's family joined First United Methodist Church of Rowlett, Texas, in 2013. They are part of a worshipping congregation that expects every person, young and old, to grow in faith. "We want our children to know that going to church should be a part of their lives," says Jenny Peterson, Taylor's mom.
The Rev. Dretha Burris, associate pastor of First Church, says the children listen to the same message five Sundays in a row during Sunday school as they color and do other activities. She believes repetition in learning, especially for young children, is important.
In 2010, the church went through a visioning process that focused on intentional discipleship. Taylor's parents and the church family are expected to live, learn and love by participating in three groups.
The first is a Life Group, a small gathering of members who meet regularly to support and hold each other accountable. Peterson and her husband, Chris, connect with other parents in Foundation, the life group for parents raising young children. "If a baby or child gets baptized, the whole class stands with the family," says Peterson.
Learn Groups are the next component to the discipleship journey. Participants attend Bible study, youth retreats, vacation Bible school or church camp.
Lastly, church members are encouraged to engage in a Love Group to "Find a need; fill a need." Participants engage in mission trips, volunteer in the church clothes closet and help with events serving people outside the church.
Taylor and her family have found a church home that feeds and nourishes them spiritually as they grow as disciples. Taylor's excitement is contagious. "We are at church!" she exclaims. "Oh, my goodness!"
Christine Kumar is a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference.
AT A GLANCE: First United Methodist Church of Rowlett | 4405 Main St., Rowlett, TX 75088 | email@example.com | www.fumc-rowlett.org | Pastor: The Rev. Jan Davis | Attendance: 536 | North Texas Conference