Sharing God’s Goodness and Generosity
When the congregational leaders of the First United Methodist Church in Grapevine met with TMF’s Robert Hoppe in 2005, he asked what seemed like a simple question.
“If your church were to close tomorrow, what would be the reaction of your community?”
The response was a stunned silence. None of the leaders could clearly explain why the church was important or what it stood for.
That moment of uncertainty led to a transformation at FUMC Grapevine. The congregation started by asking, “Who are our neighbors?” While the community didn’t feel wealthy, the congregation was economically healthy and stable. “We had been very inwardly focused,” explained lay leader Ed Crater. “The thinking was that we were fine, so the community around us was fine. We learned quickly that we were wrong.”
Church leadership found out that the surrounding neighborhood included a large number of students receiving meal assistance at school and many families who were struggling to live at or below the poverty line.
The congregation started a program called ministry mile, focused on serving anyone living within one mile of the church who would benefit from assistance. This led to initiatives for weekend lunch programs, summer youth groups, and many more actionable ideas.
The relationship between FUMC Grapevine and TMF continues to be strong and productive, from financing for a new sanctuary to the church’s investments in the Methodist Loan Fund.
“Our church invests in the Methodist Loan Fund for more than favorable rates,” said FUMC Grapevine Senior Pastor John Mollet. “We’ve seen first-hand the important work TMF supports using funds from the interest on those investments. Two of our pastors have benefited from their experience with TMF’s Leadership Ministry program, and TMF has supported our rapidly growing Hispanic Ministry with grant funding.”
“We know TMF is using its funds to develop and support programs that will make an impact on many ministers, lay leaders and congregations,” Mollet added. “They have truly made a difference in the ministry of our church.” FUMC Grapevine is a very different church than it was in 2005. Instead of being satisfied with the status quo, the congregation is committed to sharing what they have with others – whether it’s in the form of money or volunteers or leadership or any combination of the three. If there’s a need in the community, they find a way to serve.
That community continues to grow. Today FUMC Grapevine is working with communities in Costa Rica, Kenya, and Latvia. And no one in the congregation has any trouble explaining the importance of FUMC Grapevine to its neighbors.
Did you know you can help churches like FUMC Grapevine expand transformative ministries while earning competitive returns? Find out more about TMF's Methodist Loan Fund investments, open to both individuals and churches. Call or email Sara Beltran:
800/933-5502 or 512/331-9971