FUMC Pearland Takes the Church into the Streets
By: Sherri Gragg
On the sixth annual, “Be the Church Sunday,” First United Methodist Church, Pearland, leaves the sanctuary behind to take the love of Jesus into the streets.
What does it mean to “Be the Church?” First United Methodist Pearland, believes the church is more than Sunday morning worship, teaching, and fellowship. Each year, on “Be the Church Sunday,” they seek to share the love of Christ with their neighbors through service.
Taking the Church into the Streets
On April 8, 2018, FUMC Pearland celebrated their sixth annual “Be the Church” outreach initiative. The day of service is a church-wide event that unites an intergenerational, diverse worshipping community in a common cause- sharing the love of Christ through service.
Each year, church members suggest various worthy causes for “Be the Church Sunday.” Pearland UMC also approaches local organizations with whom they have an existing relationship to find out how they can serve them best that day. “Be the Church Sunday” is the day to turn a year’s worth of planning into action.
While adults worked to rebuild a fence that had been damaged during Hurricane Harvey at Kidz Harbor, a facility that provides sanctuary to abandoned and abused children, FUMC Pearland’s children helped prepare a picnic for the residents. In another part of the city, volunteers bagged 8,000 pounds of rice for hungry families in Mexico, while older adults worked to fill goody bags to bless local school children during the standardized testing season. In all, over 350 children, youth, and adults participated in 20 separate service projects throughout Pearland, Texas.
Children and Youth Participate
Children and youth are intentionally included in the outreach event. Children as young as 4-years-old serve alongside their parents in a variety of age-appropriate projects. The Pearland UMC youth, who have been trained since they were preschoolers to love their neighbors through service, busily worked together to build a wheelchair ramp for a homebound neighbor and plant trees in a local park. Rebecca Llenos, Pearland UMC Director of Communication, reports that at least a quarter of the volunteers for “Be the Church Sunday” are children. “Our youth love and live the U.M. Army,” she said. “They really have a sense of what it means to serve. It is part of their growing up in the church.”
Service that Transforms
Faithful service is one of Pearland UMC’s core values. Each year, the church utilizes “Be the Church Sunday” as the kickoff for year-long, intentional ministry. Llenos believes Pearland UMC’s focus on loving their neighbors not only their relationship with their community, but the church as well. As members participate in the event, they discover that they can make a remarkable difference in the lives of others close to home.
“I love how this brings our whole church together as a family,” Llenos said. “Our unity in service is something the world needs to see. It is another way of sharing Christ through our example. We just want to share Jesus.”