Small church making a big impact in Tyler
By Maleri McHam
Noonday FUMC is proof that even a small congregation can make a large impact in their community. In 2020, the church was in the midst of assessing their identity and started asking, what can we offer our community?
“As Christians we need to be meeting the needs of people around us,” says the Rev. Sunny Farley, pastor of Noonday FUMC. “I don't think people can hear the message of Christ until they see the message of Christ.”
Although the church is smaller in numbers, they have a large space to offer and use it to serve the community and cause of Christ.
Noonday FUMC has been connecting with groups in the community like the Tyler Street Team, which is made up of numerous local churches, businesses and groups. The main goal of The Tyler Street Team is to help those experiencing homelessness.
The churches involvement with Tyler Street Team led them to begin using Noonday FUMC facilities to store furniture, tools, kitchen items as they transition from homelessness, Farley said.
With this space, volunteers at Noonday FUMC are able to sort through donated items and create kits. These kits range from kitchen basics, cleaning supplies, bathroom items and more.
Homelessness is a large social issue and while their congregation may not be able to solve the problem single handedly, Farley said “we found our niche.”
While helping those in need get back on their feet, Farley said they are also working to spread the word to other churches in the district and let them know if they have things to contribute to the effort, Noonday FUMC is the place that can take those things and distribute them out.
“We sort of see ourselves as a place where we can connect churches to needs and that way all of us can work together instead of each of us trying to do all these things on our own,” she said. “We want to be known basically as sort of a mission hub in our district that way.”
Noonday FUMC is not just giving people items to help them, they are also a part of a larger network of Methodist churches who are trying to meet all the needs of people in the community, Farley said. While her church may provide items, others provide mentoring, financial planning, job help and other services.
“What we're doing is very rewarding and we see that it's helping people, but the big picture is when we see everyone doing whatever it is that they are called to do in this process because all these things come together to really make a larger impact,” she said.
Mission minded for years
Before becoming the pastor at Noonday FUMC, Farley said the congregation was already very mission minded. Members were participating with Meals on Wheels, helping local schools, being engaged with the Girl Scouts and numerous other activities.
With everything they were doing in the community Farley said it made sense to be like a “mission hub” for the district. A place people can go to donate to those in need, connect with the cause of helping the homeless or even find other mission-oriented activities to plug into.
“We're pouring ourselves out to others just as God poured himself out to us,” she said. “Once we do that, we can very easily share the gospel message, that this is why we do it.”
Noonday FUMC may be small, but Farley said you do not need to be a large church to make a big impact. It is coming together and doing a little part alongside other churches, being a part of the body of Christ, that leads to larger impacts.
“I think as the body of Christ it's nice to get the word out and all work together,’” Farley said.