We Love All God’s Children is for Every Church
By: Sherri Gragg
When the Rev. Jill Daniel accepted her new role as Director of the We Love All God’s Children initiative, she was eager to provide an abundance of quality resources to churches throughout the Conference. Her goal was, and remains, to empower each and every church to fully participate in We Love All God’s Children in their own unique way.
Pilot Training Program in Southeast Texas
Recently, Daniel took a new step in pursuit of this goal with the establishment of pilot training programs in the Southeast District. These We Love All God’s Children “boot camps” are designed to help churches jumpstart their participation in the initiative. “The rural churches have latched on to it and found some amazing things they can do in their communities,” Daniel said.
The monthly meetings help churches better understand their target mission field, complete a needs assessment, and take decisive steps to meet those needs. Daniel is also careful to help churches discover existing resources and potential partnerships. “Sometimes, churches are under the impression that if you live in a rural area no one will partner with you, but even if they are unable to find ministry partners in their own small communities, there are often county and state agencies who would love to come alongside them.”
According to Daniel, agencies like WIC (Women, Infants, and Children Food and Nutrition Service) have a tremendous need for one of the most readily available resources of local churches- a place to meet during the weekdays when pews are empty, and sanctuaries dark. Additionally, extension agencies often offer wonderful educational classes in child nutrition or parenting skills; all they need is for a church to open their doors to host them.
Each of Daniel’s training sessions concludes with “homework,” simple challenges that allow churches to begin to practice what they have learned. The homework for November is for each church to integrate one aspect of We Love All God’s Children (Literacy, Health and Discipleship) into their existing holiday ministry. For example, if a church traditionally participates in the Salvation Army Angel Tree ministry, they might challenge their members to include an age appropriate children’s book with each gift in support of childhood literacy.
According to Daniel, the We Love All God’s Children spirit is catching fire in the Southeast District among the churches involved in the pilot training program. She hopes their example will inspire other churches throughout the conference to realize that they too can participate in the initiative, no matter their size or location. Daniel is eager to come alongside them in the effort. “We want to do everything we can to help them succeed.”