“Let’s Replant it!”
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Time flies so fast. It has been 5 years since I moved to Wisconsin. We have experienced many things during this time, some happy and some sad. We have faced the challenges of the pandemic, the loss of many loved ones, and financial crisis. Furthermore, these crises initially threatened our church ministry, but, on the other hand, we have managed to recover. God is still with us, and God’s love has been evident in our church ministry throughout those crises.

While navigating these challenges, we worked together as one parish, supporting and caring for one another. Through this, we realized that we stand firmly in the faith of Jesus Christ. Yes, indeed, we do!

Remember, we are not alone. We, of course, have steadfast supporters, “Emmanuel God,” and the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Churches are highly connectional. I want to remind you how we have overcome these various crises: We received financial support from the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church in many ways. When Atlas Church faced a financial crisis, the Conference sent us a grant of Equitable Compensation amounting to $4,636. Additionally, when we were planning Vacation Bible School, the Conference provided us with a grant of $1,500. Now, as we seek support for youth ministry, the Conference has committed to providing us with a grant of $1,500. What a tremendous supporter it is! The Wisconsin Conference never forsakes us because we are connected in the Body of Christ. Whenever we have projects for our ministry, the Conference is ready to assist us.

Now, we have a new year. What do you want to do for our church ministry in the new year? What is your vision for our church? I believe that none of us wants to see our church ministry come to a close. However, it’s important to consider the limitations of our situation, such as our aging population and the decrease in the number of members. Let’s refrain from thinking in negative ways. We have already experienced that we can overcome challenges with God’s help, as demonstrated through the success of Vacation Bible School (VBS).

The writer of the Letter of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). It is time to replant the seeds of hope, the seeds of vision, and the seeds of Good News in our ministry. If our churches are aging, we need to recruit younger people through outreach. I mentioned before that without reaching out to people, we can’t revitalize our churches. Let’s proactively go out and invite people to attend our Sunday services whenever you encounter unchurched individuals. Additionally, let’s consider replanting our children and youth ministry and developing unique ministries that align with the gifts God has given us.

Since God has created everyone differently, each person and individual church possesses distinct gifts from God. Let’s discover the gifts we have received from God, and based on our unique gifts, let’s serve God and our neighbors.

I saw a vision for our church ministry through VBS. Let’s replant the seed of the Good News in the next generation to ensure the continuation of our church ministry. As Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). Through the children and youth ministry, we may extend our ministry and the kingdom of God.

Our mission statement is “Let us make disciples for Jesus Christ in all generations with open hearts, open minds, and open doors for the transformation of the world.” We cannot transform the world if we don’t first transform our minds and hearts to align with God’s will. The apostle Paul confesses, “We can do everything in Him (Jesus Christ) who empowers us!” (Philippians 4:13). Yes, we can achieve it with the faith of Jesus Christ through God’s grace! Let’s replant the seeds of a new vision in a new year!

Pastor Jenny