What Works: Maples Memorial Big Serve Sunday Blesses the Community
By: Matthew Johnson, Connectional Ministries and Communications Assistant
What Works is a series featuring ministries across the conference that are vital, thriving and serving their communities. Mission and ministry featured in this segment can also be implemented into your faith community’s missional strategies.
|Maples Memorial UMC members fill sanitation kits.
Photo courtesy Gail Ross
Maples Memorial United Methodist Church in Olive Branch recently left the pews to do community service projects. The church’s Big Serve Sunday event placed teams of church members into the community to do projects including cleaning, packing hygiene kits and yard work. Their passion for demonstrating God’s love helped them exemplify the gospel to those outside the church walls.
|Rev. Sam Jones
Big Serve Sunday began with a short worship service followed by volunteers headed out to their service areas. Rev. Sam Jones describes some of the projects that Maples Memorial volunteers completed.
“We had projects for everyone,” said Jones. “We took care of yardwork for people who were unable to care for their yards, packed snack and hygiene kits for schools and homeless shelters and cleaned concession stands and band halls at local high schools.”
This year was the fourth Big Serve. The event, started in the spring of 2022, is held twice yearly. The day of service is successful thanks to the passion of its leadership. Lay people who are invested in the community like teachers, social workers and nurses who are aware of what needs in the community are not being met help Jones plan and organize volunteers and service projects.
“The goal is to serve in places people rarely think about,” said Jones. “That way we get to meet new people and evangelize. That’s what Take Jesus to the Streets is all about.”
Senatobia district superintendent Rev. Rickey Haynes is grateful for Maples Memorial’s dedication to serving their community.
“It’s important for the local church to minister to the whole community,” said Haynes. “By doing so the church becomes the hands and feet of Christ in the community.”
|Rev. Rickey Haynes
Photo courtesy Greg Campbell Photography, Inc.
Showcasing God’s love requires local churches to leave the four walls and meet the needs of their community. Big Serve Sunday is a great example of that and can be easily instituted in your congregation. If you are interested in or have questions about organizing a Big Serve Sunday for your church contact Rev. Sam Jones at 662.895.2279 or email@example.com