Jumpstarts for Diversity Work: Encourage Service

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God urges the church to be witness to transforming love and power, not only through our words but through our actions. Where are people hurting in your neighborhood, town, or city, and how can you help?

Ask your local social services agencies, district superintendent or district United Methodist Women or United Methodist Men groups for suggestions about service opportunities for children and youth, women and men, and intergenerational teams.

UMC Volunteers
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

Look for local projects that will engage your church members with people they might not otherwise meet: tutorial programs for children in another neighborhood; construction of Habitat for Humanity homes; or ministry with people who are incarcerated. Discover a need in your community and commit to addressing it, if possible, in partnership with another congregation with a different racial-ethnic makeup than yours. 

Ask your annual conference leaders about opportunities or projects that may be connected to your community, or invite a congregation from another racial-ethnic or tribal group to join you in a day of service in your community. Feed hungry children, pick up trash, deliver meals to seniors, make Easter baskets for the children of incarcerated parents, take gifts to patients at a local hospital for veterans, or collect clothing for the local domestic violence shelter. Talk with the people you’re serving. Share your story and learn theirs.

Congregations and families that engage together in community service in their own backyard report transformation of their prejudices and beliefs by interacting with people they had not encountered before.

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GCORR is building the capacity of The United Methodist Church to be contextually relevant and to reach more people, younger people, and more diverse people as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.