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Aug 25, 2011 | Mary Parmer

Commentary: Newcomer Ministry Project Now Online

Hand ShakeImagine what would happen if the Episcopal Church took seriously and lived into Jesus’ gospel mandate to invite and welcome the stranger into our midst?

  • I was a stranger and you welcomed me.  Matthew 25:35      
  • Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7


Imagine what would happen if clergy and lay leaders of our congregations were intentional about making the community around them a mission field?  One of our diocesan churches did just that, and the result is remarkable! 


After requesting to participate as a pilot church in the Diocese of Texas Newcomer Ministry Project in June 2010, the leadership of St. Francis, Houston, began using the project materials to assess their invitation, welcome, and connection processes. They also decided to heed the project consultant’s challenge that their school is their biggest mission field, and they went to work making the changes necessary to answer that challenge.


The result? Within six months (December 2010), they reported the following member growth statistics: “Previously about 10 percent of school members were also church members. Now about 20 percent of students are either members of the church or attend regularly. 72 school families are now church members and 11 families attend church regularly.”


Although there are no ‘magic pills’ for turning around a flat or declining church membership, failure to address the Essentials of Newcomer Ministry will keep the revolving back door open in our congregations. The amazing statistics mentioned above reflect only one of numerous stories that are being shared by congregations in our diocese who are getting serious and systematic around newcomer ministry, aka, evangelism, hospitality & closing the back door!


We are called to be fully engaged in living out God’s transformative mission of hospitality to the world! Imagine if we all lived into that calling.


Deadline Fast Approaching – August 31 - for Strategic Mission Grants:
The Strategic Mission Grant Committee, made up of trustees from both the Bishop Quin Foundation and the Episcopal Foundation of Texas, has made funds available to directly fund strategic newcomer ministry efforts.  Information located at this EDOT link.


For more information or for a consultation, contact Project Consultant Mary Parmer at 512.383.0735 or visit the webpage.