WC is located at the northernmost tip of one county with two other counties touching the corners within just a few miles. Because the suburbs of north Atlanta are filled with elementary schools, WC is surrounded by several elementary schools.
For six years, I have tried to get in at the closest one. I’ve walked in to meet the principals face to face and offered tutoring help. Nothing. I joined the PTA for several years to get a calendar of events so not to schedule anything in conflict for my families. Nothing. Not even after multiple phone calls and emails. The only foot in the door we’ve gotten is they call to use our parking lot for fall and spring events if their parking lot is insufficient. I’ll take it.
Then I noticed several of the students in our program wearing “Rise Up” tshirts. I asked a third grader, “What’s Rise Up?” He began to share with me that it’s like VBS at his school where they talk and learn about Jesus. I did some research and found out he was right. Then I saw a few of my student’s parents pics on Facebook as a team of volunteers for Rise Up.
I jumped online to read everything I could about Rise Up 4 Christ and found myself immediately clicking on the get involved tab and filled out the application. After completing the background check and child safety protocols, I got an email from a lovely woman who loves Jesus and loves kids who was thrilled someone like me would apply. Huh…someone like me? We set up a meeting.
We met face-to-face last week along with her husband at the RISE UP offices. These folks have a great open door to gather students once a month for a little more than an hour speaking of Jesus and how He loves them…at the elementary school…a mile behind WC. The system is already in place and that ‘get involved’ tab invited me to play. They’ve only had this elementary’s chapter for a little over two years. There are multiple chapters all over the Atlanta and even one in Florida.
Right now it looks like I’ll be involved to champion the fifth graders to lead small groups and in worship with sign language and wait for it….dance moves! There are several times a year when this group of fifth grade leaders will gather for fellowship and training. Since I don’t live in the community, the largest space I can offer is WC. The first leadership meeting is in August and I can’t wait!
Rev. Junius Dotson is the top executive of Discipleship Ministries who began the ‘See All The People’ initiative for the United Methodist Church this summer. “ʽSee All the People’ is not a program,” said the Rev. Junius Dotson. “It really is an attempt to spur and ignite and inspire the spirit and movement of disciple-making across our denomination.” The first goal is to not focus on fixing churches, but rather be laser-focused for intentionally building disciples. The second goal of the initiative is to boost engagement with those outside the church. “It’s not about waiting for people to come to us,” Dotson said. “It’s about planting seeds, building relationships and knowing that once that happens, that really is the beginning of the disciple-making process … We can’t disciple people we’re not in relationship with.”
Everyone reading this is someone like me: loves the Lord, desires to build His kingdom, shares with others that God made them and Jesus loves them, and knows it takes relationship to make disciples. What’s something already happening in your community where you can get involved to ‘see all the people’?
“In the church there is no ‘them.’ There is only ‘us.'” ~ Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson serving the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church