Ministry Fund Drive:
Moscow First UMC Dreams Big!
By Julia Frisbie
Last September on Labor Day Sunday, more people showed up at Moscow First UMC (Idaho) than usual. Maybe it was for the inspiring worship service, but for Pastor Sue Ostrom, she suspects that it was actually because they wanted to see her get doused with ice water.
Inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, she had promised to participate in the trend as long as her congregation would donate to Imagine No Malaria. In one afternoon, they raised $770.
This is part of Moscow First UMC’s ongoing commitment to the “We See A New Church” Ministry Fund Drive. When Ostrom was pitched the idea to support the Ministry Fund Drive, she wasn’t sure how her congregation at Moscow First UMC, would respond. Would the introductory video be well-received? Would the church council buy in to all three parts of this capital campaign?
The Tuell Center
“I explained how the Tuell Center’s programs could benefit us,” says Ostrom. Training through the Tuell Center for church leaders (both lay and clergy) throughout the conference would be provided by 60% of undesignated funds raised through the Ministry Fund Drive. And it’s not just for churches with problems – its focus on adaptive leadership will help all types of churches stay relevant. “Our congregation is actually thriving,” Ostrom explains, “so more training always helps.”
New Faith Communities
In order to advocate for the second area of focus, New Faith Communities , she borrowed an idea from the District Superintendent of the Inland District, the Rev. Dale Cockrum.
“In the early 1980s I found myself in a small rural community that was not going to grow. Their children were leaving to find work in other communities, and some of those were communities that were targeted for new church development by the Second Season campaign. And so, while they wouldn’t necessarily see the fruit of their contributions in their own community, they were willing to participate in the campaign to create churches where their children and grandchildren could attend.” That idea helped the Moscow First’s congregation to be supportive about New Faith Communities, which receives 20% of undesignated funding.
Imagine No Malaria
“The Imagine No Malaria campaign was an easy sell,” Ostrom says. It’s not controversial: once kids and adults in Moscow realized that children were dying from malaria and they could help, they were eager to get involved. They designated some gifts especially for Imagine No Malaria, and were happy to know that 10% of their undesignated gifts would also support that cause.
“We wrestled with it for several months before the Council voted to make a pledge,” says Sue. “We receive far more from the Conference than we give to it,” shares Tony Burt, council member and young lay person. “The pledge drive [is] a great way to show our support to the Conference and the UMC as a whole.” In the end, the council voted to make a $10,000 commitment to the Ministry Fund Drive.
Rather than ask congregants to make pledges, they decided to raise the money through special events – the Ice Bucket Challenge was one. Another was “Piety Sunday,” a fundraiser where everyone eats pumpkin pie! Next, they’re planning a spaghetti dinner followed by a silent auction. In January, the church will celebrate “Africa Month,” lifting up projects like Jamaa Letu and Imagine No Malaria.
Sue is also hoping to organize a fun run for the public, with hopes that University of Idaho students might want to participate in. Events like that are great because they allow the whole community – not just church members – to get involved.
“I am very pleased and proud that our Council and now the congregation has chosen to support this drive,” says Sue. “So far we’ve had a lot of fun with the two fundraisers we have done. As we are planning our next fundraiser, I can just feel the energy building!”