Points of Connection
June 28, 2021
Connection is vital. People thrive when it is plentiful and when it is not, they languish. We know this empirically from scientific study, but even without science, we know this to be true. We can feel it. We can feel what isolation does to us, how its heaviness weighs us down and steals our joy. It brings a coldness and weariness few other feelings do.
For the last 15 months much of the world experienced isolation en masse. It was uncomfortable and eerie, and whenever possible we tried to surmount it. Some even made it their priority. At St. Peter’s UMC in Katy, Texas connecting the world to God’s love is their mission and during the pandemic, both campuses determined they needed to focus on answering one vital question. How do we help people connect with each other and connect with God during this time of isolation?
In some ways, the church chose very normal pathways to answer this question. They launched online worship services and Bible studies to offer points of connection to their congregation each week. Yet, they knew this was not enough, so they unleashed innovative ways to engage the congregation.
They decided to pivot to keep community at the forefront even when they couldn’t be in person. For instance, they organized online trivia nights and had 200 participants! They also tweaked their VBS to engage families. During the summer of 2020, families came to the church to pick up “VBS in a Box” with carefully designed crafts and activities that parents could do with their children at home. Additionally, each day of “VBS in a Box” had a special video message for the children.
Through these personalized points of connection that were a mixture of fun and discipleship-building, worship and relationship development, St. Peter’s UMC did just what it had set out to do. It answered the elusive pandemic question – how do we stay connected, when we need to be separate?
Along the way, they also decided they were going to finish their second campus building project. “We wanted to come out of the pandemic with a completed building,” Lead Pastor Pat Sparks said. “When TMF offered the Loan Assistance Program at the beginning of the pandemic, that gave us the confidence we needed. We knew TMF would walk with us through this crisis, and we felt like we should move forward. The beginning of the pandemic was a frightening time. Giving is always lower in the summer anyway and the pandemic added a lot of uncertainty, so we took advantage of the Loan Assistance Program. TMF helped us be connectional and creative in a difficult year.”
And they were successful. They broke ground on their second campus in May 2020, had their grand opening in March 2021, have 300 worshippers and 19 new members!
“With the lethargy of 2020, the building has been an incredible catalyst,” West Campus Pastor Alex Zeizig shared. “It was also a symbol of connection in multiple ways. Not only would it offer a future place for people to connect in person, which was a visible sign of hope, but it was also a partnership moment for us. At the beginning of the pandemic, the church felt isolated too. When TMF reached out to us with the assistance program, it was a reminder that we were not alone.”