Buena Vista UMC's Ministry Reaches Far Beyond its Own Walls


Rev. Jerry Akin, Pastor of Buena Vista UMC, shares how this growing 60-member family of faith is transforming the community.

Our members have a deep respect for our church’s heritage and traditions but are committed to living in the present, so that we can faithfully continue our church’s mission into the future. For the past few years, we’ve all been trying to identify and develop our own spiritual gifts. For some, that means hands-on service, and for others, it means counseling or giving.

The congregation is very generous with all of their resources, not just money, but time, service, and food! Although GUMF manages our church’s investment fund, we haven’t had to dip into it to fund our community outreach projects.

Here is how our church has taken its ministry far beyond its own walls in Buena Vista. We are always looking for ways to invest in children through the school system. We donate book bags, graduation caps and gowns, and classroom supplies. We relaunched our Vacation Bible School ministry and started a Boy Scout Troop and a Cub Scout Pack. We also formed an outreach ministry that finds and helps families in need, and we hosted a Heroes Dinner to honor our local police, firefighters, EMTs, and Forestry Commission.

For the first time in decades, we have a growing children’s ministry with three kids who are going through confirmation. To be able to witness the growth of the kingdom beyond our church building has been a blessing.

Additionally, it seems that the more our church reaches out, the more people we attract. When a church can feel good about what they’re doing, other people want to be a part of that. I have seen how non-members are increasingly turning to the church in times of emotional, financial, and spiritual crisis. That tells me that there is some trust there, and with trust comes opportunities to build meaningful relationships.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2018 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.