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Grace UMC Wins "One Matters" Award

By Rev. Cindy Marino

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The One Matters Award, offered by the UMC Discipleship Ministries, in partnership with the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, recognizes that each life matters 
... and lifts up the importance of encouraging congregations to identify ways to invite people into a relationship with Jesus through the United Methodist Church.
Grace UMC was honored to be one of the first churches to receive this award at this year’s Northern Illinois Annual Conference! The award brought with it a $1,000 check for the evangelism fund at Grace.

In the past two years, Grace UMC has celebrated 62 new members joining the congregation by profession of faith. A profession of faith means these persons are not transferring their membership from another church but rather, they are newcomers in committing to church membership. 

This is a statistic that is closely monitored by our denomination as we continue to recognize the importance of faith in transforming a person’s life. Making disciples is about much more than statistics; it is about lives changed by God’s grace. 

The increase in persons joining Grace reflects the shifts we are making at Grace:
  1. Changing focus from programs to people; Becoming person-centric as we guide the discipleship journey rather than offering programming designed for the masses.
  2. Shifting from a focus on education to a focus on spiritual formation and relationship with Christ and one another as a goal of the discipleship journey.
  3. Moving from inward faith to outward action as the people of Grace allow the awareness of God’s love to ignite our passion for loving and sharing with others.
In continued support of the work that garnered the attention of the conference with this One Matters award, Grace has developed a new Lay Development Team currently organizing to engage persons through small groups and opportunities to serve. They are also prioritizing ways to engage those who were once active and have felt disenfranchised over the years.  

There are no perfect or grand programs that will ‘fix’ the church. We are seeing the need for adaptability, collaboration and trial and error. We will continue to do our best to discern God’s call to reach out to those who need to know the love of God in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit

Each one matters to the people and the leadership of Grace! It’s all about relationship!