If you're like me, you go to church on a weekly basis jumping from church to church enjoying your time there and moving on to the next week because your husband is a district pastor. You've probably noticed that members are there sometimes, and sometimes not, just like yourself. People have families in other locations, they go on vacations, they get sick—Life just happens!
My husband recently printed out the membership list for each of the churches in his district and while I was looking these pages over I was surprised to see a bunch of names of people that I don't ever remember meeting. As you can bet, he and I were both bothered by the idea that we had church members that we had never met before, so like a mother hen, we took action.
Members who are still on the books who have stopped coming?! How could this be! We must do something about it!And so begins the saga of the popcorn bags and my messy living room.
I wish I had been the foundress of this idea, but alas, Dominick is the revolutionary insider who discovered and initiated the "Packages of Hope." Here’s the fundamental idea:
We connect with our members, both those attending and absent, with Packages of Hope.These packages have our members names on them and any bags that are left, are then gathered by active church members and hand-delivered to absent ones with a message of love and genuine care. This way, each absent member is contacted in a loving way by someone from the church each quarter.
Here's what was enclosed in the bags: We include a book for the quarter; chosen by the board, that we believe will strengthen our members Christian journey. This month's book was a condensed version of the book on prayer called God is Listening.We also put in there a letter from the pastor and a calendar of upcoming events. This highlights what we're doing at the church and what each member has the opportunity to get involved in.
A bag of microwavable popcorn wrapped in The Parable of The Popcorn is also included. If you haven't read this parable, you can find it in the gospel of Matthew... Just kidding, Popcorn isn't mentioned in the Bible. Find it in the link above.
We assembled the contents in adorable classic popcorn bags that I found at our local dollar tree and tied them with ribbon and attached members names to the bags. Once the names were attached, we took time to pray over these bags and the people they represent. This is the most important step—praying over each bag that they will bless each member and bring them and their families closer to Christ.
We're excited to see members interacting with members and a revival of absent members in our church.
Ashley Alipoon is the social media manager for Front Porch Creative. She and her pastor husband, Dom Alipoon, provide leadership for the Woodward, Shattuck, Alva, and Cherokee Churches in Oklahoma