Friday, September 21, 2012

Introducing the Northern Cass Project

A girl at the Big Event stares at the story of Zaccheus.

We are excited to see new churches sprout up.  One of those new communities is one that was originally called the Church @ Northern Cass (they working on a new name, stay tuned).  This is a joint Disciples/ United Methodist project headed up by Wade and Theta Miller in Northern Cass County, North Dakota (just north of Fargo, ND).  Wade is a Disciples pastor and Theta is an Elder in the United Methodist Church.  The Northern Cass Project is situated at Northern Cass School and near several new developments.  The plant meets on Wednesdays and is reaching those folks who for what ever reason can't make it to a Sunday morning service.  In their Case Statement, Wade and Theta describe the need for this new ministry: 

 As we live out our calling to be Disciples of Christ, we acknowledge that there is a growing number of families in the region that are “un-churched” or “de-churched”. Part of this trend is reflective of national declines in church attendance and membership, however there are also regional factors that have led to Fargo being named one of the 10 least religious cities in the U.S.# New church starts are the most effective way to bring in diverse new members to experience the life-changing good news of Jesus Christ.  By focusing a new church community on family-based ministry, we will be more likely to adapt to the changing culture while at the same time strengthening faith development and family life. This approach also allows for greater creativity by allowing this church to be “different” from the faith communities that many of these families grew up in or have an opinion of. Finally, by centering this ministry around the school, a relatively flat organization will efficiently use already strong connections to maximize the time and energy of very busy families. It is my hope and intention to pursue the idea of centering a new, mid-week worship community at the Northern Cass County consolidated K-12 school in order to reach a growing number of families in the district. As this family-focused ministry grows, community-based small groups and house worship meetings will begin to form and multiply as new families are involved in neighborhoods throughout the district.
Below is an account of one of their first events.

We had a wonderful and amazing First Big Event last Wednesday. Thank you so much to our volunteers who made it possible. Even through a technical issue or two, we had a great opening of learning in the Library before moving into our "Rotations" with the help of our Confirmation "Shepherds" (and yes, they did ask if they could carry shepherds crooks to keep the kids in line!...I told them "No";)  Our other rotation was Kickball and time on the playground. We had 25 kids join us for our first event!

wade and theta
Wade and Theta Miller
After a simple, but tasty!, supper with our families at 5:45, 54 joined together for our first worship service together at 6:30. The focus on the service was "Welcoming", teaching on the story of Zacchaeus and how "extravagant hospitality" was offered by Jesus to one who was labelled a Traitor and a Thief. We also watched a small clip of the movie October Sky. These two stories were reminders of how there are "Zacchaeii" in all our lives, people that are alone (for whatever reason!) and looking for something more. We have been given the gift of God's love through Jesus Christ, and it is meant for ALL God's children! Saints, Sinners, Christians, Seekers, Doubters, Popular, Geeks, Jocks, Loners, and Social Butterflies, just to name a few...ALL of us!

I hope that you will put our next event on your calendar for October 10 (10/10). We will use a clip from the movie, We Bought a Zoo, and our confirmation opening will be in full swing for our 6-8 graders. Again, we will begin the After-School ministry in the Library at 3:45, Family Supper at 5:45 in the Commons, and Worship at 6:30 in the Auditorium, wrapping up by 7:15 to get home and ready for a good night's sleep.

One thing we learned...some of our kids who wanted to stay had to get on the bus because they didn't have a note for their teachers. Don't forget to send a note, especially for our young ones. Also, Confirmation class is weekly at the Arthur UMC after school from 4-4:45 each Wednesday when we don't have an After-School Event. Ride the bus to the mall and walk on over to the church. Please contact Wade if you are going to be a new member for our Confirmation class...I need to make sure we have enough materials.

I look forward to sharing the love of Jesus Christ to more of our neighbors and friends and inviting them to join us on 10/10. I hope you can do the never know which one of us is feeling "Alone" and needs that little word of hospitality and welcome.

Rooted in Christ's Love...
Growing in Faith...
Serving in Community,

Pastor Wade

The project is still in its early stages. Expect more stories to follow! If you want to know more about Northern Cass, you contact Wade at or Theta at May God be with Wade and Theta as they begin this exciting new ministry!

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