When Mission Counts

Stephanie Gottschalk



There is some confusion in some parts of the local church about mission that I'd like to mention right now.  The confusion is usually over the question of whether the outreach work that a church is doing "counts" as a United Methodist VIM team effort.  

I'm not sure where the confusion comes from exactly but let me try to clear this up for anyone who may be reading this:  If it is unpaid service done on behalf of Jesus and sponsored (or co-sponsored) by a United Methodist group, IT COUNTS as UMVIM.   

Yes, we have training for VIM Team Leaders to help churches and leaders learn and share how we might be do mission better.  

Yes, we have a list of sites that are United Methodist-related or vetted sites that we encourage you to use in your mission planning. 

Yes, we have teams sponsored by the Annual Conference. 

All of these are considered UMVIM teams. 

  • So is your team of 6 that goes to the ecumenical soup kitchen once a month.  
  • So is your team of four youth raking leaves of someone in their neighborhood.  
  • So is your Early Response Team cleaning out basements for a day.  
  • So is your youth leader taking a high school team to Appalachian Service Project.  
  • So is your UMW group going to the Eastbrook Mission Barn or Ruth M. Smith Center.  
  • Or that group that your church sent to teach VBS at a Native American reservation or work on a school in Haiti. 

As you can, see it is hard NOT to be VIM. Which might lead someone (you know who you are) to ask; "Well, then, what wouldn't be UMVIM?" 

If your church has sent 3 youth with say, a Baptist church youth group, but had nothing to do with the planning or leading, that counts as sending in mission but not UMVIM.  If one person from your church goes with your local Kiwanis to help with a vision service project, that is great service and community connection but not UMVIM.  If your men's group does some work on the church parsonage, that is great stewardship and using of their gifts to care the responsibilities of the church but it is not UMVIM. If you come and clean my house for me, you are an angel and a great friend but that is not UMVIM.

More often than not, if your church is out in the community serving strangers and acquaintances because they have a need and you have gifts and it is what Jesus would want you to do to show love in action, it is UMVIM. 

We often say that mission takes prayers, payers, and players.  All of you are part of UMVIM. So Claim it! Share it!  Let people know that what they are doing is a part of global movement of thousands of God's people called United Methodists reaching out and proclaiming that Jesus Christ is real and God's love is for everyone!  Consider doing that through Together, out witness is stronger and our voices are louder.  

Learn more at wpaumc.org/MissionVIMpossible


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