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Kentucky Conference thinks big! Do you?


Susan Passi-Klaus
January 15th, 2015

It’s not a new story, but it is a continuing story.

Back in 2013, churches in the Kentucky Conference got excited about Imagine No Malaria. In February leading up to June’s annual conference, Bishop Lindsey Davis announced that the conference was taking on a commitment to raise $100,000 for the United Methodist campaign dedicated to eradicating the preventable disease of malaria. Churches immediately got busy educating their congregations, spreading the word, pulling together resources.

Tami Coleman, Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for the Kentucky Conference, said the conference’s 800 churches jumped into the Reach the World campaign with willingness to go the extra mile.

“We became an example of doing a lot with a little.” Coleman said. “We were thinking big!”

Kentucky United Methodists not only thought big, they gave big. When annual conference rolled around in June 2013, churches reached their $100,000 goal, which they later surpassed by raising an additional $23,729.63.

Even the 63 cents was important. Most of the conference is made up of small membership churches and every penny counted.

“Everybody’s little added up to a lot,” Coleman said. “Our people believed in Imagine No Malaria and believed they could touch the lives of people with whatever they were able to give.”

When it was time for the missional offering at the main event, there was a special energy. The parade of givers triggered what Coleman called a “time for rejoicing.”

The celebration was well deserved. A lot of work went into producing record results. The ambitious goal to fill offering baskets to overflowing required conference planners to think out of the box.

“We wanted to offer a spiritual experience at Annual Conference,” Coleman said. “We wanted to take Imagine No Malaria directly to the people.”

And they did just that. Specially designed graphics and displays were placed in high traffic areas, mosquito nets were draped everywhere, supporters participated in Run for the Nets, prayer cards were handed out at a youth rally, and more. Kiosks with computers, educational material and green wristbands invited attendees to learn more about malaria and Imagine No Malaria. And when it came time for the “big give,” they took to the stage — which had never been done before.

“It was a teachable moment for our clergy and laity,” Coleman said. “They were able to share the reality of malaria and see how The United Methodist response is making a difference. It gave our people a chance to see for themselves the kind of impact the conference is trying to make.”

And the beat goes on. Even at the 2015 Annual Conference, several aspects of the 2013 INM campaign will continue, including the 5K run.

“Our churches, big and small, learned they could expand their reach and play a part in global healing” Coleman said. “The Kentucky Conference is an example of what can be done with just a little and we want other United Methodist churches and conferences to join us in thinking big!”