By Fred Koenig
The ONE Matters Discipleship Award recognizes churches who in recent years have moved from zeros in baptisms and professions of faith to positive numbers with a renewed focus on intentional discipleship. This year’s recipient of the ONE Matters Award goes to Edina United Methodist Church in the northeast corner of the state.
Edina is part of the Knox County charge. It is a county seat town of around 1,200. The area of the state is in general population decline but the church knows there are hundreds in their community who don’t have community or God in their lives. The church is now most visible by leaving the building. They are pursuing millennials with their efforts. They have an alternative Wednesday night worship service averaging 30 for the non-churched and younger 30-somethings crowd.
Edina is outwardly focused. Through the clothes closet, Salvation Army relationship, and working with the local school, the church is no longer talking the talk but walking the walk.
District Superintendent Steve Pinnell suggests that the reason for this revitalization has been due to the church’s desire to reach the millennial generation. Under Pastor Graig Connell’s leadership since 2016, the church has been trying new things and is beginning to see the fruit. When Connell got to Edina, worship attendance was 58. By end of 2017 worship attendance was at 77. They have seen professions of faith grow from 0 to 5 over that same time period.
In addition to a One Matters Discipleship Award plaque, the award includes a $1,000 check from Discipleship Ministries. The monetary award is designed to encourage continued growth in the area of discipleship.