The Gathering Place, a United Methodist church plant in the Moody area, is preparing to launch its public ministry later this month.
In June 2010, Rev. Matt Scott was appointed to start a new congregation in the Moody area. He immediately began to meet people and form a “Launch Team” – a group of people whose role would be to simply assist in any means needed to launch what would soon become The Gathering Place Church.
The launch team began to meet on a biweekly basis for prayer, Bible Study, and team building. Rev. Scott explains, “This team grew very quickly to about 40 people, but then once the amount of commitment was discussed we leveled off at about 20.”
This group of 20 launch team members decided to begin “Preview Services” in September 2010. They would meet every other Sunday evening at 6 p.m. at Moody High School for a worship service. The service was for anyone in the area who may be interested in being a part of the church plant. These services were not advertised widely, just by “word of mouth.”
Rev. Scott explains, “After our 3rd service our group of 20 had grown to 120, but once again after the discussion of commitment and hard work we leveled off at about 50 people.”
After seven preview services during the fall, the group planned their final two preview services to prepare for the official launch of the new church plant. These last two services (on Jan. 2 and Jan. 9 , 2011) were moved to Sunday mornings at 10 a.m.
Rev. Scott says, “As we now find ourselves about two weeks from our ‘official launch Sunday’ it has become very hard to contain the excitement of this team. On January 16, 2011, 50 very excited people will start this amazing journey that God has called us to. We firmly believe that God is working in this area and are very humbled that He has asked us to join Him.”
As the launch team has prepared for the church plant “going public,” one area they have focused on is children’s ministry.
Rev. Scott says, “We feel that young parents must know that their children are learning about God and are having fun in the process. It is our desire that parents can worship freely while being rest assured that their children are in excellent hands. We are so blessed to have volunteers who feel Gods calling to serve in children's ministry”
Another thing the launch team and friends of the church have focused on is prayer. On Dec. 7, 2010, the group started The Gathering Place Church 40 days of Prayer. Those who participated took time to fast and pray for God to give the new congregation guidance, vision and direction. They also prayed for specifics from a prayer calendar developed for the 40 days leading up to the public launch.
The church plant will hold its first public worship service on Jan. 16, 2011, at 10 a.m. at Moody High School. To invite the greater Moody community, the church is doing two mass mailings, as well as launch team members handing out postcards and sending personal notes to people they know.
Rev. Scott adds, “Our main focus will be to meet the needs of our community by service and love. We have already some amazing people who want nothing more than to grow closer to Jesus Christ. Many of them have been to church before but have become inactive for various reasons. Many have told me that they have never found a place where ‘they feel at home.’ We are hoping that the relaxed atmosphere of a High School cafeteria and the welcoming, loving attitudes from our awesome launch team will open their hearts to call The Gathering Place their church home.”
New Congregations is one of the ministry priorities of the North Alabama Conference.
Rev. Scott adds, “Thanks to the apportionments given by all the churches of the North Alabama conference and private giving directly from local bodies we have been able to equip The Gathering Place Church with sufficient equipment and supplies for our launch. We want to thank everyone who has blessed us with your prayers, your gifts, and your support. We are looking forward to being a part of the body of Christ through the North Alabama Conference.”