Missions Monday: Christian's Place Mission's Story

July 29, 2019

Christian's Place Mission is the newest Conference Advance Special of the North Alabama Conference. Click the link below to watch a video about the work of this mission agency.  Then read about Christian's Place Mission's beginnings, current ministries and future plans.

Click here to watch video.

The Bible teaches that when God wants to work great miracles, he often starts small. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. Jesus fed the multitude with only five loaves and two fish. Christian’s Place started feeding Nauvoo with a $2.38 canned ham – and a spark of faith!

In October 2008, former pastor of Nauvoo United Methodist Church (Southwest District) Roger Watkins asked his friend Carole Newman to come play piano for the Sunday morning church service. The 125-year-old church was dying – its membership had dwindled to just one family. Carole agreed, and the Holy Spirit began revealing to her that this once thriving community was in great need of help. In a small town with no grocery stores, no medical facilities, no drug stores and no public transportation, the people of Nauvoo were without the most basic of services that most of us take for granted. 

After the church service, Roger and Carole put the canned ham, and a small can of vegetables given by another friend, on the altar and prayed over them, asking God to bless the act of feeding a single family. God put it on their hearts to serve the needs of this community, and they obeyed. Christian’s Place Mission was born December 21, 2008.

From that modest beginning over ten years ago, a vibrant ministry has grown. On the third Saturday of every month, from 10 a.m. until noon, you’ll see the Christian’s Place Mission volunteers hard at work. Christian’s Place Mission has brought together more than 5,000 volunteers from every denomination to feed and counsel more than 34,000 people. 

As for Nauvoo United Methodist Church itself, it has grown from one family to 23 members. These members serve their own community and have ministered to the needy in 13 other cities!

With Christian’s Place growing, a fully-funded new building was erected, completely from donations and volunteer labor, to house the vital offices of the Mission. But God had a bigger plan for that office space – to expand the Mission to also serve the healthcare needs of the community. That building is now home to Capstone Rural Health Center. Residents now have a place to go to receive medical care, drug prescriptions, and periodic free eye exams. 

Additional land has been acquired for a future building expansion to house educational programs, to expand the current clothing ministry and to add toiletries and personal hygiene products to the Mission's offerings. These are vital services to a community that lacks even the most basic services.

Why Should You Help?

Jesus taught by word and by example, that we should care for others, especially those who cannot care for themselves. Who in the community do you feel called to care for?

Nauvoo is an old mining town, and with the demise of coal mining in the area, the people have lost all means to support themselves. Imagine if you suddenly lost your job. Now imagine if your entire family, entire community, and pretty much everyone you knew lost their jobs. Now imagine you lived in an area with no soup kitchens, no homeless shelters, no large churches with local mission budgets, and no health clinics. And even if there were jobs or services around, imagine you have no public transportation to get there, and no car, and no gas if you did have a car. This is the terrible blight of rural poverty that the people of Nauvoo face, with no means to relocate anywhere with better prospects. In this environment, many people don’t even have heat in the winter. Or adequate clothes. Or adequate food. Or a way to cook food even if they had it.

The people of Nauvoo are like the “least of these”  Christians are called to serve: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink …  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me.”

What Can You Do?

Pray and ask God what He would have you do. Christian's Place Mission needs:

  • Prayers
  • Volunteers
  • Contributions (tax-deductible)
  • Donations – non-perishable food items, clothing, time, and talent
Come and join other volunteers! There are many ways to help, such as counseling needy families and filling sacks with food and groceries. Leaders assist first-time volunteers to find a way to serve that is meaningful. The main need for volunteers is on the 3rd Saturday of every month. Arrive by 9:30 a.m. Distribution is from 10 a.m. until noon.

Bicentennial Celebration of Missions

For more than 200 years, Methodists from all continents have engaged in mission work that has transformed the world through the “work of justice, alleviate suffering; build peace; heal the sick; empower women; train leaders; and witness to the kingdom of God.” This year’s bicentennial celebration recognizes the mission work that has been done over the years.

The North Alabama Conference is celebrating the mission work of our congregations and organizations. You are invited to share your mission stories through an article or a short video. Send your congregation's stories to akufarimai@umcna.org.


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