Lamb (and Chicken) Power
2018 is the year of Lamb Power at Discovery Presbyterian Church in Omaha, NE. Discovery prides itself on being a very mission driven congregation, and each year they choose a theme that guides their ministry. The theme for this year was deemed “Lamb Power,” derived from the Book of John. This leant itself to a barnyard motif that is on display throughout the church.
They decided to incorporate this theme into their One Great Hour of Sharing giving during the spring, using families of chickens (a $25 item from the Presbyterian Giving Catalog) as their thermometer to increase momentum around the offering. Chickens play a significant role for many families in Nebraska, both past and present. Residents recount stories of how they or their relatives survived the Great Depression with the help of chickens, whether as a food source or a source of income, and current residents in Discovery’s south Omaha neighborhood have joined the national trend of keeping chickens in urban environments. Therefore, connecting chickens to the church’s mission giving seemed like a smart and creative way to promote the Offering.
Rounding Up the Congregation
The church got creative in using the barnyard/chicken theme during the offering season. For example, they repurposed a chicken coop as a prayer station. Someone writes a prayer and puts it in the coop while taking another out and committing to pray for the retrieved request.
The youth of the church got involved by decorating Discovery’s new common area using the barnyard theme and writing their own skit for a Minute for Mission which they performed during the Lenten season. Beth Galli, Mission Committee Co-Chair, also gave her own personal Minute for Mission which you can read below.
Minute for Mission
Many of us at Discovery Presbyterian grew up hearing stories from our parents or grandparents about life during the Depression. Some here experienced it firsthand. I heard stories from my parents, but most especially my mother. My cousin, Dee, [also a Discovery member] heard similar stories, as our mothers were sisters. Many of our moms’ stories were about chickens.
Our moms lived on the very edge of Omaha, which, at the time, was 42nd Street. Our grandfather worked in one of the packing plants, and our grandmother took care of everything and everyone on the home front, including raising chickens. They struggled during the depression, as many people did. Once they made their mortgage payment, there was a quarter left for the month. Those chickens were their main food source. They were also a source of income as dressed chickens and eggs could be sold. Chickens were one of the main reasons they got through the Depression without suffering hunger and without losing their home. And their house was known by those who rode the rails as a place where a sandwich and a cup of coffee could be had for the asking. They didn’t have much, but they shared what they could.
The Depression was many decades ago, but for many in the world, including the United States, the Depression is now. Through One Great Hour of Sharing, only $25.00 can purchase a flock of chickens – and in turn eggs for food, feathers for pillows, more chickens for more people, fertilizer, food security and livelihoods for farmers and extended families around the world.
Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing don’t only go to feed the hungry. One Great Hour also supports self- development of people and disaster relief. To see all the ministries, grab a booklet out in the commons. Or even easier, Google it.
There are fish banks in the commons, envelopes in the pews, you can donate online, or text OGHS to 20222 to make a $10.00 donation. Please share what you can. Don’t underestimate Lamb power, or chicken power either.
Visit from Office of Special Offerings
Bryce Wiebe, Director of Special Offerings, visited the congregation in the weeks leading up to the offering and reveled in the energy and excitement of all the members of Discovery Presbyterian surrounding this initiative.
“What is inspiring about Discovery is their commitment to the Holy Spirit as a creative force in our lives. They approach the study of scripture and their engagement in mission with a sense of awe and excitement at what God makes possible through and with them. They are a remarkable group of people.”
Spirit Drives Increased Participation
When all was said and done, Discovery Presbyterian more than doubled their giving to One Great Hour of Sharing by utilizing the gift of chickens to gauge the congregation’s progress. Beth Galli emphasizes the success of this initiative was all spirit driven, and it really brought the congregation together.
Has your church gotten creative with the Special Offerings? We’d love to hear about it! Share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.