For the past two years, the West Ohio Annual Conference mission offering has helped fund the Light the Way campaign, an initiative to start new worshipping congregations and revitalize others within West Ohio. More than $2.5 million has been raised for Light the Way so far, with about the same amount left to raise in the next two years to meet the Conference’s $5 million goal.
Because of the Light the Way initiative:
- 8 new faith communities have been launched
- 1,387 new people (on average) in worship since September 2017
- 142 people baptized since September 2017
- 7 new communities launching this year and in 2020
- 1,242 gifts given by churches and individuals to support Light the Way
Brad Aycock, director of New Church Development for West Ohio, remarked, “I think it’s always important to remember that every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God.” He then introduced Patrick Shannon, a member of one of these new congregations whose life has been changed by Christ and the church.
“From the moment I walked through [the church] door, there was nothing but love. … Honestly, without the UMC, I would be dead right now, I have no doubts about that. … But praise to God that He saw to it to bring me back,” Patrick said.
The report ended with the Light the Way prayer:
God of our hearts, may the miraculous light of Christ engage and unite us with unstoppable faith, passionate courage, gladness of heart, and unbounded love, so that your Spirit-birthed possibilities shine through us and break through with the dawn of new hope and transformation to your world. Amen.