Creating Seeds of Vitality in the Local Church: Working with the Imagine No Malaria Initiative

Creating Seeds of Vitality in the Local Church: Working with the Imagine No Malaria Initiative


Ardsley UMC (AUMC) is a small church worshiping less than 25 each Sunday and with no children.  Although the church runs a small preschool during the week and its building space is used by both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, the church is not on the radar of most young families in the area.  In order to elevate the church’s profile in the community, the church started hosting a table at Ardsley Day, a kid-focused event in the small village of Ardsley, NY featuring bouncy houses, rock climbing, food, music  groups on stage, arts and crafts and lots of people.  The first year the church participated, the children were afraid to take the free candy set out on the table with brochures and prayer cards. This year the church table focused on its support of the Imagine No Malaria Initiative and designed a more interactive table.  The church borrowed the colorful wooden mosquito with the attached mini-basketball hoop from annual conference, set it on a table, drew a line on the cement for the children to stand behind and had children waiting to shoot baskets all day.  When the children made a basket they received an Imagine No Malaria green wristband and a piece of candy.

As the children shot hoops, parents waited and church members struck up a conversation talking about living in Ardsley, malaria, the weather: easy topics to start building new relationships with the people in the community.  A jar sat on a table with the logo, ‘Buy a mosquito net; save a life.’ “We never asked anyone to put money in.  That wasn’t why we were there, but people wanted to help,” commented Kazu, a member of the church.  The church collected $85 for Imagine No Malaria that day, but most importantly they made new friends in their community.  Next year the church is thinking about borrowing the mosquito costume from the annual conference and staging races where children try to beat the mosquito.

Helpful Advice

  • Host a table at a local event
  • Table needs to look dynamic; capture people’s interest
  • The best interactive table allows people to spend time you

This church’s story is not unique in the Imagine No Malaria Initiative.  Time and again a focus on mission has brought revitalization to the local church.  When a church has the opportunity to integrate faith and practice, seeds of vitality are sown and those seeds lead to revitalization that stretches from the local to the district to the conference level.  For example, the West Virginia Conference in the third year of their involvement with the Imagine No Malaria Initiative became a 100% apportionment conference!  This enthusiasm and excitement touched Ardsley UMC.  Finding a way to interact in your community while raising awareness about malaria can help grow seeds of vitality in your church, too.