Bracken birthed Schertz. Schertz birthed Universal City. Even though these three United Methodist Churches share some DNA and are in close proximity to each other, until participating in the training from Transformational Communities Network (TCN), there was little connection and shared ministry among them. But, that has changed!
In 2020, Schertz UMC and Universal City UMC were both appointed new pastors who each had participated on a TCN team years earlier. Knowing the value of the program for congregational, leadership and community development, both pastors recruited TCN teams from their new churches to begin the training in 2021.
Like most TCN teams, Schertz and Universal City began applying their training by connecting with neighbors and listening to the community.
Their listening led to the discovery that the community needed a resource center. Creating a community resource center was going to require collaboration, so Schertz and Universal City UMC decided to begin dreaming and planning about what they could do together. One action step that they took was to go through the TCN training again in 2022, but this time not as individual churches but as a joint team. The joint team completed the 2022 TCN training year building on their community listening in 2021 and leveraging different TCN tools including assets and gifts identification and facilitative leadership. This year the joint TCN Team created a practical vision for what they could do together along with an action plan with six task areas. The group meets monthly to advance their new collaboration and their vision. And, new partners are being added to the collaboration!
When we get off our islands and work together, it’s just like the loaves and fishes.
Linda Bell, Schertz UMC
Schertz and Universal City have been eager to add Bracken UMC as an active partner. Bracken UMC has had a successful food ministry at the Pickrell Park in Schertz, TX for several years. The Schertz/Universal City TCN Team asked if they could join in and support Bracken’s food ministry in October. The collaborative effort between the churches leveraged their gifts and assets to serve 88 families – the most that had been served since 2020! Their partnership attracted a 4th congregation, La Roca Vida. With multiple pastors present, there was ample time to listen and pray with families wanting prayer. The members of the four congregations worked side by side strengthening their relationships. They plan to continue working together in this food ministry. Bracken UMC plans to become an active participant in the collaborative efforts to create a community resource center.
There is great anticipation about what types of community ministry will continue to emerge from these three churches re-connecting! As a TCN team member from Schertz UMC, Linda Bell, said, “When we get off our islands and work together, it’s just like the loaves and fishes.”