McDonald Road is a active and growing church! We’ve had many new members join our congregation, and one of our church ministries, led by Tim and Kathy Cook, is providing gift baskets for our new members to help them feel welcome. Lezlee Walters asked Kathy Cook some questions about the New Member Ministry, so keep reading below to learn more about this special ministry.
Q. I saw all those beautiful baskets on the stage one Sabbath. Who were those for?
A. Those baskets were for the seven new families joining our church this month.
Q. How did this all get started?
A. We are a large church and I never knew who the new members were—their names were voted on, but there wasn’t a process in place for us to get to know them or even see a picture of them. For a few years I suggested that “someone” should do something about it. Everyone thought it was a good idea but that’s where it stayed…just an idea.
Three years ago, when Tim was asked to chair the New Member Committee, he and I made the decision to introduce each family and present them with a nice “personalized” basket on the week they were voted.
Q. Where do you get all those items?
A. I am a bargain shopper—I love finding great deals and everywhere am keeping my eyes open for items that can be included in the baskets. I speak with each family ahead of time and then based on what they like to do the search begins for the right items to put into their basket.
Q. What do you include in each basket?
A. Each basket gets a devotional book of some kind, a church directory, a bath and body pump soap, cookies, various other goodies, bread and then the personalized gift. My goal is to make it fun for the families to go home and look through their baskets and find that someone took the time to try and make it special for each of their family members.
Q. Do you do this all by yourself?
A. Finding baskets is always a challenge—Janice Parker has been such a blessing as she watches for the right sized baskets and gets many of them for this ministry. Piece of Cake bakery donates thumb print cookies, Mildred Kirk provides funds for the pump soaps, Bella Jones, Doris Palmer, and Lezlee Walters have made delicious bread. Kristi and Taylor Lockridge designed a lovely welcome card to use for each basket.
Q. What positive things have you seen as a result of the baskets?
A. When I introduce them and share about their life a little, it is fun to see people go to them and talk about common interests. One time we had two families transferring from the same church in California and they didn’t know each other. How unique that they both ended up right here at McDonald Road Church! Another time I got a call from someone who remembered hearing that the new member was a dog trainer and wanted to contact them, and someone else was looking for the new member that taught cello lessons. And at the end of church when they are carrying their basket, it is easy to identify them as the new member. Another great opportunity to give them a warm welcome.
Q. How can people help?
A. Look for baskets (they need to be large enough to fit all the items), magnetic note pads, gently used devotional books, crazy socks for teens (and any other ideas for this age!), Pringles cans fit nicely, donate funds to the “welcome committee” and feel free to contact me any time for questions or ideas.
We have a wonderful church family. I am just one member with a passion to help people feel welcome and blessed to join this family. I encourage everyone to be aware of who is around you and reach out to them—make sure everyone who walks through our doors gets acknowledged with a kind word. If you have questions or want to help with our New Member Ministry, call Kathy Cook at 423-400-2526.