The Foundation: A Tool for Churches

The Foundation: A Tool for Churches

December 7, 2020
Pastor Dennis Wheeler

Pastor Dennis Wheeler recalls a time in his childhood, on a quiet summer day, where his grandfather said to him, “You are coming with me today.”  Away they went to his grandfather’s shop where he began learning about woodworking.  Connecting individual pieces of wood while using the right tools to create something new planted a seed in young Denny. Today, Pastor Denny continues to apply this concept his grandfather taught him so many years ago, but while woodworking is still a hobby, this concept has been applied to a great cause. Now he uses the right tools to build healthy congregations, and individuals, in the best way he knows how through the hand of God. In reflecting on the Foundation’s work, Pastor Denny says, “The Foundation is a tool of the Church.  You reinvest back in us. You create a shared gift and I love that.  You do such great job.”  

Pastor Denny has a three-point charge. Each of the three churches hold an investment account with the Foundation and is a ministry grant recipient.  Ministry grants are available every fall to each United Methodist church in Nebraska.  “Fremont Calvary received a grant to update the sound system for the music ministry. It works well with hearing aids,” Pastor Denny explains.  After one woman heard clearly in church for the first time in a long time, she exclaimed, “I’m young again! I can hear.” 

“This is the gift I see. The Foundation brings back life to a church,” Pastor Denny continues, “Your grant changes things. It’s a gift that changes people.”  

Schuyler UMC used the grant to put on an Arts Camp during the summer.  This camp allows kids of all faiths to come together and produce a play about a scripture passage. It allows the kids and people of the community to come together in a unique way, despite their beliefs. Pastor Denny says, “Our message to them is that they are all a creation of God. We challenge them to see that everyone has value, everyone is unique. We say to them: use your gift.” 

Pastor Denny says this challenge and message also comes from the Foundation through the Ministry Grant program, a program which allows each church to apply for a grant and to use it in a way that is unique to that church’s ministry. In reflecting on the Foundation, Pastor Denny says this of the Foundation’s services, “You provide for us in a unique way, you challenge us to listen to God.  We have to pray and listen. You teach us to invest in the church and you make the church the partner. The Foundation is such a powerful tool.”