Churches offer unexpected classes

When struggling through the difficult process of a divorce, or even trying to balance a family checkbook during these tough economic times, many would not think of turning to their church for help.

That’s exactly what those at the Helena United Methodist Church hope its community will do.

Beginning in January, the Helena United Methodist Church will offer several support groups and classes, aimed at helping those in its community through some of life’s most challenging times.

Those classes include Practical Parenting, DivorceCare and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, among others, said Paula Jones, associate pastor at the church.

“I have been shocked by the overwhelming response, particularly to the Dave Ramsey financial program. We may even have to start two classes of it,” she said.

Why offer the classes? To better serve its community, Jones said.

“If the church is not in the community, making a difference in the quality of life for people in the community and taking care of the community, it’s not doing its job,” she said. “It’s too easy for the church to turn in on itself and take care of itself.”

The classes and groups, too, are a way to introduce the church to the community, Jones said.

“It’s an exciting time right now in Helena,” she said. “Helena is experiencing incredible growth. Six months ago, we were running between 250 and 300 on Sunday and now we’re running at about 500 worshippers.”

As a mother and grandmother, Jones has high hopes for the Practical Parenting classes.

“I know how important it is to work on yourself. This class is not as much about giving you parenting techniques or telling you how to do it right, as much as it is about growing as a person yourself and operating as a parent from a standpoint of confidence,” she said.

The DivorceCare support group came about as a suggestion from a member of Helena United Methodist who was going through a divorce.

“She realized how many other people were struggling through it. Nearly all of us are struggling with some of these things,” Jones said.

Another group starting in early 2009 is called Revolution and will work to help “twenty–somethings who may be struggling with how to follow Jesus when they have so many doubts about the church,” she said.

For more information, please call 663-0111.