Church is one of the places I'm most consistently happy. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. When Matt and I were planning our wedding, one of his only requests was that we get married in a church. At the time, we didn't have a church we were regularly attending. We went to a lot of places, week after week, trying to find one that would be a good fit for us.
It was not a big church. There was nothing particularly special about the building, the windows or the sanctuary. But we were immediately welcomed. People wanted to know us. They were friendly, and kind, and wanted to introduce us to other young couples we could be friends with. We felt like we were home — the relationships and the involvement were what we had missed in our previous church-finding endeavors. We made really good friends. We got involved in a lot of things. And even when I don't particularly feel in a church-y mood, I still want to go on Sundays, because these are my people.
I know these people. I know what their hardships are, and what their joys are. We've volunteered together, and we've cared for each other.
So when my friend Megan shared this website, UMCmarket, where a portion of your online shopping proceeds come back directly to your church, I thought that was a pretty sweet idea. Because a church, to me, is so much more than just a building you go to once a week. If, like me, you're probably already planning to do a lot of your holiday shopping online, logging in through this site before you make a purchase is something simple you can do to give back to your local church to support things like mission projects and children's ministries.
TONS of stores you already shop at online are participating, offering your chosen church a percentage of any purchase you make at Amazon, Walmart, Groupon, Sephora, Lowe's, Jos. A Bank, Pier 1, Barnes and Noble, Banana Republic, various hotels, and like 26 more pages of stores. Plus, this is not limited to Christmastime — you can give back to your church year-round.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure this site only works for United Methodist churches. If you know of a similar site that works for other denominations, I'd be happy to post the link here so others can find it.
Are you planning to do any shopping on Cyber Monday?
No one has paid me to talk about UMCmarket. I just like the concept, and know our church — and probably many others — could use a little extra help this season.