He also focuses on the idea that people need each other.
“We’re social beings. We need to figure out ways to be together and grow from one another,” Richards said.
He feels that creating small group ministries, like volunteer groups, will create opportunities for people to connect. The small groups will try to match desires with the needs of the community.
Richards also sees a need for reaching out to younger generations, and he thinks the key is creating hands-on opportunities to serve.
“Young people want to put their faith in action,” he said.
Richards said the United Methodist Church has decreased from 15 million members in 1968 to 6 or 7 million today.
“The church has become less and less a part of the family’s weekly experience,” Richards said. “One of the things we’re going to be working toward is growing the community (of the church).”
He understands that busy families have many options on Sunday mornings.
“We have a church here that can provide a caring, open environment for you to worship and care for one another,” Richards said.
His conversational preaching style aims not only to proclaim the gospel but to focus on the love of God and how that is lived out within the community.
“I try to share stories or experiences in life that connects the gospel and the theme of the love of God,” Richards said.
“For example, if someone is hurting or in crisis, how can the community be there for that person?”