“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:8-10)
Networking can become ministry and not just checking your Facebook! Partnering is the essence of how the Gospel is transmitted in scripture and our modern social media alike. These are our steps and motivation.
- Engage the Congregation. We are a Christian Church first. It is our overflow of His grace that gives us the desire to reach out. Cheatham’s vision is, “We are Christ’s Love in Action: Following Christ, Serving our Community, and Unifying the Church. Our “Zone” is the Edgewood ISD boundaries. Our connections will be tracked in both a paper directory and an in this online resource.
- Engage your neighbors. After 18 months of study we have identified our fragile populations and ministry opportunities as underserved young people and senior citizens. Rather than go it alone, we are getting connected with helping ministries and creating an easily updatedresource .
- Engage your Connection partners. First the team made a list of all helping ministries, second we planned an informal dinner/ “Meet and Greet”, Third we bathed the event in prayer. It is important to “Be and humble partner”. We make partners so they can partner with our partners! Everyone wins. . Our Connections are listed in the tab above.
- Engage an start up projects We partnered to do some small projects at the first meeting. These have become very fruitful. Our friends at Edgewood’s Meals-on Wheels needed activities and
visibility-we are partnering a monthly Community lunch on the last Wednesday of Each Month!
- Engage long term projects. Edgewood PD wants to start a student safety ID program. Edgewood ISD needs emergency
food and ongoing support for students on the weekends and holidays. Through these Connections, a backpack food program will begin by back to school in partnership with EISD. This “GO BAG” ministry continues to grow.
- Engage change. With each of these opportunities come challenges. Our vision follows our scriptural focus at the top of this post. This keeps us doing what God calls and not merely good things for their own sake. This is radical at first but will become second nature very quickly.
Notes for other churches looking at a networking ministry:
- Change is constant so stay on top of updating key contact information.
- DON’T try to do everything but discern a few places of ministry and do them well. Find ways to creatively insert the gospel into potential projects.
- Be who you are in your community but partner with others rather than duplicate what another group is doing.
- Be careful whom you endorse. It could cripple your reputation if you are tied to a partner who lacks commitment or character.
- Know and be known by your school administrators, coaches, guidance counselors, city secretary/manager, and police, fire, ambulance and social service providers.
Want more information? Here are some resources:
Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” (https://www.cokesbury.com/product/9780316316965/the-tipping-point/?rank=3&txtSearchQuery=The%20Tipping%20Point )it is an excellent study book for use with the Connect Team.
“The Externally Focused Church”, by Rusaw and Swanson. An excellent coaching resource. Chapters 5 and 10 are especially helpful with growing both spiritually and in numbers through partnering.
Rev. Tom Berlin’s Video, “ Whose Kid’s Are They” from the 2016 Texas Annual Conference. Find this at http://www.txcumc.org/newsdetail/keynote-investing-in-the-young-5014355
“Surf Shack” VBS Curriculum-Craft Leader Book: Numerous step by step “Mission Crafts” appropriate for all ages and occasions.
www.wordpress.com Doable, flexible and affordable web pages and blogs.
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