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Sum is greater than parts when churches work together

SUMMARY “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. 
Share the work, share the wealth. 
And if one falls down, the other helps, 
But if there’s no one to help, tough!”

What great advice from Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, The Message! Your church can tackle projects that seem unimaginable to do alone, but feasible when working with other churches and community groups. Existing partnerships and United Methodist Communications’ new Impact Community program can help with inspiration and funding.

Finding partners can maximize your impact. Impact Community, a new grant program of the United Methodist Communications’ Rethink Church initiative, builds on the concept that churches can do more when they cluster together and build community partners.

“Clusters will be comprised of three or more United Methodist congregations and will be located within a media market. Clustering will allow churches to realize benefits through savings of dollars and time without overlap,” says Jackie Vaughan, who leads Impact Community.

Grant proposals must demonstrate community relevance with clear goals and objectives as well as details about the impact and reach. Districts and conferences also may apply for the year-round grant program. For full details and a copy of the Event Planner Workbook, check out the Impact Community online support center.

Below are some idea starters. Add your ministries or ideas to this list.

EVENT IDEAS

  1. “Feed the Hungry” food drive (“No Child Will Go Hungry Day”)
  2. “Clean Up Community” work day (“Beautification” or “Green and Clean”)
  3. Paint community center or playground or build playground
  4. Habitat for Humanity® projects
  5. “Coats for Kids,” “Free Yard Sale,” “Giving Gloves” clothing drive
  6. Free health screenings
  7. “Soles for Souls” shoes for homeless or needy
  8. Improvement projects through the public school system
  9. Day of service and donations to low-income retirement homes, older adults and others (community’s largest free yard sale)
  10. Partner with a charity event already scheduled in your area to sponsor and to provide workers for their event.

Multiple events in one city/community labeled “Impact ________ (insert city).”

Celebrate new relationships

Celebrate what you accomplished in the community event. Just as importantly, build Christian relationships with those who serve and are strangers to the faith community. Mark the end of the community event with a celebration. Be sure to include all participants.

Celebrate the benefits

For your church

  • Increase church participation.
  • Activate membership; change focus from “us” to “others.”
  • Raise awareness of local and global needs.
  • Increase church unity.
  • Introduce a new and dynamic type of worship.
  • Create a project to which everyone can contribute!

For the community

  • Display God’s love in a tangible way.
  • Build relationships between your church and community organizations.
  • Reach unchurched friends by inviting them to serve with you.
  • Enhance the church’s reputation in the community.
  • Plant spiritual seeds through service.
  • Meet real needs of under-resourced people.

Impact Community events will be as unique and diverse as the people of The United Methodist Churches who organize them.   What if church left the building?