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How to Partner With Existing Community Programs to Fight Poverty

You don’t have create new programs to serve families impacted by poverty. Instead, consider partnering with existing local organizations to boost to their efforts.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn, more and more families are experiencing poverty. The result is increased food insecurity, homelessness, educational disruption, and more. Instead of attempting to tackle all these problems alone, your ministry can partner with programs that already exist in your community and amplify their efforts. Use this guide.

Joint Program Efforts: A Cheat Sheet

If you’re considering reaching out to existing local community programs in your area, follow these tips.

  • Determine which programs your ministry wants to come alongside, and connect with the leaders at those partner organizations.
  • Ask what ways your ministry could best support their goals.
  • Define and prioritize specific goals for your ministry’s involvement in the effort.
  • Create a communication plan with one or two key people who’ll keep lines of communication flowing.
  • Ensure screening and background checks are complete and accurate if your ministry with share volunteers.
  • Listen to your community partner’s needs. Some programs resist partnership because they’re afraid you won’t listen and instead will come in with your own agenda. Really listen to determine the best way you can serve this partner.
  • Come with the heart of a servant. Program administrators know if you’re simply trying to manipulate them for your church’s interest. You’ll truly serve them if you have the heart of a servant.
  • Start reasonably small. Do only what you can do. Don’t overpromise and under-deliver. And don’t stretch your ministry or yourself too thin.
  • Set clear expectations. Ensure you know details about what your ministry will provide. Create a timeline. Communicate pertinent details to your team.
  • Create a team mentality. Consider that your new community partner is part of your team and vice-versa. You are both working toward the same goal.
  • Deliver on what you promise. If you agree to do something, do it.
  • Build relationships. The relationships you create are key for the long-term ministry.
  • Allow partner programs to serve you, too, when the time arises. This partnership is a two-way street. Be willing to receive.
  • Truly love your community partner. Love is the language that opens doors and causes the gospel to flourish.


Continue Crisis Ministry Programs to Families in Your Church

If your ministry decides to partner with existing community programs serving those in need, keep these pointers in mind for continuing crisis family ministry on your home turf.

Be available to kids and families.

Families in crisis need you. Be there for them and listen to them. Pray with them and love them through their situation. Help them any way you can. Be available. Partnering with community-wide programs won’t diminish the need for relational, one-to-one ministry to families in crisis.

Maintain effective ministry efforts.

Continue your current ministry efforts to those in need; there’s no reason to discontinue what you’re already doing. If you” adopt” families to care for, continue. If you are a collection site for a food pantry, continue serving as such.

Open your arms to the community.

Focus on forming new relationships with people in your church neighborhood—especially if they don’t attend your church. Let people know you’re there for them and care about them if they need something.

Recognize families need you for the long haul.

Today’s needs and problems won’t go away overnight. So as you make plans and work on partnerships, have an eye toward the reality that emerging from these problems won’t happen in the next few weeks. Plan for the long-haul.

Understand the depth of what you do.

Family ministry is so much more than good curriculum or programs. Never underestimate the critical role you play or the importance of your actions or words to the families you serve.

Be persistent.

Availability and persistence are where God uses you best. People don’t always know what to ask for, so listen when they process their thoughts and emotions. God will reveal to you what they need—whether it’s physical, spiritual, emotional, or social. So listen, persistently.

Find out more about how the pandemic is pushing more families into poverty here.

Find a free download for 5 ways families can combat hunger in their community today here.

Watch young Lauren serve God and those in need here.


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