MINISTRY TOOLS IN WORKING WITH URBAN CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Keywords in my ministry at the Warren Ave. Presbyterian Church are connected with the same two concepts described by Chip Hardwick in his recent blog—COLLABORATING AND INNOVATING.  http://www.pcusa.org/blogs/comings-and-goings/2014/5/5/collaborating-and-innovating

As a former pastor of this small congregation with a huge building, a gigantic heart for the well-being of inner city children and plenty of sacred space to share with the community, the Session opened the doors to the Women of Colors Inc. for office and classroom use.  The Session also opened the church Gym and adjoining kitchen and classrooms for the Mark Neumeier Youth Center—an after-school / summer youth camp for as many as 60 neighborhood children .  

What made these decisions unique:

1.  Innovative vision in giving rent-free space to two organizations providing  programming and advocacy for the well-being of community children—programming aligned with the mission priorities of the church.

2.  Collaborative partnership with established organizations that had specialized expertise in running programs for children—more expertise than members of this small congregation with a huge building!

While I am no longer pastor of this Saginaw church, I truly believe this congregation is blessed with leadership willing to think “outside the box” in doing innovative/collaborative ministries. 

To end with three excellent questions Chip Hardwick asks in his blog: 

First, what are innovations which are currently going on in society and in the church which can help congregations to thrive?  Second, what are the basics of change management which will help church leaders to navigate congregational preferences and politics to implement the innovations?  Finally, what are the habits of the mind which help congregational leaders develop innovations on their own?”

May God continue to enrich and bless us in the work we do as church leaders!

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