You may also view the results here.
The $100,000 grant to the Board of Missions affirms the importance of missions at River Road Church, and challenges the church to move to some amazing new levels in missions outreach.
The chairman of the Board of Missions named a committee of 9, including the pastor, to develop a recommendations of how best to use these funds to meet that challenge. The members of the committee are: Laura Lee Chandler, Mike Clingenpeel, Judy Collins, George Davis, Norma Hays, Eleanor Nurney, Jim Peak, Bob Shoemake, and Roy Terry.
The committee determined, early on, that in order to have as many River Roaders involved as possible, (1) the focus would be on the local community, and (2) major input was needed from the congregation. Outside professional help assisted in putting together a questionnaire/survey. It was ready to send out to the congregation in mid-summer. One hundred forty (140) completed surveys were returned.
It was also determined that we wanted to have focus groups and dialogues in order to have back-and-forth discussions – for clarity and to spark additional ideas. Two of those have been conducted. Both were very helpful.
Now is our opportunity to share the results of the survey and to share with you where we are in this process.
3. If you checked “Hands-on Involvement” in the previous question, in what ways could you help?
Of course this one ran the gamut. We value all of the responses, but three particular responses dominated the list.
- 28 said they would help with food preparation
- 22 said they would help with tutoring
- 21 said they could help with construction
- Several responded with whatever or wherever needed. Several said something like – can provide leadership/organization/planning
7. Given that the grant of $100,000 is intended to move the church to new levels of missions outreach and participation, how do you suggest we use these funds?
Some 150 possibilities were mentioned. As you could guess those answers also “ran the gamut.” But responses did tend to cluster around 3-4 ideas. A few examples of each of those ideas are listed:
Expand Programs We Already have in Place or Partnering
(basically not starting from scratch)
Partner with existing programs such as Baptist Centers, Camp Alkulana, Oak Grove Elementary School, Crossover Clinic, ESL, neighborhood church, CARITAS, Micah, Habitat for Humanity, an inner-city Christian school
- Buy a multi-family house for rapid re-housing
- Buy a house in a depressed neighborhood, flip it, sell it at an affordable price, and use the money to buy, flip and sell again.
- Sponsor a homeless family and get them back in a home with a job
- Develop a soup kitchen to feed the homeless and needy
Adopting a Community/Church
- Adopt a neighborhood that would utilize the knowledge, skills and talents of the congregation to make a difference – based on the needs assessment for housing, clothing, health care/education, etc.
- Revitalize a church with potential for success
- Lots of suggestions about tutoring – at Oak Grove, at other schools, in churches in needy neighborhoods, at River Road
- Set up an after-school program for elementary through high school students; including tutoring, physical activities, music
- Adequate healthcare is a crisis for some families in our community. Perhaps we could assist or partner in some way with CrossOver or other ministries.
- Have a clinic at RRCB where local providers can donate time and skills
- Have a pool of volunteers to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments.
The committee has also invited three outside “guests” to speak to us. One is an inner-city pastor, who “made real for us” some of the needs, challenges, and opportunities in that community. The second one was a professor from BTSR who challenged us to think more to the “relationship” side of a project rather than the “doing” side. The third guest was on the staff at CrossOver Clinic and also quite involved in a school in the area that has had a major influx of immigrants. The impact of what these guests have shared was very helpful – and very challenging. We find ourselves referring to them and quoting them quite often.
The focus groups confirmed many of the findings of the survey, but also offered new insights as well. Two especially stood out: (1) Our folks would like to have mission projects that involve hands-on, face-to-face contact/relationship with the folks we intend to serve. (2) Both husband and wife, in the majority of younger families, work. Scheduling is very difficult for them, but these younger families definitely want to be involved. That certainly offers us encouragement for the future!
The BOM Special Committee is now focusing its energy on finding the project or projects that will match the interests, skills, and passions of River Road Church, and will not only offer many opportunities for service, but will make a significant positive impact on our community.