We evaluate our work and resourcing by how it lives out these “ministry with” values as articulated below:
- Come alongside neighbors in a spirit of friendship and mutuality. Listen to and learn from them.
- Build long-term relationships with neighbors.
- Uncover the often-undervalued gifts, talents, dreams, desires and connections of neighbors.
- Adopt the iron rule: Never do for others what they can do for themselves.
- Address the systems that perpetuate suffering and inequity rather than only deal with the symptoms of our broken world.
- Use a strengths-based approach that leverages the gifts and relationships of local partners
Each fall at the start of a new school year, many churches collect school supplies and donate them to their neighborhood schools. During the summer months, youth groups travel to destinations near and far to make repairs on homes and to tackle other small construction projects. Throughout the year, many churches manage food pantries, which help address food insecurity among their neighbors. In most cases, these ministries could be described as “ministry to” neighbors or “ministry for” neighbors. They are good things to do, and the people who do them are caring and faithful; however, these kinds of ministries typically are limited in their holistic, transformational impact, and sometimes they send an unintended, harmful message to our neighbors about their dignity and efficacy (see When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert and Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton).
In an effort to help local churches develop bold, “ministry with” initiatives, the CMO has two grant cycles per year.