By Barby Bowser
The Foundation for Evangelism held its inaugural Equipping the Local Church Grant cycle in January 2022. Grants were awarded in June to 31 small-medium churches or groups of small congregations working together. Many congregations, like the two that follow, used the grant for community outreach and evangelism.
Grace AME Zion – Glow Up Youth Mentoring Program and Community Outreach Event
Crystal Cannon, director of Christian education for Grace AME Zion Church in Raleigh, N.C., says the church began the Glow Up Mentoring Program with the desire to help youth in their community. After getting input from those who joined the program, they found that the youth wanted to have ownership in developing the program. Because of that initial
“investment” in building relationships, there has been more trust and openness between mentors and youth. They also hosted an event with service providers from the community.
During that time they received feedback that what they were doing filled a need with a faith component that no one else in the area was providing. Through the “Community Glow Up event,” more youth joined the mentoring program, and new ties to people in the community were formed. Throughout the process, the congregation has been informed and church members have felt ownership in the program.
Trinity United Methodist Church – New Neighborhood Ministry Opportunities
The Equipping the Local Church Grant allowed Trinity UMC to reach out to their community. In September, they celebrated “Get in the Game Sunday,” with a high energy worship service and message that included the coach of a celebrated local high school football team.
Around Thanksgiving, they opened their doors for “Friendsgiving,” another worship service celebrating friendships, especially the relationship
we are all invited to have with Jesus. Following the service they shared a meal. They also hosted “Christmas on the Lawn,” inviting their community
to celebratory worship and relationship building opportunities. “These special worship celebrations have provided a connectional opportunity for all ages,” shared Angela Gilbert, Director of Connection.