If you want to know what really happened, there’s nothing like hearing the story from someone who was there. Stories are very important to Sustaining Congregational Excellence (SCE). Through them the impact of the church’s work is most clearly seen. Grantees are asked to complete simple reporting forms that help us get a sense of the how their Health & Renewal project is going/went. All the answers give us valuable insights but often the best answers are in response to the question, “Please share one story which illustrates how your congregation’s health was enhanced/community was impacted.”

Here are stories from our grantees. They’re short—most only a paragraph—but they’re powerful. Enjoy, be inspired, and may all the glory go to God!

To read quotes from grantees, click here.

To see videos from grantees, click here.

Too see photos from grantees, click here.

Quick links to church names that start with: A-C     D-F     G-I      J-L     M-O     P-R     S-V     W-Z 


Agassiz CRC – Agassiz, BC
Grant Awarded: December 2008 
Project Name: Growing Together as Couples and Families
Focus: building up the church/reaching out to the community through a marriage and family conference

We’ve formed of a new small group! Five couples committed to learn from Gary Thomas via his Sacred Marriage DVD curriculum. These gatherings were meaningful, intimate and fun! Happily, these couples intend to continue meeting, which I trust will be a long-term blessing to this congregation. One of the couples that joined the small group experienced a miscarriage this winter. I was touched by the way the other members rallied around this couple and cared for them in their grief.

All Nations CRC of Sacramento – Sacramento, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2009 
Project Name: Spreading Word of God Within the Region for Growth of Church—Congregational Mission
Focus: training for believers and spreading the Word of God

The internal health of our church is being positively influenced. Respect for the elders is increasing. The outreach program is resulting in regional revival. Outreach services include computer lessons and day-care.

Anchor of Hope CRC – Silverdale, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2007     Photo
Project Name: Newspaper Advertising
Focus: advertising for community outreach

Our grant focused on outreach. We soon realized that the newspaper ads were not successful for us. We turned our frustration and disappointment into positive actions:

  • we are building a new and improved website.
  • we refocused on greeting and welcoming issues.
  • we started an “assimilation group” for women of the church—similar to Coffee Break of earlier years. We created our own curriculum about loneliness.
  • we cancelled the men’s Bible Study in the traditional format and now take the men’s group to meet in the homes of various people who are not part of the men’s group – widows, elderly, visitors.  Rather than sitting inside we are visible. Now, instead of a Men’s Bible Study, we have Men On The Open Road – MOTOR.

Those positive actions have kicked us into the more dynamic ministry that we desired.  And that is a good thing, a gift of God.

Ann Arbor Hope CRC – Ann Arbor, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2007     Photo
Project Name: Servant Leader Training
Focus: servant-leadership training

The greatest thing is to see non-Christians become Christians through this project. When lay people were awakened in spirit, they could be more efficient in terms of evangelism. More than 50 people went through mission training. Since they could taste the goodness of having spiritual training and serving people, they want to serve people more. So, during the year about 10-20 members went to mission field on a short-term mission.

Ann Arbor Hope CRC – Ann Arbor, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2011       
Project Name: Healing and Renewal Through Women’s Cell Groups
Focus: women’s cell groups

A woman, and her family, came to Ann Arbor as a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan (UM). They were invited to Hope Church by a colleague at the UM hospital. Being Buddhists, they knew nothing about Christianity. They started coming to church but mainly for social interaction. Every Sunday they reminded themselves they were Buddhists. They didn’t want to be brainwashed and converted to Christianity!

Over time they became involved in church activities—thanks to the loving care of cell group leaders. On Saturday April 13, the woman attended our “Women’s Seminar” but didn’t expect much. Listening to testimonies and lectures by speakers, and sharing with her group members, she felt a strong need to be like these women who had committed themselves to Christ. She wanted to try to live faithfully as a wife, mother, and daughter and to raise her own daughter to be like these godly women.

A few weeks later she urged her husband to attend a men’s group so he could be inspired by Christian men just as she was inspired by Christian women. A month later, the couple made public profession of faith and were baptized. What a great and wonderful God we serve!!!!

Awake Church and Cascade Neighborhood Church – Seattle, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2010      
Project Name: Parish Collective
Focus: linking the congregations in creative and educational ways

Artists are discovering their voice in the church! Their gifts are being encouraged and celebrated. Specifically, an artist named Heather discovered the significant parallels between the contemporary world of performance art and the actions of the biblical prophets. God has used this to spur her on in her artistic vocation! 

Bethel CRC – Sun Valley, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Multiethnic Visioning
Focus: reflection & visioning to becoming a multicultural church

During our first visioning session, the congregation was divided up into groups by the decade that each person came to be actively involved in Bethel. Each group came forward to tell the joys and struggles of that decade. We started out with older Anglo women from the 1940s and 50s and ended up with a group of mostly college students and young people in their 20s from Kenya, India, El Salvador, Mexico, and Costa Rica representing the years 2006-2008. One Anglo woman who has been in our church for over 30 years made the comment that during years of numerical decline, suffering, and pain, the people at Bethel had prayed for a group of young people like the one standing at the front of the room. Despite the years of pain and suffering, God had been at work and had brought people from all over the world to Bethel in a way that it could have only been Him. The suffering had resulted in joy. This moment was a time of mutual blessing and appreciation between the older and younger generations, between traditional Dutch CRC people and people from all over the world gathered to this one small church. It was a moment in which everyone present acknowledged that only to God be the glory for the rich and amazing things He has done.

Bridge of Hope Ministries – Sioux Center, IA
Grant Awarded:December 2008
Project Name: Small Group/Ministry Leadership Development, Coaching Development, and Community Outreach
Focus: training leaders for church and small group ministries

A woman from another church, who is very involved in mentoring in our community, took our coaching class. I have talked with her 2 or 3 times in the 10 months since that time—the last time being this past weekend. She told me that she has used what she learned in the class in just about every conversation she has had since, and that she has seen wonderful things happen for people as they are encouraged to process their own beliefs, actions and lives.

Bridgeway Community CRC – Haledon, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2008
Project Name: Thrive Youth Ministries
Focus: creating a healthy youth ministry through a weekly program and spiritual retreats

Keira is in seventh grade. She rolls into Thrive with a group of 2-4 girls and her little brother. She has no doubt, her mother’s attitude, and she shows it off well. My wife connected with her early on in the year. One night at youth group, Keira says to my wife, “You’re cool. You’re not like other adults. You actually listen to me.” My wife took her out for ice cream a few weeks later, and it was then it came out that Keira (in seventh grade) has been in 10+ street fights, and rolls with her “girls” because she doesn’t want to get singled out. After getting to know Keira, she is a sweet girl, a girl that can go many different directions in life. There is no sad or happy ending because the story isn’t over. Tonight in fact, my wife will be taking her out again, to see how she is doing. God is working. She barrages my wife with true skeptics’ questions about God, but it leads to great discussion and a time to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings. She has an opportunity to see the real God now, and then gets to decide what to do with that information.

Calvin CRC – Holland, MI
Grant awarded: December 2010     Photo
Project Name: Open Door Youth—Building Disciples
Focus: youth program

Before this project began, we had a clear split within our church between Christian school and Public school teens. We have had a series of fun activities, service projects, and mission trips that have helped bridge that gap. We now see both groups coming to youth group and socializing together. There has also been an increase in community teenagers coming to youth group and they are beginning to filter into Sunday School. A number of new families would like to join the church and it appears that our youth ministry is their first connection with our church. We have seen the teens grow in their leadership abilities and begin to give back to the church by serving as leaders in other elementary ministries such as Cadets and Gems. Over two dozen youth have professed their faith.

Cambodian Fellowship CRC – Holland, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009 
Project Name: Renewing and Enabling
Focus: renewing, building, extending the vision/capacity to reach the community

The congregation, especially the leadership team, is moving from head to heart and then from heart to hand—they understand, internalize, and act! As an example, one lady recently came to the church for help with a complicated situation with her child. We worked with other organizations, including child protective services, to help her. The elders have set up opportunities for her to be coached in parenting. This is an example of hands-on, not just in the head!

Cascade Neighborhood Church and Awake Church – Seattle, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2010
Project Name: Parish Collective
Focus: linking the congregations in creative and educational ways

A young man named Alex was significantly involved on both sides of the grant – the visual arts and the congregational education pieces. He used his gift of film, editing, and video production to conduct interviews and to document the work of the artists. It was a gift to us all to see his gifts come alive.  In moments like this, we are reminded that we are all built up as the Body when an individual uses his or her own gifts to the fullest extent.

Cascades Fellowship CRC – Jackson, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2008   
Project Name: Building Blocks for the Christian Family
Focus: equipping young families for building a strong spiritual foundation in the home

One of the families involved is a single parent family (the other parent is incarcerated) who is looking for spiritual guidance as she seeks to impact her children and others for Christ.  On almost a weekly basis, she brings questions of doctrine and life, of Scripture. Another family has become so enfolded that they provide regular “God-sightings” to me. What I see God doing is becoming more real to these people, revealing himself to them and drawing them in. One family in particular has recently experienced a divorce and began to stray. I am convinced that it was the fellowship of this group that gave her the strength to return to the class first and then the church.


Celebration Community Church – Holland, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: Small Groups Coordination (Alpha and Post Alpha)
Focus: small groups

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

CenterPointe Church – Plainfield, IL
Grant Awarded: June 2011
Project Name: Discipleship Triads
Focus: peer mentoring discipleship triads

One triad participant had been on the fence for years, not willing to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of her life. Through studying the Gospel of John, having a place to express her apprehensions, having the support of other triad members, and the persistent love and prayers of a triad guide, this participant recently crossed the line of faith. She was so excited to tell her friend all about this and is experiencing much joy.

CenterPointe Church – Plainfield, IL
Grant Awarded: December 2012     Photo
Project Name: Block Party To-Go
Focus: building relationships in the community

After the Fall Kick-off party at Central, we had almost 50 mission partners attend to help serve at the party. This is the largest turnout we had for an event and it included adults and teenagers working together. Many of the mission partners were mingling and socializing with the families and staff. For weeks following the party there was a re-newed spirit in the congregation. We’ve started deeper relationships with the staff and volunteers work at the school now on a weekly basis.

Centrepointe Community CRC – Sherwood Park, AB
Grant Awarded: June 2007
Project Name: Relocation Ministry Launch
Focus: connecting with a new community through new ministry opportunities

There is no doubt that our neighborhood is becoming more and more aware of our presence. People have responded to our signage, door-hangers, paper-ads, and through our presence in the school. Virtually every Sunday since our arrival, we have seen people come to visit—with many staying. In the last four months we have seen many people come from various ethnic backgrounds: Ethiopian, East Indian, and Asian. I have a list of 16 new families who have been attending off and on over the last 6 months! At least ½ of these families (all the ones we have contact information for) will be invited to our next newcomers’ lunch.

Chelwood CRC – Albuquerque, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2012 
Project Name: Kingdom Change
Focus: leadership development

The project is helping us identify our particular gifts and passions so that we can better serve our local community, as we seek “not to be served, but to serve” as Jesus did. (Matthew 20:28)  For example, one participant has discovered a passion for protecting the unborn, as such she stepped out in faith and sought to raise $500 during a “Walk for Life.” This is something she would normally not have done, so we are encouraged by her willingness to follow God’s lead. 

We are seeing people being empowered and released for kingdom change in Albuquerque and beyond. People are being reminded that our call is not to simply survive, but to offer ourselves, our plans, our time, our talents, our treasures, our terrain, our troubles, our desires to others trusting God to lead us to His preferred future for us.

Christ Community Church – Portland, OR
Grant Awarded: December 2012
Project Name: Godspeaks
Focus: prayer

Through this project I have been greatly challenged to pray for those around me to come to faith in Christ. Through our council prayer list, the seminar, the Prayer Summit, and the hearts of others on the council to continually pray for co-workers, family members, friends, and acquaintances that have yet to know Christ as their Savior, I made it a goal to be intentional about specifically lifting up the women I work with. Since beginning to pray for them I have had two of those women approach me wanting to talk about and hear more about my faith, and one was willing to go to a church service with me and even invited two of her friends. It’s truly beautiful to see the ways in which the Lord opens doors when we come before His throne and spend time communing with Him!

Church Rock CRC – Church Rock, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2008 
Project Name: The Incarnation Project
Focus: discipling and equipping church members for community outreach

Our Christmas program has enhanced both our congregation and our community. It took great effort, time, and patience to produce the Christmas service. It was worked on by the committees from varies groups within our church. We also made food baskets to be handed out and gifts for the children. These were given to the needy community families, which have many children. We received many comments and possible new members for our church. This includes children, adults, and elders. We have received many thanks from different individuals.

Coit Community CRC – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded:  June 2008 
Project Name: The Young Adult Council Development
Focus: building a youth leadership council and developing future church leaders

We were successful in establishing youth leadership. As they began to see their voice taken into account, and began to experience the liberty of taking charge, the more they wanted to lead. As the adults in the congregation began to see the youth become more involved, they found that many hands make light work. There were new people to call on when it was time to get Sunday School classes and nursery covered, there were more people to call on for greeters, and deacon duties, there were more people to select from for musical selections, etc…

Coit Community CRC – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009     Photo
Project Name: The Young Adult Council Development
Focus: offering a place for community youth to belong

I think the inner-city young men (Africa American) helped the men in our church remember that they didn’t really have the answers when they were young.  It’s broken down walls for many of our white brothers, who, perhaps thought the young men didn’t want anything to do with them and that they couldn’t connect with them.

Several of young men’s parents have given us notes and cards to encourage us in the work we’re doing. People have told us that we need something like this to help give the young men something positive to do, rather hanging on the corners. The group gives us the privilege to speak into the lives of young men who are outside of the group. For example: Sometime in April a mother called Pastor Jerome to tell him that the police had several of his young men lined up against the wall on Clancy and Fairbank Streets. Pastor Jerome was able to assist both the young men and the police before things got worse.

Coit Community CRC – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Stop the Violence: Good Relationships Matter
Focus: stopping violence in the community

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Community CRC – Baldwinsville, NY 
Grant Awarded: June 2011   
Project Name: Community CRC Church Renewal Project
Focus: congregational renewal

A member’s spouse who only attended on Christmas and Easter is now attending regularly with her. He is very excited about the renewal program and his excitement is contagious!

Comunidad de Cristo – Doral, FL 
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Becoming Incarnate in the Doral Community
Focus: evangelism and discipleship for the church community

Our story is about how God used people of this community in our Resources Fair project, which had a greater reach and impact than expected.

When we started the planning of this fair, we wanted to share our vision of the fair with the office of Outreach of the State Attorney’s Office, thinking about a strategic alliance with them and because we had already worked jointly with them in another activity of outreach. We did not imagine what God was going to build through our first meeting, in where 2 representatives of the State Attorney’s Office (Gisela Hidalgo and Carlos Garcia) came to our church and they opened a window of possibility for us to be able to better serve the families of the community, based on its long community experience. From this meeting, we expanded our vision of this event and we postponed it to have a greater impact in the community.

We thought that our best option was to hold the fair at a park in Doral; nevertheless, the bureaucratic proceedings provided a positive detour to our intentions. We were able to, with one of the contacts referred by the State Attorney’s Office, Felipe Madrigal, director of the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary club of Doral, to not only hold the fair in the Country Club of Doral - an ideal place for our objectives, but that he also helped us by being the master of ceremonies during the fair and was a key part of the coordinating team of the event. Felipe, without being a Christian man, was used in a great way by God in this activity, and received a great testimony from our council, the coordinating team and the entire congregation. Another person used by God in the process of organization of the fair was the daughter of one of the students of the English classes, Martha Curcio. Martha, since her mother attends the English classes, was very interested in the project of outreach by our church, thanks to the positive testimony of her mother. Knowing of our desire for the Mayor of the city of Doral (Juan Carlos Bermudez) to attend the fair, she wrote a letter to him requesting his participation in the fair given the fact that she had had previous contact with him.  This prompted the participation of the Mayor, who ended up opening the event and welcoming all the attendees.  Martha has visited our church a few times at the Worship Services and has brought her family.

Cornerstone CRC – Salmon Arm, BC
Grant Awarded: June 2012
Project Name: Engaging Our Neighbours
Focus: engaging in Christ’s love through neighborhood events

I believe that the teaching has opened us up to seeing our neighbors differently and has challenged us to love them regardless, rather than pressure them to join worship.  One elderly man shared that he no longer pressures his neighbor to attend church.  He now asks questions about his life and says that they now have had some really good conversations.  My hope is that the concept of being the church by engaging and loving our neighbors will continue to grow..

Corsica CRC – Corsica, SD
Grant Awarded: December 2007  
Project Name: Body Builders
Focus: creating a vision for enhancing ministry in the church and community

Working together (CRC, RCA, and ELCA), for and with our community, was clearly illustrated at our Thanksgiving worship as we took at offering to help meet the needs of transients. We also had a town ice cream social—had a big crowd and people stayed to socialize—at which we raised money for our community VBS.

Creston CRC – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2010
Project Name: Become a Neighbor Ministry
Focus: bridging the divide between church and neighbor

The community has been greatly impacted by the community garden and meals. People are eating healthier, exercising through gardening, building a deeper relationship with the land, and forming meaningful relationships with church members and each other. Furthermore, otherwise disengaged neighbors are investing and actively involved in the neighborhood.

We’ve seen trust emerge between church and neighbors. After the accident (a little neighborhood boy was killed), neighbors came to our pastor to ask if we could help with a fundraiser—that’s a sign of trust! We’ve also had several prayer vigils in the wake of these tragedies, again a sign of trust and togetherness.

We’ve seen the neglected and ugly turn beautiful—the kingdom of God. A vacant lot became a beautiful garden. Drug-addicted neighbors became generous chefs and hosts of a wonderful fish fry dinner.

CrossPoint Chinese Church – Chino, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2012     Photo
Project Name: College Park Outreach for CrossPoint Chinese Ministry
Focus: outreach

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Crosspoint Community Church – Anchorage, AK
Grant Awarded: December 2009  
Project Name: The Table 
Focus: teens sharing food and spiritual growth

Ryan has been a part of The Table from the very beginning. He helps cook the meal. He takes part in the discussions. However, there is more. Ryan has caught a vision for ministering in the world. Six months ago Ryan’s family was talking about moving an hour away from Anchorage. As one of our leaders talked with him about this possible departure, he mentioned that he was going to be sad to leave The Table, but that he planned to take what he had learned and start one in his new town. While Ryan never moved (yet), he has become a leader in the group and helps with the teaching. He has also expressed that, after High School, he wants to be trained to minister to people in hard to reach places and has even expressed his desire to join the staff at Parachutes.

In a recent Sunday service, the teacher used an interactive section during the sermon. Ryan was not intimidated, giving answers in the service and key insights into the passage being discussed. This is just a glimpse of what we have seen happening more and more as those teens involved The Table grow into the leaders they are becoming.

Crossroads Community CRC – Ajax, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2010     Photo
Project Name: Blessing the Students, Staff, and Families of Bolton C. Falby Public School
Focus: children’s ministry focusing on children from Bolton C. Fably Public School

Seeing a mom and her son make public faith commitment, share their testimony, and be baptized (Easter Sunday) was a highlight. Her other son has also asked to be baptized! What is cool is that she and her son, and another mom and son faithfully attended our weekly prayer walks in the neighbourhood, and the boys (age 8 and 9) walked and prayed with us. They introduced us to kids and families in the neighbourhood, allowed for more impact.

Crossroads Community CRC – Flanders, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2007  
Project Name: Disciple Making
Focus: raising up church leaders for ministry

Our people want growth. They truly want to learn what it means to be the body of Christ. They don’t want (at least in Crossroads Community Church) a Sunday kind of Christianity. At one of our meetings, two new members stood up and gave testimony to what it means that they are part of Crossroads. SCE has sparked the realization that there is more to Christianity then just showing up. I have been overjoyed at the response from the congregation, and also the inspiration from individuals who have participated.

Crossroads Community CRC – Flanders, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2010  
Project Name: Small Group Mentoring of Leaders/Prospective Leaders
Focus: discipleship mentoring for leaders

There were a few people who stepped up and answered a particular present leadership need. Kevin was honored when called to consider and learn how to be a worship leader. He’s a man’s man—a local volunteer fire-fighter who shows how real men love Jesus. Something very needed in local churches today. He has been teachable and stepped into our regular schedule of leading worship.

Crossroots City Church – Jacksonville, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: 2013 Relaunch Outreach Campaign
Focus: fostering growth in the congregation and communicating re-launch to the community

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

CrossWay Church – Vancouver, WA
Grant Awarded:  June 2010     Photo
Project Name: CrossWay Church Kid Friendly Outreach
Focus: building relationships with parents and children of North Vancouver, WA

Kris was introduced to CrossWay Church this summer at the Barnyard (the kid friendly outreach). She and her daughter only attended a couple of weeks because her mom was dying from cancer in Arkansas. She went home to be with her for a few months. This past January, she and her husband Craig felt like they had to start getting back into church. They came to CrossWay because of the connection we made with them. Kris said she was afraid that we were going to be hard on her, but instead she heard of God’s grace. Kris and Craig have expressed interest in getting more involved in our church. We pray they do.

Crosswinds Community Church – Holland, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2011     Photo
Project Name: The Intersection
Focus: raising up Kingdom culture

The project of partnering two congregations of different denominational affiliation into one new church ministry, called Intersection Ministries, was a huge undertaking! In the process we learned:

  • that a shared vision motivated both congregations toward making this partnership work.
  • the “math” for a good partnership looks something like 1+1=3.
  • a great deal about each other and about policy/process differences between the two denominations.
  • to respect the culture of each congregation.
  • how to work together and to see our differences as assets in this process.
  • that our everyday language (“us/them” or “we”) is a powerful measure of how effectively we’re making progress toward unity.

Within the church community we’ve seen a heightened level of volunteer involvement as well as a greater number of relationship connections with people in the surrounding community. Our combined dinner meetings were well attended and have engaged our members in understanding the structure and ministry vision of Intersection Ministries. Much expanded and enhanced community involvement has resulted. Both pastors have a leadership role in the umbrella organization, which has created stability and fostered trust among the members of our congregations. We are still learning about each other’s histories and how those histories affect how we see issues and do ministry.

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Discovery Church – Bowmanville, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo 
Project Name: Children’s Ministry Outreach
Focus: children’s ministry outreach

Discovery has established a great relationship with Big Brothers and Big Sisters through coming alongside them in their summer day camps. Many relationships were built and lives have been changed. We have continued this relationship into the fall and winter through signing up in-school mentors, and hosting the “Go Girls” after school club at our ministry centre.

Through the Tea & Tot’s Program, Discovery Church has welcomed over 50 different mothers and children from the community. We have built deep relationships with many of the mothers. We have gotten to know them and see them on a weekly basis, building a safe place for them to come and ‘brush-up’ alongside Christian people from our church. Some of these families have even started attending church on a regular bases. Great friendships and networks have been formed.

Dresden CRC – Dresden, ON
Grant Awarded: December 2008 
Project Name: Small Groups Initiative
Focus: enhancing small group ministry and creating a childcare ministry for moms in the church

A member of our church, ‘Jane’, was getting her hair cut by a young mother, ‘Janice’, who happens to live across the street from the church. Jane approached another member of the church, ‘Sue’, who attends Mom to Mom, to inform her that Janice was interested in attending, but hasn’t committed to coming yet. Subsequently, Janice was given an invitation to come to Mom to Mom along with her three children. Jane asked Sue to keep an eye out for this young mother, in the chance that she didn’t come, Sue would be able to follow-up with another invitation or phone call to encourage her. Jane and Sue both prayed that she would be lead to join Mom to Mom. As a result to their efforts, Janice did come and has continued to attend along with her children.

What can we draw from this story? We see the whole congregation being in tune with the work of Mom to Mom. A simple, by chance, haircut turns into a time of sharing and conviction. It also shows that members are in tuned with God’s program. All the people and pieces fell into place, if one person was not in tuned, the moment would have been lost and the invitation and follow-up would never have happened.

Dust Church and Awake Church – Seattle, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2009 
Project Name: The Parish Project
Focus: creating a creative worship gathering of unique neighborhood-focused churches

One of the great delights I’ve had in my neighborhood community is to see the excitement that 3 non-Christian friends have for the Opiate Mass evenings of music, silence, and art.  It has been such a gift to invite my friends who are just exploring Christianity, (or who aren’t at all) into a curated environment where I truly believe they will encounter God not just through sacred music, but through the people they meet, and the beauty they encounter. Our churches simply are not (and likely never will) able to create this kind of an epic encounter. But enjoying these evenings builds a beautiful bridge to friends who are not likely to ever explore Christian faith in the walls of a normal church. That certainly is the case for my friends.

East Bay Korean CRC – El Cerrito, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2008    
Project Name: Raising Up Trained and Discipled Leaders
Focus: leadership training for coffee break and team ministries

A couple hesitated going to a church retreat this month but with much encouragement they attended.  After the retreat, they attended the Wednesday service and the Saturday early rise service last week.

East Bay Korean CRC – El Cerrito, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2010    
Project Name: Revitalizing and Strengthening the Young Families, College, and Youth Groups
Focus: youth, college age, and young families’ groups

Prior to the SCE grant, a late 20’s group did not exist.  This age bracket is made up of the younger members of the Young Family Group.  Four members of this age bracket have forged a solid fellowship and have joined the baptismal class.  Of the four, one is a faithful Christian. The other three are nominal Christians who have not been baptized.  In the beginning of the year all three have said they weren’t ready, but as of August they have been joining the baptism preparation class.

East Bay Korean CRC – El Cerrito, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: To revitalize from within to reach out
Focus: congregational revitalization/nursery ministry development

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

East Paris CRC – Kentwood, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2011     Photo     Video
Project Name: Parent & Tot Playtime
Focus: building relationships with the community through children’s playtime

The playgroup has generated a positive feeling in the congregation.  Members continually ask how playgroup is going, and if we have had any new people join.  Since the playgroup is able to reach people we were unable to before, there is a sense that we are able to reach our community.  Here are some examples of the kinds of relationship we were hoping to build.

A nanny was coming to playgroup, when she lost her job and was not going to be joining us anymore she said she was going to miss the fellowship.
Two weeks ago the moms were sharing that they had been looking for a place where their kids could make friendships, and a place that they would enjoy.  They expressed that this was a place that those things could happen.
This past week the moms were discussing their experiences with postpartum issues, which was really helpful for all of those involved.
On January 26 when one of the moms from playgroup showed up at Coffee Break there was excitement on the part of the Coffee Break organizers.

Faith Community Fellowship – Mount Vernon, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: Stephen Ministries
Focus: initiation of Stephen Ministries for ministering to the congregation and community

A recent marital infidelity issue has resulted in our congregation coming together in prayer for the couples involved instead of our congregation ignoring or hiding the problem. We credit this willingness to share these families’ burdens mostly to the establishment of small groups in our church who have now been meeting for the past three years. But the essence of the need for Stephen Ministry, which is to help carry the grief, has now been more clearly established. 

Faith Community Fellowship – Mount Vernon, WA
Grant Awarded: December 2008     Photo
Project Name: Stephen Ministries Awareness Building Training
Focus: training additional leaders for the Stephen Ministry and creating awareness of community needs

Our first six months of active care giving in our program have not been without problems. Some care receivers have been reluctant to faithfully meet regularly. During our regular supervision meetings, Bobbi has shown her leadership and offered encouragement and support to the new care givers. In spite of the problems, there have been some great success stories of very supportive care giving relationships that have helped grieving individuals in our church. We are confident that these successes will strengthen our program and ultimately the health of our church.

Faith CRC – Nashville, TN
Grant Awarded: December 2010     Photo
Project Name: Faith Community Garden
Focus: engaging congregants through service and outreach

We have been energized by the success of the garden and by the new, if limited, visibility it has given the church within the community. As a small congregation, of a denomination virtually unknown in our area, there has been a tendency in the past to feel isolated and beleaguered. The siting and low-slung architecture of our building has also helped to make us feel “invisible”. But the garden has drawn a lot of attention—we had to turn would-be participants away due to lack of space—and has increased the image of our congregation as a group that wants to help others. Given the interest, we have also found it comfortable to talk to many in our community we had not had met before. We, as well as they, found the interaction to be natural and non-threatening. It’s good to feel we’re good neighbors with something of value to contribute.

One example is a new family that has begun attending regularly, including involvement in one of our home Bible studies. They didn’t have a garden plot. They just liked the idea of free garden plots to the community so much that they wanted to check us out. We are “the garden church” to them and they felt confident they would be welcomed in such a congregation.

Faith CRC – Nashville, TN
Grant Awarded:  December 2011     Photo
Project Name: Faith Community Garden
Focus: engaging congregants through service and outreach

Many of this year’s gardeners are new and are extremely enthusiastic. Quite a few have commented on what a great deal the gardens are for people in the area and that they “can’t believe all these beds aren’t full.” They are spreading news of the project through word of mouth and will continue to do so. Several have voluntarily taken on additional responsibilities, indicating that they, too, are beginning to consider these “their” gardens.

This increased ownership of the community gardeners has been a delightful development. The gardeners call us when they notice a problem in their beds, or their neighbors. They offer help and advice to one another. They are very interested in contributing from the gardens to a local food charity. Their involvement and enthusiasm is infectious.

Faith Presbyterian CRC – Mangilao, GU
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Community Forum of Faith Series
Focus: creating life skill seminars for reaching community members

Our office administrator, Hilaria, was deeply moved by the Crown workshops (on financial planning).  Now note that Hilaria, while working for us, is a member of the Chuukese Christian congregation that also meets in our facility.  Hilaria is one of the most capable office administrators I have ever had the pleasure of working with, but she like many in Chuuk suffers from a great cultural deficit in dealing with a Western money-based economy.  Many of the islanders from the various Micronesian islands get into terrible debt and financial distress because only 60 years ago their islands were almost entirely agrarian and based on crops and fishing on a day-to-day basis.

Hilaria’s visceral response to the workshop was one of astonishment and a light going on!  She gasped, “Oh, I had no idea the Bible had so much to say about money and how to use it correctly.  I must teach this to my family and my church!”   And this is exactly what she is doing along with Pastor Wilbur and his wife, who also attended the workshop.  What we saw begin, here, has the potential to launch a revival of biblical stewardship to many people in our region.  It’s hard to exaggerate how timely and life-changing this workshop was.

Family of Faith CRC – Kennewick, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Fill the Gap
Focus: enhancing church ministry through improved communication, increased advertising, and awareness of programming needs and safety

It is not really a story to share, but rather an observation: I am able to think of twelve people off the top of my head who are involved in a significant way in the church’s ministry who were not last year.  These are people, all across the age spectrum, who are heavily investing themselves in some area of ministry.  For a church of our modest size, this is a tremendous increase.  It was not one thing, one ministry, one sermon (I wish I could take credit for it), or anything like that.  I believe the SCE grant was simply instrumental in changing the momentum of this congregation and people wanted to be a part of it.

Fellowship CRC – Albuquerque, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: Creating a Transformational, Missionary Community
Focus: enhancing worship, Sunday school, leadership training, and small group ministries

At the Wednesday night simple suppers, we have a grandmother who brings 3 grandchildren whose mother has walked away from the church.  When these kids started coming to the simple suppers, they were often difficult to deal with, somewhat wild, and sometimes disrespectful.  But the woman who watched the kids during the Bible study time on Wednesdays, who is a teacher, really invested a lot in these kids during that time.  She worked with them on homework, and she cared about them a lot.  As the suppers have continued, those kids have been transformed…you can see the effects that Christ’s love, given through the church members, is having.  They are great to have around the church now, and they have gone from talking about it as “your church” to talking about it as “our church”.  As we entered the second year of the simple suppers, the children and their mother moved further from the grandparents so that it was no longer convenient for the grandmother bring them.  Several other people have shouldered the responsibility and bring them weekly.  Also, the kids often take home meals from the simple supper to help out when times are tight financially.  The investment made by many in the congregation, and the growth and changes in these children are both testaments to ways in which the congregation’s health has been enhanced.  And it doesn’t stop there, either.  Those children have started bringing a friend from their neighborhood as well, so the ministry grows.

Fellowship CRC – Edmonton, AB
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: Member Care Through Small Groups
Focus: evaluation and restructuring of small groups

We now publish small group meetings in our church bulletin and make it clear that anyone may attend any group in which they have an interest. A number of members have indicated how much they have enjoyed visiting different groups and not feeling compelled to meet with the same folks for a long period of time. There has been more interaction among members of the congregation as a result of more regular small group interaction.

Fellowship CRC – Greeley, CO
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Bridges of Hope
Focus: serving the community by ministering to their personal and spiritual needs

Twelve new members can be traced directly back to their connection to Bridges of Hope.  These folks either heard about Bridges of Hope, and what we were doing as a church, or had a coworker tell them about us.  They came to our services and eventually became members.  One of these folks met another member of the congregation and eventually they were married last year.  One of the folks is currently serving as a deacon and one of them as an elder.  They have been enriched by the exposure to Bridges of Hope and the congregation is benefiting from their talents.

Filipino-American CRC – Jersey City, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: A Disciplined Approach to Life: Critical Thinking Through Chess
Focus: youth development 

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

First CRC – Grosse Pointe Park, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009 
Project Name: Growing Disciples in Our Church/Our Neighborhood
Focus: growing disciples of all ages in the community

“East Side Takes Control” has had a positive impact.  ETC events have had enthusiastic attendance. Not only that, but one member of our congregation found a job with the help of this mission, and it has given our congregation an opportunity to contribute to a solution to one of the biggest social problems in our area right now. Despite the dismal job situation in Detroit and the sense of despair that many unemployed people feel, this group has maintained an upbeat approach and helped participants remain optimistic and focused.  Seeing the group meet, talk, bond and give each other support is heartening for all.

First CRC – Mount Vernon, WA
Grant Awarded: December 2011     Photo
Project Name: Developing Incarnational Communities
Focus: equipping members to be more missional

From our project we’ve learned that coming out of our comfort zone is both a necessary, and exciting, aspect of experiencing church renewal. The challenge lies in encouraging this step of faith to those who are comfortable with status quo. Traditionally our church has been much more inward focused (educational ministries, congregational worship, etc.) than outward focused. However, as a result of these grant projects we’ve been motivated to be more intentional to doing ministry within our local community. The Back to School Blessing itself was a fantastic event that was well-received by the community at large as it provided a tangible need to many needy children in the area. We were able to partner with 7 neighboring churches and provide over 800 backpacks to needy children in our community (some of whom were in line at 5 AM in the morning to receive their ‘free’ backpack). The day itself had a carnival-like atmosphere as there were many games and activities for the students to engage in as they waited for their backpack. Our church was responsible for the serving the food and had plenty of opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with those attending. As a result of the opportunity to participate in the Back to School Blessing, our church will hopefully be committed to participating in this community event for many years to come.

First CRC – Toronto, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: Final Phases of Our Branding Initiative
Focus: a “branding initiative” for growth and action in the church

The congregation’s health is being greatly enhanced, because the project has given us a clear and definable future at a time when we were not sure what to do next, as a congregation. 

First CRC – Toronto, ON
Grant Awarded: December 2011     Photo
Project Name: Eyes of the Body—Congregational Arts
Focus: bringing arts into congregational life

Working together as members on our SCE project, we have discovered new pleasures in each other and respect for the expertise that exists among us.  The action of translating one artistic medium to another has been a complex and thought-provoking process.  In creating the banner for the sanctuary, the original painted artwork had to be converted into fabric. This required a careful examination of colour/hue and appropriateness of the fabric’s weight and texture.  The process itself of expanding the artwork from 3’ to 24’ required a careful study of proportion and scale.  In this way, the project has benefited from the varying personalities and attributes of different members of the congregation.  For some tasks, individuals have indicated, “I wouldn’t have the patience for that” or “I’d like to take this on.”  It’s been interesting to see how people have offered their time and in what capacity.  Hidden talents have emerged within a congregation which thought it knew each other pretty well.

First CRC – Vancouver, BC
Grant Awarded: June 2012 
Project Name: Life as Worship
Focus: life as worship

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Friendship Chapel – Jenison, MI
Grant Awarded: April 2015
Project Name: The Renewal Lab project
Focus: spiritual growth and disciple-making

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Friendship Community Church – Fontana, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2012
Project Name: Renewing Friendship, Inside and Out
Focus: renewing Friendship: inside and out

We have a brother, Edward, who started visiting with us late last year. He initially stated that he had never been involved in church as an adult—other than sporadic attendance. After his mother passed away, he decided he would give church a try for seven weeks (because in his mind, that would give him enough time to see if church was for him or not).  Well, he’s been attending every week since that initial visit and says that he’s finally found a church where he feels comfortable and can be himself.  At the fellowship where the Assessment Team shared their findings and recommendations with the church, it was Edward that had the most questions and suggestions as to how we could achieve some of the recommendations—giving even more input than some long-time members. Seeing God move in Brother Edward’s life as it has, and seeing him lead the way in regards to more active involvement by the congregation, was a blessing to us all—leaders and congregants alike.

Friendship Community CRC – North York, ON
Grant Awarded: December 2007  
Project Name: Discovery Zone—Junior Church Program
Focus: developing a junior church and nursery program

Parents of young children (aged 3 to 7) have been able to engage more in the worship service, particularly during the sermon, since their children are more effectively cared for during this time.  The youth have been provided leadership training by understudying the leader and helping out in the program. Families within the community, that have had their children attend our Sunday School/Junior Church, have decided to recommit to it.

Friendship Community CRC – Sergeant Bluff, IA
Granted Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: The Alpha Study: Questions of Life
Focus: challenging the church and community through a study on life’s “biggest questions”

It is exciting to say, there are so many stories that came out of this opportunity!!!  Our congregation is closer because of this study.  I know the congregation as a whole did not do the study, but everyone was so on fire and they would talk about it a lot to others in the church.  Because of that, I believe that our church is closer to God and closer to each other.  I have seen people who have come to the Alpha study and have a new life.  One man did not attend the first couple of sessions.  The study leader kept inviting him but he never was able to make it.  One day the study leader came up to me and said, “I need you to call this man in the afternoon on Wednesday to remind him about Alpha”.  I did and he came that night.  Ever since he has been at church and willing to help out WHERE EVER needed!!!  He is REALLY involved in the church now and wants to be a part of “something special!”  I am not kidding when I say this; I see a new faith in all of the people that took the course, even myself and the study leader!  We are seeing growth and a new commitment level from all!!

Friendship Community CRC – Sergeant Bluff, IA
Granted Awarded: June 2009  
Project Name: Friendship Community Family Night
Focus: reaching out to those looking for Jesus & deepening the faith of new Christians

Two women, who attended Wednesday evening Family Night (with their husbands and children), have volunteered to lead VBS this summer.  They are excited about Family Night and having more ministries for children this summer.  One of the couples who joined our church is an African/American family who said they felt very accepted here.  Part of that was because of the fellowship they experienced at the Family Night meal and attending the ALPA class.  Praise God for the work of His Spirit to change lives!

Friendship CRC – Gaylord, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2007   
Project Name: Friendship Church in Focus
Focus: developing church identity and community outreach

We have experienced a pulling together of the people in a united cause:  reaching out to our community with the unconditional love of Christ.  This ministry is still in its very early stages but the people are excited and eager to be involved.  Currently our community offers few, if any, opportunities for persons with cognitive impairments to develop in their relationship with Christ.  We desire to offer this opportunity.  Along with this, we also desire to give those precious caregivers a brief reprieve so they can relax and head off to the grocery store (or whatever) fully knowing that their loved one is in God’s hands.  This ministry deeply enhances the health of an entire congregation as well as that of the entire community.  

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Gallatin Gateway Community Church – Bozeman, MT
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Healthy Church Discernment Process
Focus: discerning the church’s future

Members who attended the congregational conversation said that they could see God working as they talked.  They said that they could not remember a time where the congregation gathered specifically to talk about ministry.  When they gathered around the tables, young and old, everyone spoke, and all the voices were heard.  It was a joy to participate in this discussion about the church’s future.

Gateway Community CRC – Zeeland, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: LoveStrong
Focus: community service

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Germantown Hope Community Church – Philadelphia, PA
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Community Development Training
Focus: outreach training

Our congregation is better equipped to serve and interact with our neighborhood. Miss Sis, one of the church members who attended the Shalom Network training, has gained confidence in her relatively new community role as a block captain and has already organized cleanups and other events on her street. She has attended community meetings, which she was hesitant to do before, and has been encouraged by meeting likeminded people from around the neighborhood, where in the past she sometimes felt discouraged that few people on her street had interest in serving the neighborhood.

Good News CRC – London, ON
Grant Awarded: March 2013
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal Initiative
Focus: faithful and fruitful missional living

When the Ridder team first started meeting, a few of the members were a little dubious about this endeavor.  We had started reading the book, “The Leader’s Journey” (part of the curriculum).  It was our second meeting, and various members raised their concerns and doubts about being part of the Ridder team.  In fact, two members admitted that they had considered dropping out of the process.  Thankfully, all the members continued with the team.  Flash forward to our meeting in February.  We had learned that one of our members was facing some serious crises.  As a result she came to the meeting anxious, as she was unable to complete the homework.  As I expected, the other members offered words of encouragement and much grace in light of her circumstances.  As a result, we discussed the Ridder team.  Each person stated how much this group meant to him/her, how it didn’t feel like “work” and couldn’t imagine not being part of it.  God has really gelled this group and allowed us deep authentic conversations with each other that both encourage and spur us in our spiritual discipleship journeys.

Good News CRC – London, ON
Grant Awarded: March 2015
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal Initiative
Focus: missional living

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Good News Fellowship Ministries – Winnipeg, MB
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Developing Leaders’ Gifts
Focus: training and leadership development for church and small group ministry

As a result of the seminar for the leaders of the worship team, the team has gained some very helpful insights into planning services—particularly understanding which elements should be fixed items in the order of worship, and which elements can be more flexible. As a result, our worship services have remained fairly vibrant and become more consistent.

Grace and Peace Community Fellowship – Philadelphia, PA
Grant Awarded: December 2011  
Project Name: Hunting Park Bridge Project
Focus: increasing participation in Biblical mission while reaching the unchurched

One of the most inspiring moments of our project so far happened when one of our newer members, Angel, was chosen to present on behalf of the Discipleship Team. He was extremely enthusiastic and their team had come up with some excellent ideas. Angel is a community member who began attending this year with his wife and small children. His presentation provided a small glimpse of what God wants to do through the gifts of our congregation!

Grace Christian Fellowship: Artesia – Cerritos, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2008  
Project Name: Hand of Christ at Grace
Focus: creating a caring, Christ-like community that will transform the community and enhance church growth

The community is now recognizing the presence of Grace Christian Fellowship. As a result new families are now regularly attending worship.  Now, whenever we do “Walk for Jesus” (an evangelism activity of knocking on every door), people are asking if there will be another time that they can meet new friends from our church. That question serves as a good opportunity to tell them about our church, and invite them to attend our worship.

Grace CRC – Inver Grove Heights, MN
Grant Awarded: August 2013
Project Name: Healthy Church
Focus: discernment for the church’s future

We had good attendance at our congregational gatherings in connection with the Healthy Church process.  Some of the newer members/attenders had very good things to say about their experiences with Grace Church.  It was very good for longer-term members to hear those impressions and gain encouragement.

Grace CRC – Scarborough, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2009  
Project Name: Parenting Retreat and Seminars
Focus: parenting in today’s society

Many members of the church were involved in the retreat—in the planning and running stages. The families that attended received excellent parenting advice as well as parenting skills which will help develop stronger families. We had close to full capacity.

Grace Fellowship CRC – Pella, IA
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: Project Second Chance
Focus: youth mentoring program

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Grace Korean CRC – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009   
Project Name: Generations, Family, and Identity Retreat
Focus: promoting unity
“Oneness in diversity” has been promoted. This was especially seen in the three combined worship services—between the younger and older generations. They had a good impact. The congregation felt more unified than before. Previous services were mainly for the first (older) generation but during the project there was equal opportunity and equal participation. Both generations shared responsibility and ownership. Oneness in diversity!

Grace Unlimited – Los Angeles, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2008   
Project Name: Advancing Young Ideas
Focus: empowering the youth though transformed hearts and church involvement

The project created a new zeal in our youth and also added to our attendance for youth bible study. The backpack giveaway has sparked interest in the community. Families that benefited from the giveaway are visiting the church way. Our congregation’s health has been enhanced because more young people are interested in having a relationship with God. There was a mother of nine who we not only helped with backpacks, but we all donated food to her. This has been an ongoing blessing because the members are beginning to see the real meaning of “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

Grace Valley CRC – German Valley, IL
Grant Awarded: June 2012  
Project Name: Enfolding, Educating, and Empowering for Service
Focus: integration of visitors /prompting spiritual growth

Our congregation is naturally servant-hearted. This project has provided a structure to help our long-time members reach out to, and connect with, new folks.  One of the ways that we have seen this is through the Adopt-a-Family partnerships that have been forming. Recently, we saw an Adopt-a-Family connection in action. One of our newer attendees is a single mom. At the end of January, she had to go to the hospital for kidney stones, and the first person she called to take her to the hospital was her Adopt-a-Family host. Because of this structure, this new attendee knew who in the church she could call when she needed help. In this way, this new attendee came to understand what it means to be part of a church family in a very concrete way.

Granite Springs Church – Lincoln, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2010   
Project Name: Engaging Social Media as a Ministry Tool
Focus: using social media to engage and interact with church members and their spiritually curious friends

This past Sunday, stories and pictures were shared via video from our Junior High group’s recent trip to Kidder Creek High Adventure Camp.  The pictures and stories touched the hearts of those who had prayed for and supported the investment of sending our kids.  Everyone clapped when the video was finished.  What few people realize is that the tools this grant provided our church (including the training events) gave our congregation the infrastructure necessary to pull off this video.  We are more technically aware and technically savvy.  We have a plan in place that makes the collection and distribution of pictorial content possible.

Hagersville Community CRC – Hagersville, ON
Grant Awarded: May 2013
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal Initiative
Focus: faithful and fruitful missional living

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Haitian CRC – Orlando, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2011  
Project Name: Leadership Training for Church Growth and Development
Focus: training and inspiring leaders

One of the key goals of this project is to impact people—particularly the church leaders. We recognize the hand of God in the project by observing the high level of motivation the group members have to study, and share the gospel and their personal stories each time they gather. And the best outcome is that the members get closer, share more openly, and are more tolerant, patient, and lovely to each other.

Harbor Church – Seattle, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: Preschool at the Harbor
Focus: outreach through preschool

Perhaps the most poignant example of God at work in our preschool program (PATH) involves a woman who sent her son to PATH. He had attended Harbor Church worship services since he was an infant (with his grandparents), but his mother had no desire to be part of the church. She was raised in a Christian family and was involved in a number of ministries throughout her growing-up years, but she had left the church and, for the most part, the Christian faith. However, after three years of watching her son be loved and embraced by the people of Harbor Church, she slowly started attending worship. First every once in awhile and now fairly regularly. She’s occasionally inviting friends to attend with their children. It’s incredible to see how God can work through the lives of children! It’s been beautiful to watch this woman be re-introduced to God’s grace as an adult, while her young son continues to develop his own faith in his childhood.

Harvest Community CRC – Lake Odessa, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2007   
Project Name: Men With Tools
Focus: connecting with the community through service in practical ways

While going door to door, our Outreach Point Person made his way to a homeowner who was about to blow him off, but after listening to the explanation of the Men With Tools ministry, she realized all we wanted to do was help.  She showed him a room in her home where a sink had been leaking in an adjacent wall and an entire floor had rotted away.  There was a six foot hole in the floor, all the way to the outside.  We fixed the hole and the water leaks for this family of four. But this one incident really opened our eyes.  The men of the church realized there are people in desperate need in their own backyard, and God has given them the skills and opportunity to reach out to these people and help them.  And more importantly, those people are not always going to see out help, help has to seek them.

Heartland Church – Tracy, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: Project Impact
Focus: creating a unified vision and purpose for the church

For 5 years I dreamed about helping kids who were failing in school.  On March 6, we held our first tutoring session at Hawkins school.  35 students, who were failing, were been tutored by 35 students who were succeeding.  I saw a packed room full of students where half were experiencing hope and the other experiencing purpose.  I had the privilege to talk to parents whose children were matched and tell them their child would be getting help and it wouldn’t cost them a thing.  My dream became a reality in that moment!

Hillcrest CRC – Denver, CO
Grant Awarded: June 2010  
Project Name: Bridge Builders—Integrating Two Cultures into Joint Ministry
Focus: exploring joint ministry between Hillcrest CRC and Chinese Family Christian Church

Members of both congregations (12 people) went to California to see what a CRC Chinese church was like. They visited Golden Gate CRC, which was a very valuable experience. The best part was on Saturday during the devotional time, when people from different cultures were asked to share the story of how people came to Jesus. It was a great experience for all.

When in California, the folks also visited the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Parts of the bridge were made in China and then shipped to California (a connection “similar to” the Chinese and Anglo churches). The group was given a tour of the bridge, to places where the public can’t normally go. They were in the middle of the bridge and noted that the bridge was being built. The group noted they were bridge builders too, which ties to the project name “Bridge Builders.”

Hillside CRC – Abbotsford, BC
Grant Awarded: June 2011  
Project Name: Ministry Enablement—Community Outreach as a Scattered People
Focus: becoming active in the community

There’s a greater awareness in our congregation of the need, and the opportunities, to be relational with our neighbours. Congregational members who didn’t normally interact with community people are now doing that. There’s a heightened awareness for the need to incarnate the gospel in our lives. We put this into practice by hosting a successful event which contributed to community relationships and caring—as seen through the recent support for a couple of people dealing with health issues. Many people, who hadn’t had any social interaction, came together at the event. Some stayed well after the event was scheduled to end. People are continuing to talk to each other.

Holland Marsh CRC – Newmarket, ON
Grant Awarded: March 2013
Project Name: Ridder Renewal Process for Holland Marsh CRC
Focus: renewal/reinvigoration process

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Hope Community CRC – Flagstaff, AZ
Grant Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: Growth Seeds
Focus: engaging the community through increased church promotion, enhanced worship, children’s ministry development, and leadership training

Well, probably the biggest thing of all is the renewed sense of hope it [the project] has given to a very small church. We lost quite a few older members this past spring.  They were a significant part of the core of the church in the past. But they moved away into assisted living centers, or died, or retired and now spend a lot of the year elsewhere. This grant has put us to work; it’s given us activities, ministries, and events that helped bring back a sense of vitality and hope and purpose. It’s helped us put flesh on the bones of our mission of helping people find their way back to God. And it’s helped us see the positive results that God has brought to us through these efforts.

Hope CRC – Rapid City, SD
Grant Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: Living Hope—A Recovery Support Group for Women
Focus: ministering to incarcerated women for long-term spiritual and personal growth

It's both a privilege and a challenge to try to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As a result of the grant money (the Lord's money), we were able to engage in our Living Hope Ministry without our first thoughts having to be about finances.   We've been able to concentrate on ministry not money.

The money the Lord has provided has enabled us to get to know and directly touch the lives of Bobbi, Dawn, Frenchie, Hope, and Lily. We know them.  We know some of their children and some other members of their extended families.  We know more than we did about the reality of their struggles—their successes and also their failures.

We know that Jesus loves them.  We know that he loves us too. We know something more than we did about the reality of the brokenness of our sinful world and how much Jesus loves us all as he encourages and equips us to work to show forth his love as we work in his name in the living hope of his ability to make all things new.

Hope Community CRC – Riverside, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2009  
Project Name: Creating a Healthy, Missional Church
Focus: assessing the church and its ministries

The congregation is realizing that we are too internally focused, and that we need to be more externally focused into our community.  It is exciting to see how our congregation is starting to think about ways to serve the community.  We have a member that goes door-to-door to offer his services in gardening.  He is reaching many families and mowing a lot of lawns.  As a result of this ministry we have seen two people come to church. We have helped flood victims with warm blankets, clothes and backpacks filled with personal hygiene items.  We also put together backpacks for homeless children at the shelter.  We paired up with another church and fed the homeless and less fortunate a hot meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Anytime we put a call out for help, our congregation gets behind it and their generosity is overwhelming!

Hope in Christ CRC – Bellingham, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2012  
Project Name: Prayer Foundations
Focus: prayer

This grant was a blessing that God nudged us into, knowing more than we did how much we needed to focus on prayer. As we were nearing the completion of our study at the end of November, the Council prayed about a follow up.  It was decided to invite the congregation to use the 3 Sunday School hours available in December for a time to apply the principles learned in the study.  We had a wonderful response with approximately 30 participants each Sunday.  (Our usual adult Sunday School attendance is 10-12!)  God was definitely at work.  Before the first session, an elderly member told Pastor Scott that she would attend, but wouldn’t be praying aloud.  We prayed out of a Scripture passage using the "one word/one line" method and she participated more than once!  Our last session was right after the tragedy at Newtown, CT.  Before the congregation left the sanctuary after the service we announced that our prayer time would be based on Psalm 23 and would focus on healing the hurts inflicted on the families, community and our entire nation.  Again, we had a wonderful response in both attendance and participation as people were able to voice their pain and allow God to bring healing.

Hope International Church – Arcadia, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2010     Photo
Project Name: WorkNet Ministry
Focus: supporting and encouraging the unemployed and underemployed

“Six months ago I had attended the first meeting of WORKNET at Hope International Church in Arcadia, California. For my personal experience, it was the most important moment in my employment search. The Millers have made me realize the true state of mind that I was experiencing at the time. I was encouraged to move forward out of the heavy blanket that I was under, Depression. I realized that I have the ability to let go of my guilt and the whole world was not collapsing on me. I was shown how to look for the next chapter of my life in regarding to employment. It has not been an easy task but I know that I am on the right tract.”  Quote from Sammy

Iglesia Buenas Nuevas CRC – Miami, FL  
Grant Awarded: December 2011     
Project Name: Friendship and Hope Fairs
Focus: proclaiming the gospel in the community

We've experienced a paradigm shift in regards to evangelization—particularly by our seniors. Over 20 years ago, these men and women visited neighborhood homes and brought them the Good News by handing out evangelism flyers. When we started our SCE project, they once again went out to visit the homes in the community, but this time they asked the neighbors a heartfelt question, "What are your needs?" The neighbors were surprised to learn that these visits, and the question asked, were coming from Iglesia Buenas Neuvas—a church.

Our seniors also began to meet with the neighbors in the park to play dominoes—a very popular and well-liked game among the Cuban community. There, in a shelter equipped for the game, relationships were being formed. One community person visited our church because of playing dominoes in the park. Faith and recreation. The kingdom of God is shown at, and extends to, the domino tables.

Iglesia Cristiana El Sembrador – Fontana, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo     Video
Project Name: Reaching our Hispanic community
Focus: reaching out to Hispanic community

The project has helped people from the congregation get involved.  The congregation is learning of needs in the community and congregants have volunteered their services to meet those needs. We are connecting people with resources with those needing resources. People in the community are realizing that our church is here to lend a helping hand to those who might need it. We are now recognized as “those people from church in the green shirts” who are out in the neighborhoods wanting to help.  Community members are very eager to talk to us. We have visited over 550 homes.

Here’s one example of what we’re doing. We found one individual in dire straits.  He had been arrested and had lost everything.  He was living in a van on a used car lot.  He has diabetes and could not afford his medication.  It just so happened that a member of the church has a connection with a doctor who received several samples of the exact same medication prescribed for this person.  Another source had a glucose meter with test strips and lances.  These were donated to this person along with food and blankets.  God certainly had His hand in this!

Iglesia Cristiana Vida Nueva – Miami, FL  
Grant Awarded: June 2009     
Project Name: Finding Your Strengths
Focus: developing leaders based on their strengths and gifts

The church council and leadership were able to identify areas in which our ministry didn’t have the “correct” servants. Several individuals within our ministries identified their spiritual gifts and were able to determine if they were in the right ministries. In addition, several were impacted by learning that through their gifts they were called to minister God’s grace as well. We learned that God was not pleased when we remain in our comfort zone and in the security of our selfishness.

Imagine Fellowship – Holland, MI 
Grant Awarded: June 2010     
Project Name: Hip Hop Room
Focus: provide spiritual insight into Hip Hop culture and bridge generation gaps

Younger kid (ages 8 – 12) felt safe at the Hip Hop Ministry. Some of the neighborhood ministries (with basketball courts) are dominated by teenagers and gang members so parents feel the younger kids will be safe at our ministry. A number of the youth became believers. Two of these young people live with unbelieving parents. The older siblings in their homes, who are in gangs, now also attend the Hip Hop Ministry.

Imagine Fellowship – Holland, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2012
Project Name: My Brother’s Keeper Man’s Ministry
Focus: empower and motivate at-risk young men

Currently we have one African American student who is thirteen and knew nothing about God and the church. Since participating in the program he has asked questions about the Christian faith. He has been attending Sunday school and is learning more about the Bible.  God is working through the mentors and the instructor by the love they show to these young men. This in turn has caused several students to inquire more about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian.

Immanuel CRC – Fort Collins, CO
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: The Immanuel Community Garden
Focus: community garden

We have had multiple age groups get involved in helping.  The Cadets helped with assembling the raised beds.  The younger children are interested in the seedlings we have started.  The fellowship team is planning a picnic for all parties for planting day.  Several of the college students showed up to help shovel dirt yesterday enabling us to get all the beds filled with soil. 

One local college student visited the church and has gotten involved in helping with the garden and is now attending the church.  She has also helped advertise the garden in the graduate program that she is in.  A local printer donated the printing costs for flyers to advertise the garden.

Immanuel CRC – Kalamazoo, MI 
Grant Awarded: June 2011     
Project Name: Moving Forward in Becoming a Healthier Church
Focus: becoming a healthier church

The congregational trip to join Madison Square CRC in Sunday morning worship was a good experience.

At Immanuel, children don’t use banners during worship. However, several from one of our families participated in waving banners at Madison Square. Two of those same children waved banners in Immanuel on Mother’s Day. Our children have always been reluctant to participate in worship services. It was helpful for them to see other children, and adults, at Madison doing so as this encouraged them and showed them this is something they can do!

Immanuel CRC – Simcoe, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal
Focus: empower leaders to be transformed and serve as catalysts for similar transformation in the congregation

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Indonesian CRC – Dover, NH 
Grant Awarded: December 2009     
Project Name: Dover Indonesian Church Revitalization
Focus: bringing renewal to the leaders and congregation while discovering God’s purpose for the church

We are learning the importance of personal renewal—which is needed in order to build a strong family and ministry.  A member in our group recently realized the importance of her role as a mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law.  We were talking about the importance of our role in our family and in ministry. By the end of the meeting she decided to reconcile with her children and family she left in Indonesia ten years earlier.  She realized that she had never dealt with the bitterness and pain from the past. She had covered up the guilt and pain.  She decided to call the family with a different understanding of herself and others.

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Jacob’s Well Church Community – Evergreen Park, IL  
Grant Awarded: December 2011     Photo
Project Name: Recovery at the Well—a Christian Recovery Ministry
Focus: Reformed recovery ministry

Two individuals in the men’s small group have shared that their marriages have been positively impacted through their attendance and participation in The Bridge Recovery Community. One woman had drifted from 12 Step recovery programs for her alcoholism but has reengaged with this ministry. She has said she’s finding great benefit. We are grateful to know that God is using this project in this way!

John Calvin CRC – Truro, NS
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: The Glenwood Drive Community Garden
Focus: community garden

The garden has brought us into closer relationship with the community around us, not only in the day to day interaction between garden families but also in events like the opening picnic where food, fellowship and fun combined to build new relationships. We have even seen garden members from the community drop in for services from time to time and were more easily welcomed because of the already established relationships. One of our community gardeners, who is a friend of a congregational member, does not regularly attend any church.  Through the garden, she has met more church members and now seems to feel more comfortable attending our worship services occasionally, as well as bringing her son to the Boys’ Club on a regular basis.

Kibbie CRC – South Haven, MI 
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Journey of Faith Through a Time of Transition
Focus: shepherding the congregation through a time of transition for enhancing and exploring ministry opportunities

We said that the evidence of accomplishing our goals would be growth in numbers of people who will join us in ministry.  Our average at worship, not including the holidays, has been 66 in the last 10 weeks of 2008.  We are expecting to hear professions of faith of three new members. These are encouraging signs.   While it is difficult to attribute this growth to any specific reason, the grant has helped create a positive spirit.  The grand opening celebrations went very well and gave us quite a bit of exposure to the community.  Help in identifying our next pastor has been invaluable and we are making some progress.  The creation of a community focus through a new playground has taken some unexpected turns because members of the congregation have stepped forward to take responsibility for the playground and the memorial garden.  Thus the grant money has been used to create a setting in which the members can finish their work.  The goal to create a community organization to supervise the new playground and the goal to raise additional funds have not been realized. On the positive side, members have taken ownership of these projects. The grant money has helped to create a good infrastructure to work within.

Knollbrook CRC – Corvallis, OR 
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Reinventing Knollbrook
Focus: developing mutual goals for the congregation that will sustain the church’s ministry

Everything is being changed. We’re working on getting the new pastor and the youth pastor. We’re working with Home Missions and Classis to “replant” our congregation. We’re studying the “Discover Your Windows” book and the whole church is doing the lessons as well as a sermon on Sundays.

Korean Disciple Community CRC – Los Angeles, CA   
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: King’s Kidz
Focus: creating a youth program for spiritual and physical development

Yoo Yongmoon's family first heard about our church through his friend.  Yoo's family came from Korea five months ago and didn’t know anybody in Los Angeles.  When he came to our church, it was the first in his life he’d gone to church.  He has three kids and they liked the King's Kidz, our children ministry.  The whole family came back to church because kids wanted to come back.  Mr. Yoo and his wife were baptized on Thanksgiving Sunday, and are very active in a small group.

Lakeview CRC – Valentine, NE
Grant Awarded: December 2008      
Project Name: Development and Discipleship of Future Leaders on the Rosebud Reservation
Focus: enhancing youth ministry for teen leadership development and discipleship among the youth

Ethan, a freshman in high school, took the training for two weeks. He also presented at Prairie Light, and also at the Juvenile Detention Center. He has changed in personality and in confidence. He is poised to make future presentations as we have opportunity. His younger brother and sisters are positively influenced by him.

Latin American CRC – Anaheim, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2008   
Project Name: Worshipers in Spirit and Truth
Focus: equipping church members for enhanced worship and more effective ministry

Every Sunday the Lord surprised us by bringing new people. Last Easter Sunday we had 105 people—all of them from the area. We had 23 kids and 12 teenagers. Last Sunday when we asked the people how they felt, the answer was: “I want to belong to this congregation”. We gave thanks to the Lord, because that never happened in the 40 year history of the church. We are really very thankful to the Him for His faithfulness!

Living Stones Church and Hollandale CRC – Rochester, MN/Hollandale, MN
Grant Awarded: December 2007   
Project Name: Discipleship Roadmap
Focus: identifying gifts for spiritual growth

Gladys, aged 80, completed the inventory. She used the paper form, as she does not utilize the internet. She returned the inventory to me, with a little fear and trepidation. She stated that this was difficult to complete. She worried about what I would say when I saw her answers. We had an opportunity to speak about what it means to be a disciple. We talked about God’s grace. We talked about our freedom from guilt. We talked about the fact that we never arrive, here on earth. We found a release from the heavy expectations. We talked about the freedom to serve our Lord, which is not burdensome. Gladys is typical for the make-up of our congregation. The inventory is exposing a graceless attitude, allowing us to encourage our congregation to serve God out of gratitude, rather than guilt.

Lord’s Grace Church in Tracy – Tracy, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2011  
Project Name: Educational Support for Children
Focus: teaching children

Our project aims to reach Koreans in our community. Most of them dislike church—and Christians—and try to avoid them. But we continue to talk to them and share about our children’s ministry. Through the children attending our program, we’re able to talk to the parents. To date, one man has sent his children to worship services and Bible study but he hasn’t join them. Some families are joining us for worship services, and some have accepted invitations to join a small group.

Lord’s Grace Church in Tracy – Tracy, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2012     Photo
Project Name: To Enhance Small Groups
Focus: small groups

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Lord’s Love Mission CRC – Bellflower, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: Training of Small Group Leaders/Outreach for Mission and Charity
Focus: church growth through equipping leaders for community outreach

A member of our congregation brought her daughter to the retreat.  The daughter had been struggling with her faith and having much doubt about God and Christianity.  During a sermon, she was inspired by the message and was inspired to rethink her relationship with God.  She later told us that she did not consider herself a Christian for a long time, but felt God calling her at the retreat and she surrendered to His call.

Los Angeles Global Mission – Burbank, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: GMC Youth Day
Focus: encouraging spiritual development among youth through regular fellowship and worship

There is more closeness and a stronger connection between the praise team and the congregation. There is an interest and curiosity about what our church is doing at the monthly mini praise concerts. The greatest reward is to see the smiles and connections of the church increasing.

Los Angeles Global Mission – Burbank, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2011     Photo
Project Name: His Way Ministries
Focus: evangelism

One of our members is a homeless man. Sadly, he’s had more of a colorful life than most of us. He was greatly touched by the love and care that we had shared with him in our outreach program to the homeless of Los Angeles. Over time, he gave himself to the Lord. His willing heart to serve and be a part of our ministry is outstanding. He actively cleans and does his part in whatever way he can. Despite his humble circumstances, he zealously goes out with us to Skid Row, and the surrounding areas, to bring the Gospel. He enjoys passing out tracts and making a difference. We believe that our brother has found his value in the Lord by being amongst us.

Lucknow Community CRC – Lucknow, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2011  
Project Name: Equipping for Leadership Succession
Focus: training the next generation of leaders

We saw God working in a number of ways. The initial response to our project was excellent with fully one third of those invited attending. Our first evening had seventeen participants and sixteen children. We encouraged each of the participants to develop a vision for local ministry. The number and variety of visions demonstrated a real love for the church and a desire to spread the news of the gospel to our community.  Those visions demonstrated much diversity and amazing creativity.  The session generated much lively discussion—with no idea being too “crazy” or “unattainable” to be thrown out there .  It is amazing how people can dream big if invited to do so.   

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Madison Avenue CRC – Paterson, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2008  
Project Name: The Brotherhood
Focus: discipling men for spiritual growth that will impact their families and the community as a whole

The greatest reward received by the church is the gift of re-engaged men—men better prepared to fully participate in the life of the church. While it is still too early to declare victory, we believe that we are well on the way to understanding what it takes to create disciples of the men in our context. Several years ago, much of church life and leadership was done by the women of the church but now, men have a much more prominent place at Madison Avenue. Though this is not solely as a result of the SCE and the Brotherhood over the last 2 years, the initiative certainly actively helped the process.

Madison Avenue CRC – Paterson, NJ
Grant Awarded: June 2011     Photo  
Project Name: A Congregational Re-Visioning Process
Focus: re-visioning

The project’s impact on the congregation has been very positive. It has gotten leaders talking to each other more and helped to create more unity. There have been many good conversations about the past, present, and future. There is a great cohesion with leaders moving out of their own silos and working more as part of the whole. Leaders are feeling good to be included in this process. Congregational members feel good to be included in the focus groups.

Maple Avenue Ministries – Holland, MI 
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Dare to Care for Our Community
Focus: building bridges that will connect the church to families in the community

This grant was one family’s main entry into becoming a part of our church. They were touched by how this church served its community in times of need. They became close friends with the grant administrator and his family. They attend church faithfully along with another family, and their parents. There is also a middle school student, who lives by the church who faithfully attends our services on his own, who became intricately involved through programming made possible by this grant.

Maple Avenue Ministries – Holland, MI 
Grant Awarded: June 2011     
Project Name: Strong Medicine for Healthy Marriages
Focus: strengthening marriages

On Valentine's Day, we brought together 23 couples for food, fun, and an introduction to our year long process focusing on marriage. (The programming we are offering gives couples the tools to work through areas of difficulty that often occur in marriage). 19 couples signed a commitment statement to have monthly date nights, quarterly group date nights, and monthly group meetings to engage with the Gary Thomas Sacred Marriage video/material. Our group date nights, and times of sharing, has strengthened the bond between couples in our church and community. One couple had just begun coming to our church when the project began and are now permanent fixtures in our body. The challenges from our marriage material have often emerged in our Wednesday evening bible study as participants share their learning with those who are not yet married and/or not participating in the project. We are seeing that there is a greater level of connectedness and openness in some relationships to discuss the challenges of marriage.

Maranatha CRC – Woodbridge, ON
Grant Awarded: December 2014
Project Name: Growing in Community
Focus: growing in community

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Maranatha Fellowship CRC – Farmington, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Neighborhood Transformation Project
Focus: evangelism and discipleship through community outreach events and weekly Bible studies

We have been able to reach out to the community in a huge way!  The block party reached several hundred people through our love, service, and prayer for them and their families.  We all came together with a common purpose and succeeded at reaching out to the community. The Family Night events have helped not only to draw people into the church, but to develop and disciple them. In total, we believe we reached over 1,000 people in our community. The greatest reward was that we were all able to come together and act as one body—the body of Christ.  We were even able to cooperate with other churches in reaching out to the community.  It was a true blessing to watch as God moved through everyone in the process of this year and these great projects!

Missio Dei Chapel – San Pedro, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2009   
Project Name: Tulip Day
Focus: evangelism

A young woman named Yoo-Jin has been a member of our church for the last five years. She is a nice person but has not grown spiritually—often tardy and even skipping church services. I asked her to participate in this project. Even though she was not willing in the beginning, she helped out with the preparations and in carrying out the process. As the time progressed, she became more eager to participate and got more interested in studying the Bible. She became a leader of the church, living a life of prayer and Word. What added to our blessing was that a young man named No-Wan, who was deeply impressed by her devotion, joined our church. After a period of passionate courtship, they are planning to be married on May 21st of this year.

Mission Hills Community Church – Mission, BC
Grant Awarded: June 2007   
Project Name: Youth Leaders Leadership Training
Focus: equipping youth leaders with tools and skills for ministry

The grant project has resulted in:

Three strong leaders that love teenagers (youth) and are committed to growing the next generation of Christ followers.
Five teens that will be doing Profession of Faith this fall.
Leaders willing to go the next step.

Monroe Community Church – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009   
Project Name: Spiritual Growth from the School to the Supper Table
Focus: deepening relationships/offering discipleship opportunities

This project has had a tremendous impact on the community. How do I know this? I will tell a story for my example. Each month at Coit School, there is a Community School meeting. At the last community school meeting I attended, I walked in late. When I opened the door, everyone at the meeting said "Henry, it is so good to see you. We were just talking about the dinners and can't wait for you to start those up again. When are you starting them? Those dinners have been such a blessing for our school community and neighborhood." To which I said, "Hello, it is nice to see you all too." The principle sees the impact of this project. The social worker does. The neighborhood organizers do. The families who attend do. They see the impact and tell us about it.

Monroe Community Church – Grand Rapids, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2010     Photo
Project Name: Around the Table
Focus: strengthening relationships with faculty, parents, and students at Coit Elementary School

Pam lives in the Coit neighborhood. When we first met Pam, she was a loud and obnoxious woman with a mouth and temper. She was a firecracker. But, during the past two years, we have seen Pam change. Now she controls her temper and her mouth. She comes to our planning meetings for Around the Table and helps us spread the word about it in the community. She regularly seeks both prayer and advice for how to deal with family, friends, and neighbors in a more loving and Christian way. She attends worship at our church on a regular basis. Pam’s story is a story of God at work through his people, the church, loving on those around them over a meal, month after month. It is the power of love, acceptance, relationships, prayer, and the Holy Spirit to break through and change hearts.

Nelson Avenue Community Church – Burnaby, BC 
Grant Awarded: June 2011    
Project Name: Outreach Renewal
Focus: outreach ministry

Chinese members are becoming more involved in the life of the church.  For example, a member spearheaded the Chinese New Year celebration by organizing a Sunday luncheon at the church.  Another member organized and promoted the Marriage Enrichment classes in the fall and winter.  Another member leads the Mandarin translation service provided on Sunday mornings.

New City Church – Jersey City, NJ 
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: New City Church Strategy, Vision, and Renewal Program
Focus: building vision, strategy and renewal among leaders in the church

Our staff’s relationships have flourished in this year.  The importance of this cannot be understated, as our staff team’s unity is a foundational building block to all we do in the name of Christ.  We have had the chance to learn more about each other’s passions and projects.  Josh and Gregg work with many of the same teenagers, but do not often have the chance to share their passions and plans.  At the retreat, though, they experienced a new kinship and heart for each other’s vision.  It has made a difference in how they work together “in the trenches.”

New City Church – Jersey City, NJ 
Grant Awarded: June 2011     Photo
Project Name: New City Church Teen Life Internship Retreat Program
Focus: strengthening teen leadership

Two of the three retreats focused on staff training, while the third was set aside for spiritual reflection and renewal.  The training retreats bore immediate fruit in the teen staff’s work with the children who attend New City Kids’ After School Center.  The opportunity to role-play discipline scenarios, for example, made teen staff more confident, more patient, and more loving in in-the-moment discipline situations.  For example, one of our teen staff, Ashley, was able to implement some of the discipline techniques she practiced in a retreat setting with a particularly challenging group of tutees at the After School Center.  Redirecting kids with discipline and attention issues, she was able to build a positive relationship and help some struggling students complete their homework on a regular basis.

The January retreat provided our teen staff with an opportunity for spiritual reflection and renewal. One Teen Life Intern made a personal commitment to Christ at the retreat.  Several other teens renewed their commitments as well.  Attendance at a teen-lead Bible study also increased following this retreat.

New Covenant CRC – North Hampton, NH
Grant Awarded: December 2007   
Project Name: New Covenant Learning and Serving Project
Focus: providing leadership training and mission opportunities for church members

After our trip to Philadelphia we realized what our church can be in our own community. The people at Spirit and Truth Fellowship were very appreciative of the work we did there and told us that we were a blessing for them. We felt that we were the ones being blessed by participating in the wonderful spiritual and social work that Spirit and Truth Fellowship accomplishes in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Philadelphia’s inner city.

New Heart Church – Longwood, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: Operation Re-newed Heart
Focus: taking church to next level

The grant has given a spiritual awakening to the church, brought us closer together, given us a clearer vision, and made us better ambassadors for Jesus Christ. We now have a better presence in our community through the t-shirts with our church name on them and the new church sign. Everywhere we go, we are handing out Gospel tracts—in restaurants, to visitors, at hospitals, to whomever we meet.  This has communicated to the community that our focus is to love Jesus Christ and to spread His love to the world!

We also have a deeper faith as a result of giving out 20 Bibles to our children & teens. All of the children now have a Bible in their hands!  They bring their Bible to Sunday school, help each other to find passages, and use them in the church.

New Hope Church – Bangor, ME
Grant Awarded: December 2010
Project Name: Gospel Transformation
Focus: in-depth teaching for emotional and spiritual development in the congregation

The goal of this project was to improve our ability to bring healing to the brokenness in the lives of those in our church and community.  Largely because of this project a larger percentage of our members are engaged in doing this. Over the past year our congregation has rallied to provide direct services such as food, clothing, housing, furniture, vehicles, a wedding, child-care, substance abuse counseling, legal services, and many loving relationships to dozens of people in our community. On a recent Sunday morning a young pregnant girl and her boyfriend shared their testimony of how their experience of God’s love through New Hope Church had brought them to the awareness of their need to “do things God’s way” and get married, stay drug-free, and get involved in serving in ministry with us. Another man asked the congregation to pray for him as he copes with his remorse and repentance for “blowing my entire paycheck at the casino” out of anger at his pregnant girlfriend who refuses to grant him visiting rights of the baby. This was followed by several other requests for prayer for help with similar situations. The warm and gracious acceptance of each of these, and the intentional ways that many in the church responded by walking with these people and discipling them, give evidence of the kind of gospel transformation that this project was intended to promote.

New Hope CRC – Hamilton, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Whole Church Retreat Weekend
Focus: fostering spiritual vitality

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

New Hope CRC – Ogilvie, MN
Grant Awarded: June 2008
Project Name: Building Congregational Health and Leadership Through Pursuing Personal Emotional Health
Focus: in-depth teaching for emotional and spiritual development in the congregation

The woman who served as the assistant and consultant in coordinating the seminar came to realize that she was not a Christian and wanted to give her life wholly to the Lord. She is growing and making wonderful strides forward. It has been powerful and amazing to watch the transformation. The greatest reward from a congregational perspective has been the unity of the body of Christ. The overall self-esteem of the people of the church has increased, resulting in deeper fellowship, greater joy, and more service for Christ.

New Hope Fellowship – Holland, IA
Grant Awarded: June 2008   
Project Name: Enhanced Community Outreach
Focus: enhanced youth ministry that provides children and teens weekly opportunities for learning, work, and play

Testimony from a 15 year old from a troubled/broken home: “Coming to this youth group has helped me in my spiritual walk in so many ways.  One way is that it gives me a place to be myself.   When I go to school I wear a mask and when I come here it isn’t on. I cry, laugh, and smile when I am here.  I have a family who is there. I remember one night I called my youth leader at 1:00 A.M. in the morning because my dad was drunk.  I have realized things that I haven’t noticed before like I haven’t really treated my body as a temple. I am writing this because this youth group is a big part of my journey for the Lord.”

New Hope Fellowship CRC – Monroe, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2010   
Project Name: Remodeling the Congregation
Focus: remodeling and renewing the congregation’s ministry

Just as I was about to drive out of my driveway for our weekend retreat, my cell phone rang. It was our retreat speaker. He had the flu and could not come. We improvised and in the process realized that God may have had a different, and better, agenda for the weekend than we did. We had a short devotional Friday night that focused on Ecclesiastes 5:2 (“God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”)  Saturday we spent time in small group discussions which were then shared with the large group. We focused on how our church can be more radical after reading the book Radical. The time was invaluable. Fortunately our speaker was well enough to speak on Sunday—which capped off the weekend perfectly. We would not have orchestrated those events had God not intervened.

New Life Church – Spring, TX
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: All Engage—Outreach to All
Focus: engaging church members in strategic forms of community outreach

The congregation has become more aware of the importance of Outreach.  The SCE grant has enabled the Ministry Team to grow in our ability to serve others, and the added focus to reach the lost has engaged members of the congregation to be more active. An example is that one of our Table Fellowships, the Loaves and Fishes Table, has been able to do neighborhood BBQ’s, where they go into neighborhoods close to our church, set up the BBQ pit and serve free meals of hot dogs and hamburgers, etc. to people in the neighborhood.  They also share information about the church, which has planted seeds in the hearts of many and has given us the opportunity to witness and minister in a non-threatening environment as residents want to know who we are and why we are doing this.

New Life Church – Spring, TX
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Stepping into Mission with Jesus
Focus: discipleship and mission

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

New Life CRC – New Brighton, MN
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Music is the Media
Focus: getting teens and young adults involved in the church through music ministry and youth-led worship services

Although the musical instruments have increased the involvement of adult church members in the worship service and definitely provided a unified way of worshiping God among the many different languages and cultures at New Life, the greatest reward has been the increased participation by young people in all aspects of the church. The pastor has always placed a high priority on the youth of new refugees since they are an at risk population in America. This grant has begun a “good thing” for New Life young people. Now the challenge will be to keep up with them….praise God.

New Life Korean Church – Abbotsford, BC
Grant Awarded: December 2008  
Project Name: New Life Community Through Innovative Education
Focus: education and training that will raise up next-generation leaders for the church

Our congregation became closer to each other through this project, and we gained confidence in terms of preaching the gospel.  For instance, we preached the gospel to Native Indians and small local churches through our "musical mission team". We have provided a place where both Christians and Non-Christians get along together and build close relationships. For example: our youth-soccer team is open for everyone. We play on Sundays after our service. It has given us a good  image of being an "open church".

Northern Lighthouse – Lincoln, NE
Grant Awarded: December 2009     Photo   
Project Name: Bread of Life
Focus: fostering care and community

Coming together as a church community to prepare and share a meal was powerful.  We were able to feed the inmates that we bring in for Sunday worship. (They normally miss lunch at the correctional facility due to the time frame.)  The time to share and visit was very positive.  Relationships were built, souls saved, and worth confirmed.  Those being served understood the magnitude of this blessing and every week it made for a really productive time together.

A community atmosphere developed as we stayed together to eat and visit and share instead of running off to have lunch elsewhere.  A particular inmate always made it a point to let us know how much he appreciated the meal and our service!  You could tell his sincerity and it always touched our hearts.

Oak Harbor CRC – Oak Harbor, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2011   
Project Name: Stephen Ministry at OHCRC
Focus: Stephen Ministry

The Stephen Ministry project has created an air of expectation in the congregation. There has been more enthusiasm for the ministry than was expected. The result is that we have a large number of volunteers for the program—at least 11 individuals involved. Two people that previously had little involvement in programs of the church have stepped up to participate in/lead the project with enthusiasm and consistency.

Oasis Community Church – Winter Garden, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2008   
Project Name: Launch Stage II
Focus: community outreach and congregational development achieved through leadership training and utilizing each member’s gifts within the church ministries

As the excitement to serve has grown a youth and young adult liturgical dance team has been formed and developed. There are about 20 involved in this and they design and present focus dances.  They have performed twice and are planning more.  They were already invited to perform in a community event outside of the church. This is the development of leaders, participants, and its outreach in the community.

Oasis Community Church – Winter Garden, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2010   
Project Name: Enhancing Community Relationships
Focus: creating an environment to foster community relationships

A lady that was invited to one of our concerts couldn’t make it. However, two weeks after the concert she called the church and requested information about our Sunday worship. She came to our Sunday worship service the following Sunday and also attended our fall festival. The amazing thing about this lady is that she hasn’t been in a church since her childhood. It was exciting to see how God used this event to bring her to our church. We believe a seed was planted in her life and God will continue to work in her.

Oasis Community Church – Winter Garden, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Beyond
Focus: creating relationships with young, community families

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Ocean View CRC – Norfolk, VA
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: The BRIDE Project
Focus: building up the worship team for enhanced ministry through learning opportunities and training

There is increased enthusiasm on the part of the Worship Committee and our congregation about the future. There are a number of different things that have happened in our church that may not be a direct result of the BRIDE project, but we are finding that everything is fitting together so well.   For instance, our Council convened an adhoc committee to look at sanctuary improvement.  As a result, there have been physical and technical changes that have fit in very well with our goals of the project. 

In addition, there is unity on the part of the council and the Worship Committee.

Ocean View CRC – Norfolk, VA
Grant Awarded: June 2009  
Project Name: The OVCRC Development Project
Focus: developing leadership skills to identify and discern future direction of church

Leadership opportunities have emerged. For example, instead of having the same leader for our Ladies Retreat, four sessions have been delegated to other women to help develop their facilitation and leadership skills.

A member of the First Place 4 Health group (who will be joining our church soon) was talking to a young woman who had visited our church for a few weeks.   In their conversation, our First Place member shared that she “loved this church” and “thanked God for bringing her here”.   She then went on to tell the young woman that she feels like she has found a family here.

On The House Church – Grand Haven, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2008  
Project Name: Women’s Freedom Retreat
Focus: leading a women’s retreat for personal and spiritual development

Some of the women have really struggled with marriage issues, financial strongholds, and triad commitments.  In working thru these struggles on the retreat, and now on a weekly basis, they have begun to see some resolution.  These changes have caused spouses, co-workers siblings, and their teenagers to notice the changes and become more interested in what Jesus can help heal.  We have had a sister of one of the women regularly attend church since the retreat, a teenager of a mom that went on the retreat is taking her faith more seriously and reaching out to the lost in her school, and another woman is getting along much better in her work environment.

One Hope Community Church – Philadelphia, PA
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: CULTIVATE: Christ’s Lordship over both our Land and Lives
Focus: community engagement

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Open Door Fellowship of East Harlem – New York, NY
Grant Awarded: December 2009     Photo
Project Name: Developing Leadership From the Ground Up
Focus: identify and develop church leaders

As our folks grow in Christ and in capacity for leadership, they impact not only our church family, but the community at large.  One example is Evelyn, a single mother of three, who serves as a volunteer in her young child’s school and has grown in seeing herself as someone who can make an impact in her community.  Recently, Evelyn hosted half of the congregation in her home for a Sunday time of worship and prayer (the other half engaged in a prayer walk around the community).  Afterwards, we received phone calls and emails from people who were at Evelyn’s place telling us how blessed they were by Evelyn, her hospitality, and her leadership at the gathering.

Open Door Fellowship of East Harlem – New York, NY
Grant Awarded: December 2011   
Project Name: Growing a Biblically Literate Congregation
Focus: developing Bible literacy and application

After the first learning event, participants essentially said, “More please.” It has been wonderful to hear people talking about what they have learned.  For example, one participant, Michelle, told us that the book used for the first workshop, “The True Story of the Whole World: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama”, was one of the most impactful things she has ever read.  Two other participants, Minerva and Kamala, said they felt very challenged to spend more time in Scripture after learning about the “big picture” of the Biblical story—that beginning to put the pieces together helped make the idea of spending time in Scripture more meaningful.  Several congregants have been given new Bibles (most had translations not appropriate for their age or education), or other materials, and have shared how blessed they are by that.

Orangeville CRC – Orangeville, ON
Grant Awarded: March 2013
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal Process
Focus: encouraging and developing healthy leaders

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Orangeville CRC – Orangeville, ON
Grant Awarded: April 2015
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal Process – Module Two
Focus: living missionally and impacting the community

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Ottewell CRC – Edmonton, AB
Grant Awarded: December 2011    
Project Name: Neighbourhood Engagement Resources
Focus: equipping members for initiating community events

People are beginning to put actions behind our vision Go and Be Church. The growth we see is in the increase in understanding of what the vision means, how it is what we have been charged with doing by Jesus himself, and how each person can put it into practice in the relationships they foster in their neighbourhoods. The block party kit is the vehicle by which members are going beyond the concept and putting it into practice.

Overisel CRC – Overisel, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2011     Photo
Project Name: Intergenerational Ministry Launch
Focus: intergenerational ministry

At our intergenerational camping trip, we played Minute to Win It games and paired older Christians with younger people.  As Dale (60s) battled Lisa (40s) for supremacy in the “How’s It Hangin” game, Dale got a little too close to one of the observers (Stan in his 80s). They both went over when Dale lost his balance—Stan went over backwards in his chair.  Although we were concerned first for Stan’s health, he and his wife Kathy were fine and came up laughing about the whole situation.  The kids saw this and it was clear to them older folks can have a lot of fun too.  And that is a good thing to know about Christians—we can have an awful lot of fun together.

Oxnard Korean Church – Oxnard, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2009   
Project Name: Being a Good Model of Regional Evangelism
Focus: being an evangelizing and missionary community

One of the new families, who were Buddhist, was convinced to open their eyes and to let in Jesus Christ.

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Palm Lane CRC – Scottsdale, AZ
Grant Awarded: December 2008   
Project Name: The Next Step
Focus: creating a more outward focus along with a more intentional focus on discipleship in the church

The congregation has a healthy outlook on how ministry can be done in the community. An example of that is their participation in the Love and Logic seminar. Church members and winter visitors worked together to provide a meaningful ministry to our community.  From this seminar two ministry initiatives were developed.  As many of the community attendees didn’t speak English, one of the helpers decided to offer an English as a Second Language class after the parenting seminar was over.

A second initiative was the development, and support, of a new ministry ‘Lily’s Closet.’  Lily is the name of an attendee of the parenting seminar. She’s the Community Development Specialist for a local elementary school.  Some families in the school needed help with shoes and clothing.  As Lily got to know some of the church members, she shared the need.   A church member shared this need with other Christian friends and a new ministry was born.

Parkersburg CRC – Parkersburg, IA
Grant Awarded: December 2010   
Project Name: Transforming Our Wednesday Night Outreach
Focus: providing a learning environment for children

The growth in our church family has been the greatest reward of this project—as well as new friendships and relationships. In the past six month the follow have taken place.

A husband and wife, with a teenage daughter and an elementary-aged daughter, transferred their membership to our church.
A mother has transferred her membership to us and her second grade daughter was baptized. This lady’s husband has donated the lumber for our craft projects for next fall.
A young family, with three small children and a newborn, are working with our pastor to have their membership transferred and the youngest children baptized.
Because of the interest shown in joining our church by these attendees, a new members’ class was held. Two baptized members, who are now college students, made public profession of faith and we pray that other who attended the class may soon make that commitment too.
A young mother who had been away from our church for a while returned and attends church and Life Plus regularly with her young son. With council’s approval, she taught the first grad classroom this past year.
A young, engaged couple with three children, who were recently married, are now attending church services and Sunday School.

Pathway Community CRC – Newport, ME
Grant Awarded: June 2008   
Project Name: RE-FORMation
Focus: developing a stronger Reformed worldview in the congregation and church leadership

One of our leaders stood before the congregation during a call to worship and desired to use a portion of the Belgic Confession to do so. He was able to articulate to the congregation the history of the confession, what tied us to that time in history, and why it was important for Pathway (for them) today. I think that about sums it up. The project created reformed leadership for a people learning to follow Christ within a reformed context.

Pathway Community CRC – Olathe, KS 
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Argentine Community Development Project
Focus: forming a new missional community in the church with opportunities for cross-cultural relationships

Before this project there was a big fear of evangelism in our congregation.  Cognitively there was an understanding that it was important and that it was something that we should engage in.  But one of the biggest hindrances was an understanding that getting a friend to church was what was truly of utmost importance.  This project helped our congregation to see what we’re trying to do is to begin to overlap your life with the lives of people who do not know the hope that is in Christ—even through simple things like throwing a block party.  This past Super Bowl Sunday, we had 3 different missional communities throw 3 different block parties and every one of them had neighbors and coworkers that didn’t know Christ there.  We understand that this is just one step along the way, but this wouldn’t have happened a year ago.  We’re coming a long way and this project helped to spur us in living and thinking a different way.

Pathway Church – Byron Center, MI
Grant Awarded: December 2007   
Project Name: Building a Common, Congregational Scriptural Worship Language
Focus: writing 25 scripture songs – music and lyrics – for use in church worship, community outreach, and hospitality

A new family was joining our church. (We encourage every new member family to share how God brought them to faith and to our faith community.) The father was sharing his story and his heart and he was talking about his first experience at our church. As he was sharing he started to read Deuteronomy 6, verses 6 and 7. As he did so the whole congregation, without any prompting, recited these verses for him. He was so surprised.

Pathway Church – Byron Center, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2009     Video
Project Name: Building a Common, Congregational Discipleship/Education/Mentoring Culture
Focus: creating a reproducing discipleship/mentorship environment

Our members are connecting with people that they never connected with before. They are discovering people that have some of the same interests they do.  The members involved in this program are not only learning things from each other, but Pathway Church also gets some of the credit. People are feeling good about their church. Our members, and in some cases attendees (not members yet) that previously have not taken a leadership role, are stepping forward to teach something. That has been the most exciting thing about this project. The project is called “each one, teach one” with the idea that God has specifically gifted each person with gifts for the body and has led each person in their life with specific experiences that can be shared with others.

Peace Community CRC – Houston, TX
Grant Awarded: September 2013
Project Name: Peace Community Church Healthy Congregation Learning Initiative
Focus: congregational renewal through personal transformation and leadership development

Project is in process.  Check back for the story.

Prairie Lane CRC – Omaha, NE
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: Building on Our Strength—Caring Community 
Focus: strengthening our caring community

It has been exciting to see the congregation spend time together and interact at the new monthly meals which follow the morning service.  We set up tables in the worship center, have the worship service at the tables, and then lunch.  Most people in the congregation have adjusted well to this change. We might even come to the point where having tables in the worship center will more often be the usual set-up.  The meals have a way of mixing different generations and groups of people together.  They have helped newer people in the church meet others and to feel more connected.  For example: at our February meal a young couple who was visiting for the first time stayed for the meal and as a result were able to meet some other young adults in the church.

Prince George CRC – Prince George, BC
Grant Awarded: December 2009     Photo
Project Name: “Building Community” Garden
Focus: caring for neighbours through a community garden

The project has been a big step for our congregation, as we are effectively opening the church to a much larger community of perspectives and values. Some members in our community have embraced this idea enthusiastically, others more cautiously and a few feel somewhat intimidated by the project. The committee recognizes a high importance in communicating clearly to the congregation and not to getting ahead of the congregation’s overall comfort level; clear and transparent communication are seen as central in building and maintaining congregational support as we move forward. We have seen incremental and growing support from the congregation; for example, many church members contributed plants and time for our first annual plant sale or joined in for volunteer work parties.

In addition, a member of the congregation and UNBC chaplain (Virginia) developed a comprehensive Vacation Bible School curriculum entitled, “Seeds, Weeds and Wonders” which weaves creation care and important biblical stories connected with gardens and growing plants, including parables Jesus told. We have many community children not affiliated with our church attending, and learning about the Christian faith while also connecting first-hand with growing food, environmental stewardship, and having hearts which are good soil to receive God’s love and call to discipleship.

Finally, the end of season Harvest Feast was a truly amazing experience and a turning point in our congregation’s engagement in this project. Many new church members participated and there was much enthusiastic discussion about the project after the Harvest Feast. It was a very tangible expression of the impact of this project in only one year.

Prince George CRC – Prince George, BC
Grant Awarded: December 2010     Photo    
Project Name: “Growing Community” Garden
Focus: creating a Growing Community garden

This project is connecting with a wide range of community needs and values. For example, many of the plots are being used by residents that live within 2 – 3 blocks of the site. Some of the plot users are coming into the project because of their interests in sustainability and local food. But about 1/3 of the plot users are low-income residents that are growing food because they can’t afford to purchase nutritious produce at the local markets. Many of the low-income participants are “working poor” rather than the stereotypical “in the system poor”. This cultural and socioeconomic diversity is proving to be highly enlightening for project participants. Additionally, this diversity is helping all of us to re-learn how to build community across the cultural spectrum. The growing year culminated in the second annual (and very successful) Harvest Feast—attended by more than 300 people from the community, university, and church. This was a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the good things that happened during the year.

RedArrow Ministries – Paw Paw, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2012  
Project Name: Paw Paw Youth Center of RedArrow Ministries
Focus: providing safe and encouraging space for local youth

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Rehoboth CRC – Rehoboth, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: Living Expressions Framework and Assessment Tool
Focus: create/implement discipleship framework & assessment tool

It's amazing to see how, in this group of intentionally diverse project participants, God has formed us into a community.  Some who have been on the fringe of the church now see themselves as included and valued. As we have spent a lot of time in prayer together, praying for wisdom/discernment, we have ended up becoming closer to each other. While this was not the intent of this grant study group, it has been wonderful to see the grant project as tool to foster true community. One night we had a participant share a great fear regarding a potentially serious surgery.  What a great thing to suspend our discussion, lay our hands on her, and pray for her. God has used this group in ways we did not expect.

Restore All Ministries – Chicago, IL
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: I AM, the Movement
Focus: youth and young adults

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Ridgewood CRC – Ridgewood, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2008   
Project Name: Unleashing the Capacity of Your Church
Focus: helping churches discover their own unique vision and purpose that will help them to move forward

We feel that the workshop has given us some very effective, and useful, tools that we will begin to use immediately to further our Lord’s work in both our congregation and in our community. Hopefully we’ll begin to see the impact on our surrounding community shortly.

Ridgewood CRC – Ridgewood, NJ
Grant Awarded: December 2009   
Project Name: Ridgewood Revitalization
Focus: bringing renewal to the leaders, congregation, and systems of Ridgewood

As a group we have come to understand how the past experiences of the church have shaped our current values.  We’ve also learned that God is still speaking to his people and shaping vision among them.  Finally, we’ve learned about God’s timing and the need to continually pray for him to reveal his plan.

As a focus group, we have seen a greater unity and excitement, especially recently as the vision really takes shape.  At our last two meetings we came away with a renewed sense of purpose, forward motion, and excitement about what we’re discovering.  We have found the congregation to be interested in what we’re doing and looking forward to engaging the work—mostly through individual conversations.

River of Life Christian Fellowship – Athens, ME
Grant Awarded: December 2010   
Project Name: Church-Wide Training in Community Involvement and Leadership
Focus: community development skills training

The project has increased awareness of local activities where people from the congregation can get plugged in and serve along with people in the community.  Community events, such as summer music jams and activities for children, have seen an increased participation from church members and attendees.

One person who attended the study told of how she has been intentionally stopping at a new farmers’ market after church on Sunday to interact with new people and to support local agriculture.  She said the study helped her to see activities that she could be involved with that was right under her nose.

It seems that the study portion of the project is foundational for building relationships in the community.  It’s a good starting place for a lot of people who want to get involved in community but just don’t know where to start.  

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Sacramento City Life Church – Sacramento, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2009     Photo
Project Name: The Arts in the City Project
Focus: artistic quality in worship celebrations

John came to our church because of a friend who invited him.  He liked the music quality (he came on a “Guest Musician” Sunday), and hasn’t stopped coming.  He was looking for a church where he could meet God, and expressed his past in struggling with doubts.   Now he’s the head of our new Social Media team, and is giving a couple hours of his time each week to help move our mission forward.  

Sacramento City Life Church – Sacramento, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2010  
Project Name: Launching a Visibility Team
Focus: increasing the church’s visibility

When a newer family to our church came out and walked around with my family (several of them were wearing the new "City Life Church" t-shirts), it created a moment of buy-in for that family and an experience of communal service together.

Sanctuary CRC – Seattle, WA
Grant Awarded: June 2010     Photo
Project Name: Growing Music & Mission at Sanctuary CRC
Focus: developing musicians and impacting the Greenwood community

Jonathan is a quiet, unassuming graduate student who loves art.  When I first met him, there was no mention of any artistic gifts on his part, just a general sense for appreciating the arts.  He has since become a member of the church, joined up with our creative arts team, coordinated video work our two cinematographers, and wrote a poem/prayer that he led our church in this past Sunday (combining themes of Valentine’s Day, Mary anointing Christ’s feet, and God’s love for us).  He has moved from spectator, to dreamer and schemer, to active participant and artist.  God has given him gifts and he (as well as all of us) is watching them grow and develop in ways that bless the community.

Sanostee CRC – Sanostee, NM
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: The Incarnational Project
Focus: ministry to nursing homes, hospitals, prisons, and other institutions within the community

We sponsored a Valentine dinner for the young, married couples in our community. We also invited them to our Marriage and Relationship Enrichment seminar. We had about 50 participants at both events. Renewed commitments were made by some of the couples after the seminar. Some young adult women started coming to church with their husbands—who are not Christians—but later the husbands didn’t come anymore. But the young women became very active in church and we pray that the husbands will join them as time goes on.

Searchlight Ministries – Hudsonville, MI
Grant Awarded: June 2007   
Project Name: Becoming an Emotionally Healthy Congregation
Focus: enhancing the emotional health of the congregation

As odd as it may sound, we believe our greatest reward is becoming aware that conflicted situations within the Body of Christ can become areas of greatest strength and growth.  A local congregation, with many ties into our own fellowship (friends, family members, etc), recently split apart.  Those of us who had just gone through this training were able to recognize and name the issues involved, and are that much more determined not to let a situation like that develop here.

We received this testimony from one of our members: “…it [this training] reinforced our core values of being a community and getting away from the ‘us vs. them’ mentality.  I have always hated church meetings because all the ones I have been to become so emotionally charged with hot tempers and stubbornness, reminds me of home and that isn’t a positive thing” haha! But this teaching really gave me hope that things CAN be different with the body and we CAN work together as a team.  Some of my most positive memories are the days of playing softball (and volleyball) because I LOVE being part of a team and winning against our foe.  In the case of the church, I want us to work together as a team to defeat Satan so bad I can taste it!

Shoreline Community Church – Port St. Lucie, FL
Grant Awarded: December 2009     Photo
Project Name: All Things Are Possible
Focus: community outreach

Our group as a whole has had tremendous growth experiences through this project. From the youth that were given responsibilities they never had before (and accomplishing them successfully) to those who are more experienced. The events that we set up gave the congregation the opportunity to serve the community and to become more aware of the community’s needs—not to mention the chance to live out the gospel and proclaim its power. For example: While doing a park event, which included having activities for children and serving free food to the community, I had the opportunity to share my faith with a man. He and his family started attended services shortly after.

Shoreline Community Church – Port St. Lucie, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Operation Outreach
Focus: outreach

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

South Kendall Community Church – Miami, FL
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Outreach to our Neighboring Community
Focus: sharing God’s grace with the community

Our dreams for Divorce Care have exceeded our expectations.  It has become so important that, after the completion of the first 13-week cycle, they immediately began the whole cycle over again.  Devoted participants come every Monday night and one now worships regularly with us.   Another is attending Woman’s Bible Study Fellowship sessions, now newly meeting at our church.  Divorce Care facilitators have seen first-hand how God's love and grace for each of us has provided healing.  Several women have continued into a second session and express their faith in God and how He has carried them through this very difficult time.

Spiritual Eye CRC – San Bernardino, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2007 
Project Name: A Healthy Church Transforming the Community
Focus: equipping church members for community evangelism and discipleship

One member of our congregation testified to all the members that she felt a strong leading of the Spirit during the gatherings, and an encounter with him. Her life has been changing ever since.

This project also impacted the people of our community as they seek to know, ‘who God is’ and ‘who Jesus Christ is’. A leader of a small group opened her group up to the community. Some people who did not know God visited and then they attended the Coffee Break meeting. They changed their lives.

Spiritual Eye CRC – San Bernardino, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2011 
Project Name: Special Mission KS
Focus: nurture and establish foreign Korean students in the Christian faith

Special gatherings were led by guest speakers once a month, mainly for the foreign students, so that they might receive the Good News of life. Two of them were baptized on Thanksgiving Day. Leadership is being developed through six cell groups where the students share their testimony and experience the guidance of the Lord in their campus life. The praise team has been organized by volunteers and each member enjoys fellowship in His presence. The Saturday early morning prayer meetings nourish the foreign students and are followed by fellowship and a meal.

Sunrise Church – McMinnville, OR
Grant Awarded: June 2012     Photo
Project Name: Renewal or Restart Study
Focus: church assessment

Monica and Phil came to us just over a year ago.  She is wheelchair bound with MS. They showed up, providentially, less than 60 days after the completion of a uni-sex, handicapped accessible main floor bathroom.  Prior to its completion, all of our restrooms were in the basement.  So, about 2 months after the completion of this main floor bathroom (and new wheelchair ramp) Monica and Phil started coming to Sunrise Church.  Since their arrival they have become excited about a Reformed Church that was going through church renewal.  They have become full participants in every way.  While they are not “new” believers they were specifically looking for a church of Reformed persuasion that is serious about Biblical truth.  This year Monica has volunteered to be our main administrative person.  They have become members, hosting the new members class in their home and have started a prayer ministry following our Sunday morning worship time.  Phil will serve on our evangelism subgroup for the ministry mapping process as he is super motivated to share the gospel of Christ and the blessings they have found at Sunrise Church.  God has completely blessed our congregation with this couple that openly state, “We’ve been looking for this Church for 15 years!”

Sunrise Church – McMinnville, OR
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Goals & Action for Revitalization
Focus: church assessment recommendations implementation

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Telkwa CRC – Telkwa, BC 
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Sacred Marriage Seminar
Focus: hosting a marriage seminar that will nurture couples in their marriage

Christians from a variety of denominations and cities were represented at the Sacred Marriage Seminar.  The entire event felt like a revival of sorts with participants glorifying God for all the awe-filled beauty of marriage, in terms of confronting our sin, understanding intimacy, practicing selflessness and prayer, and many of the other topics Gary discussed.  The Holy Spirit worked powerfully in many people who were in the midst of challenging times in their marriages.  Several men from various CRC’s attended the seminar without their spouses – an incredibly humbling and powerful act in such tight knit communities.

The Garden – Fond du Lac, WI
Grant Awarded: December 2009    
Project Name: Seeding the Garden
Focus: raising up disciples

One young man came to our church after many years being outside of church.  Interested in a very different approach to church, he eventually found a real home here and has used his musical abilities to help plan and lead worship.  I challenged him to attend our second retreat, which he did and seemed to enjoy.  I wasn’t sure how much he’d taken away from it, but recently, he has mentioned his “walking partner” several times—showing that he has taken the ideas and put them into practice in a regular, intentional relationship where they discuss spiritual things, support one another and challenge each other through weekly phone conversations.

The Journey – Kitchener, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2011     Photo
Project Name: Renewing The Journey
Focus: renewing the health of The Journey

Here is a story from our recent Love Kitchener-Waterloo Event. We had a group go out into the neighbourhood, where we meet for Sunday worship, to give away salt (for melting ice) and fill up/give away windshield washer fluid.

“I knocked on a door, and a man in his 40s answered it. I introduced myself and explained what we, as a church, were doing in the neighbourhood. He responded with, ‘It's for free?’ I replied, ‘Yes it's for free.’ ‘Why would you do something like this for free?’ I replied, ‘Just to spread Jesus's love, and by serving other people, I am doing that.’ ‘Wow, it's great to see some young people out doing this stuff, where is the church?’ So I explained where it is. ‘Cool, maybe I will check it out some time. What time does it start?’ He asked a few more questions about the church—which was just amazing!! Praise God!”

The River Community Church – Edmonton, AB
Grant Awarded: December 2008   
Project Name: The Western Canadian Missional Training Network
Focus: training and supporting missional leaders

I am so blessed to be part of this church community! Thank you for listening to God's voice even when he says to change our course of action in some areas. The neighbourhood network focus will be challenging but it will help us as a church to fulfill our mission to reach many with such good news. God has impressed on me in many ways to continue to reach out to my neighbours. On Sunday evening after I got home from the retreat I cut a bunch of Swiss chard out of the garden. I like to give some produce away to bless people around me and it gives me a way to connect with them. I went next door with the Swiss chard and I was able to connect with my neighbour and a friend of hers who I ended up giving a lift home because of the storm that came up. She shared her multiple stories of loss with me while driving her home and was able to pray with her and pass on my name to her for a friend who is going through a divorce. This all happened because this simple woman (girl with a bamboo pole) was sharing her Swiss chard and more importantly her Lord. Wow God is full of surprises and blessings when we step out for and with Him. – a congregational member’s feedback to the project leadership

The River CRC – Sutton, MA
Grant Awarded: December 2010   
Project Name: Finding and Applying Strengths to Ministry
Focus: identifying and engaging congregants’ strengths

Bill has been a Christian for 23 years but it was on the back shelf. He started a disciple partnership at The River and then attended the Strengths Finder Seminar. While reconnecting with God, he got a clear understanding that God had shaped and wired him with strengths that can deepen and sustain his journey with Jesus. He is using his strengths to pursue God, which is more natural, and rewarding because it is within his strengths.

The Salt & Light Church – Granada Hills, CA
Grant Awarded: December 2009
Project Name: L.I.F.T. (Living It For Today)
Focus: discipleship and outreach

Many families got involved together and invited neighbors to the events, especially the Friday mini-concerts.  Our neighbors, including non-Christian parents, were glad to attend the concerns and showed interest in our church’s ministries.  The neighbors’ responses were surprised, and they opened their lives for their needs and especially those of their children.

The Table – Denver, CO
Grant Awarded: December 2011   
Project Name: The Table Incarnational Communities
Focus: incarnational gardening communities

At one of our gatherings, a senior citizen named Lenore joined us for dinner.  At that gathering we talked about things that nourish us both body and soul and several folks mentioned how Lenore nourished them by playing piano.  Following dinner, she made her way to our piano and played for nearly 15 minutes while the kids danced and the adults uploaded video onto their phones.  Lenore had been lonely, living with her daughter and longing for community.  As a result of that evening, she not only enjoyed our community but also expanded hers when several folks present asked if she would teach them and their kids how to play piano.  God used our gathering to bring people together and to share talents with each other that nourish our souls.  We’re pleased that the vision God gave us to provide community, nourishment, and grace has been evident in this way.

The Village Church – Thorold, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2011   
Project Name: Connecting to the Community through Needs Meeting Small Groups
Focus: connecting to the community through needs

Financial Peace was a real source of blessing to those who attended—the majority was not from our church.  One concept that really caught on was the $1,000 Emergency Fund. We started hearing things like, “My car broke down this week but it was not an emergency because the funds were there”. A couple shared how they had made many financial mistakes but were now totally committed to getting rid of debt and working toward financial wholeness. One woman from our congregation has been helped tremendously to budget and be financially healthy. Her income is not large but she manages her money well and is able to live with dignity and without the burden of major debt. Praise God!!

These resources have helped us as a congregation in the area of financial stewardship and overall giving to the church. They’ve helped us meet our target budget/giving expectations and in fact, this year we are actually slightly ahead on our local offering. I believe that people are giving more now because they have a healthier, and biblical, understanding of tithing.

Trinity CRC – Broomall, PA
Grant Awarded: June 2007   
Project Name: Third Thursdays at Trinity
Focus: community building and outreach

Our last presentation in May was focused on the Christian life and the Arts.  Our presentation was titled, Art and the Artist.  As an introduction, a member of the church spoke about a Christian view of the arts and especially some of the ways in which scripture shows us a God how is the greatest artist of all and that what one creates reflect on who the one is who is the Creator.  Then we had an artist who has been attending our church who is a person of mixed cultural background (Lenape Indian and African American) do a major slide presentation of his work and how it reveals his life and roots.  The wife of this artist has been attending a Bible study with women of the church for the entire year.  Since this program, both of them have been in attendance at our church and the husband, who is also a musician, has accompanied our times of worship.  So we see this program as having moved this couple closer to becoming a part of the life of our church and more importantly becoming a part of the body of Christ through becoming full believers in Christ.

Trinity CRC – St. Catharines, ON
Grant Awarded: April 2013
Project Name: Ridder Church Renewal – Ontario Cohort
Focus: transformational journey toward to authentically become missionally driven and oriented

Project is in process. Check back for the story.

Valley Community Church – Napa, CA
Grant Awarded: June 2010     Photo
Project Name: Leadership Development Coaching
Focus: leadership development

We have rediscovered our passion for bringing people into the family of God. There was a time our mindset was more like a club. We went to enjoy the friends we knew there. Now we go to see what God is doing in the lives of people. This summer we had a “How to Read Your Bible” class that was designed for the unchurched. One very introverted member invited an unbeliever—whose daughter was a Christian—who wanted to know more about what her daughter believed. She came to every one of the classes. Our member was so excited. She even quipped, “I can’t believe I had the courage to invite her.” That is two people who were transformed.

Valley DongSan of Love CRC – Northridge, CA       
Grant Awarded: December 2007     Photo
Project Name: Embracing the Second Generation
Focus: equipping the second-generation for spiritual growth and leadership in the church

Starting the 1st week of January, the English Ministry group started their own service led by a 2nd year student at UCLA. His name is David. His leadership skill is admirable and his personality is perfect for the youth group. Since his arrival, the youth group has been more involved in the church activities and they seem more excited to come to church. David knows how to play seven different instruments and he is going to be the English Ministry praise team leader: teaching songs, teaching how to play instruments, carrying out practices, and performing praise nights inside and outside of church in the community.

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Wallaceburg CRC – Wallaceburg, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2013
Project Name: Let Our Light Shine
Focus: foster health and renewal

We see indications of real growth and health as a congregation.  At our last WE event, a couple was invited that has not been to any church in years. They knew one family in our church. They came and felt incredibly welcome.  They experienced our church as a warm and inviting place and asked about our Sunday services.  In our church it is very easy for us to gather in groups that are familiar and we have a hard time speaking to new people. These WE events are making us more open, more hospitable, and in a very subtle way, more evangelistic.

WestCoast Community Church – Delta, BC
Grant Awarded: June 2007  
Project Name: Anosos Kainosis (Greek for “Healthy and Renewed”)
Focus: outreach to youth within the church and larger community

The satisfaction and joy of seeing the lives of two young people from the broader community (Scott and Morgan) and two young people from the membership of WCCC (Matt and Becky) change for the better as a direct result of this project.  For Scott and Morgan, both previously not affiliated with a church, it was seeing them grow in their understanding of what church is all about, begin to take steps on a spiritual journey that will, D.V., lead them to a personal faith in Christ, to place their trust in the adult youth leaders, to have fun, to build healthy relationships with others, and to begin to “take ownership” of being members of the WCCC youth group….and now, amazingly in the past month, to join the church band as it prepares for a community-wide outreach music/arts festival.   That’s great stuff!   For Matt and Becky, to see them deepen their commitment to and participation in not only the WCCC youth group but also the other aspects of WCCC.  Matt now leads our music/worship team (since Sept/07) and in July/08 has begun to work part-time in our youth ministry with the help of a grant from our local classis.  His maturity as a person and his development as a young leader is tangible.   Becky has grown in her attendance at WCCC Sunday events…having moved from being “sporadic” in the summer of 2007 to being “almost regular” by July/08.   She, too, is quite mature for her age (16) and, D.V., will continue to grow in her faith and hopefully be ready for some form of leadership role in the youth group in the near future.  Again, great stuff!

WestCoast Community Church – Delta, BC  
Grant Awarded: June 2008     Photo
Project Name: Ladner Market Music and Arts Festival 2008
Focus: building upon the relational and spiritual foundation established among the youth for deeper connections within the church and community

It’s the seemingly mundane but truly inspiring story of how much help persons gave week-to-week (consistency) in the setup and takedown of tents, sound equipment, tables/chairs, advertising banners, decorations, food/drink tables, etc.   We normally have a crew of 4 persons who do it on a regular basis for our Sunday services but during the Festival we had at least 15-20 persons (community) who did it regularly and with great enthusiasm (passion) as well as at least another 10-12 persons who joined in as they were able.   More persons realized what it takes to pull off this kind of event, more persons rolled up their sleeves to take care of nitty-gritty tasks that are not always attractive to do (behind the scenes sweating it out and getting dirty) and more persons had, and took, an opportunity to help the church do something worthwhile and do it in gift areas that were new or maybe not even a strength (servanthood).   Thus, I think our health as a church in all these areas (consistency, community, servanthood) were all advanced this summer, and it continues to show in our services/events this fall season.   We’ve taken a good step forward in maturing as a congregation and as individual believers.  May God continue to give us the grace to keep going!

Westside Fellowship CRC – Kingston, ON 
Grant Awarded: December 2009      
Project Name: Outreach Ministry 2010
Focus: offering hope and healing through outreach

The Divorce Care and Divorce Care for Kids (DC4K) group was such an amazing healing ministry for the adults and children who attended.  Of the 13 people who attended, only one person had a home church.  The adults and children learned what it means to trust God in difficult times, and that he is our shelter in every storm of life.  One of the ladies has since joined Coffee Break and attends our church sporadically.  Three of the children from DC4k have since come to VBS and Soccer Camp.  The single parents expressed appreciation for the love and concern that was shown to them and their children.  One lady said this: “Divorce Care is the one thing I look forward to each week.  It helps me get out of bed each morning”.  One mother shared this story. She was tucking her son into bed after DC4K and he said to her, "Mom, I didn't realize I was feeling so angry about the divorce.  I found out tonight that my life is like a storm right now, and we learned that Jesus can calm the storm.  Can we pray to Jesus tonight?"  The mother said that this was the first time her child opened up about his feeling in the last six months.  She had been praying that he would turn to Jesus.

Westside Fellowship CRC – Kingston, ON
Grant Awarded: June 2012  
Project Name: Outreach and Worship Transformation 2012/2013
Focus: expand outreach /grow in worship

During the DivorceCare “Surviving the Holidays” session, we talked about how it’s good to have a plan for the holidays, otherwise it can overwhelm you. Two participants shared how they wanted to go to sleep for the month of December and wake up in January. For both of them, it was their first Christmas without their spouse. So we invited anyone who didn’t have plans for Christmas Eve to come over to our house for supper and then join our family for our church’s Candlelight Service. These 2 participants joined us for the evening and we had a wonderful time. This is what one of them said: “I had a great time at your home. The dinner was great and your family is very nice. I also enjoyed the candle light, spiritual ceremony at the church. Both of these events saved my day, which otherwise would had been quite sad. Again thanks to you and Steve for doing this. I will long remember the people who took me under their roof during this holy time of the year.”

This man is not a Christian and was deeply moved by God’s tangible love shown through the DivorceCare group. I believe God is at work in him, and uses the love of others and seeds planted through this ministry to touch his life.

Word of Truth International Ministries – Tukwila, WA  
Grant Awarded: June 2009
Project Name: Building Stronger Relationship Retreat and L.E.A.D. (Leadership Empowerment and Development) Training
Focus: developing deep, meaningful relationships

Our church is growing numerically and spiritually. We’ve increased our Executive Team’s capacity by adding seven new leaders and developed ten new leaders-in-training—who are serving our community in an amazing way. The project also created immense movement around discipleship and evangelism.  We launched seven missional communities (fellowship, prayer, meal, Word, and mission) in seven neighboring communities.

Word of Truth International Ministries – Tukwila, WA
Grant Awarded: December 2012     Photo
Project Name: Operation L.E.A.D. (Leadership Equipping and Development)
Focus: leadership training

We’ve seen a new breath of life infused in our congregation! In the six months since we received the grant, we’re becoming a healthier and renewed church. Not only have we recognized our function as a part of the body of Christ, but we’ve fully embraced it! We’ve been able to identify the gifts and talents of our members and re-discover the vein of our ministry. Our members are more connected, committed, and eager to listen and teach. New leaders, teachers, and facilitators are becoming more vocal about, and committed to, our mission, vision, and core values. We’ve seen an increase in the commitment level of those who are ready to walk in the calling God has for their life and to use their gifts for the glory of God at Word of Truth International Ministries.

Zion CRC – Clackamas, OR
Grant Awarded: December 2008   
Project Name: Zion Worship Restoring Movement
Focus: enhancing worship for spiritual growth

We have a newcomer to our church. She has been a member of the Catholic Church for 10 years. She couldn’t really live as a born again Christian, but through Living Life she realized that Jesus is the only Savior and she believes that God is with her. Now she is trying to rely on God’s Word even though she has difficult economic circumstances.

Zion CRC – Oshawa, ON
Grant Awarded: December 2012
Project Name: 50 Years of Faithfulness: A Collection of Stories about God’s Love to the People of Zion CRC
Focus: connecting youth and seniors

As our church members were being interviewed and sharing their experiences of Zion over the past 50 years, we became acutely aware of how God has been working in guiding the church in its mission of providing for the disadvantaged of our society.  The interviews between the youth and older members of our congregation have been recorded—both on video and audio. During the interviewing process it was quite evident that the youth were gaining a new understanding of, and forming new friendships with, the people they interviewed. The social times after church services now see younger members speaking with their new acquaintances, which attest to their forming relationships. We’ve grown in the awareness of one another.

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