Image for 4 Creative Ways Churches are Serving Their Communities

4 Creative Ways Churches are Serving Their Communities

Photo of Sy HufferSy Huffer | Bio

Sy Huffer

Sy is lead minister at College Heights Christian Church, in Joplin, MO. He is passionate about Jesus, the church, and making disciples. He has been married to the love of his life, Monica, for 9 years, and has the two most precious daughters, Geri Jean and Chandler Joy. Sy is also an avid Dallas Cowboys fan, loves food in all its shapes and sizes, and wishes he lived in the story of the Lord of the Rings.

Photo of Jon SherwoodJon Sherwood | Bio

Jon Sherwood

Jon Sherwood strives to treat people with respect and dignity while expressing his heartfelt beliefs about Jesus and the Christian faith. He is lead pastor of Asheville Church in North Carolina, a network of Micro Churches throughout the western Carolina region. Jon holds degrees from The University of Florida, Athens Institute of Ministry, Columbia International University, and is undergoing doctoral work at Mercer University. He is married to Brittany and has two amazing boys. Together they love the beautiful outdoors and helping people fall in love with King Jesus.
Photo of Jared EllisJared Ellis | Bio

Jared Ellis

Jared is the preaching minister at Fellowship Regional Church in Iola, KS, with a satellite campus in Caney, KS. He is also the host of a long-form interview podcast show called The Homilist, which explores the various aspects of preaching. 

Photo of Mark McCoyMark McCoy | Bio

Mark McCoy

Mark joined the Antioch Christian Church staff in Marion, IA, in 2015. He and his wife Erica have five children. Mark has undergraduate degrees from Ozark Christian College in Theology and Biblical Literature and a master's in leadership studies from Cincinnati Christian University. Mark loves listening to people’s stories, and he loves to walk with people as they grow into the amazing followers of Jesus and life-giving community that Jesus continues to create!

How does a church step up and serve its hurting community when restricted by social distancing? Here are four creative snapshots of church leaders getting creative for the sake of their communities.

The “Dollar Club”

Sy Huffer, College Heights Christian Church in Joplin, MO

Each week, we are asking everyone to give $1 per family member above their regular giving to the church in order to show compassion to people in our community. In addition, we as a church take $1k off of the top of our offering to give to those in need.

Here are some of the ways God has used our “Dollar Club”:

  • To buy toilet paper to give to those who are in need.
  • To buy desserts made by a local restaurant to give to employees at a local Wal-Mart to say thanks.
  • To give $1,000 to Crosslines Ministries to help fill their food pantry in order to provide groceries for those who are having financial difficulties.
  • To pay the rent of a waitress in town who has had her hours cut because of COVID-19.

Candid Conversations about Loneliness and Fear

Jon Sherwood, Asheville Church in Ashville, NC

In addition to participating at the food bank and increasing our support for international churches in poor areas, we decided to host a weekly discussion to talk candidly about issues of fear, isolation, and loneliness. In view of COVID-19 and social distancing practices, we all are feeling a little lonely and isolated these days. We all need friends, we all have fear, and we all need faith.

That’s why we are providing a private weekly online group discussion each Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. where we have real conversations about our fears and what we are going through. Everyone is invited to join us, connect, find friendship, overcome our fears, and seek God together.

Serving the Community by Empowering Fathers

Jared Ellis, Fellowship Regional in Iola, KS

Much of the ministry at Fellowship Regional Church focuses on developing strong men. We strive to create a masculine environment both physically and spiritually because we believe that good men are the catalyst for dynamic change in the home, church, community, and culture.

When COVID-19 hit, we saw an opportunity to up the ante with our men. We decided immediately that we were not going to preach full sermons (40+ minutes). Instead we decided to use this time to provide devotional thoughts on scripture and ask the men to lead their families through the discussion questions and notes provided on our website.

It has been incredible. Many of the men not only led through the discussion questions and notes, but also inserted parallel passages, texted us for more resources, and asked for the notes a day early to familiarize themselves with material. Ever since the shelter in place has started, across both of our campuses we’ve had several baptisms, and several others make the decision to do the same upon reopening.

Partnership with Local Grocery Stores

Mark McCoy, Antioch Christian Church in Marion, IA

At the top of our website, you’ll find two prominent questions: “Need Help? Want to Help?” During this time, we want to provide both service opportunities and COVID-19 relief. One of the ways we are serving the community is through our grocery distribution. People are donating money to the church, which we then use to buy groceries. Through partnerships with local grocery stores, such as Hyvee and Fairway, we are able to buy groceries at reduced prices.

For anyone struggling, we invite them to pick a designated time to drive through and pick up groceries at no cost. Wearing masks and glovers, our volunteers load the vehicles so that the driver doesn’t have to get out. We provide a similar service through our Freezer to Fork ministry, in which a group in our church makes meals, freezes them, and then distributes them via drive-through during designated times.

It is encouraging to see churches get creative in their outreach. Creativity is one of the values we ought to see played out in the church, because we serve a God who is infinitely creative.