Being Church-Based

By Kinsey Tucker, Partnership Coordinator

One of the best things about being a Partnership Coordinator, is having a group of other Partnership Coordinators who live in other communities to do life with, brainstorm ideas with, and study the Word with.

Over the last few months, we have been studying a book called Making Neighborhoods Whole: A Handbook for Christian Community Development by Wayne Gordon and John M. Perkins. The book focuses on the eight components of Christian Community Development and mixes in personal stories and helpful advice that has been essential for us to continue to grow as leaders.

Last month, we studied the chapter that discussed the component of being church-based. The chapter focuses on how the local church must be a spiritual rudder to everything we are doing as community development organizations. It is the church’s responsibility to minister to communities and care for the poor, but so often, the church isn’t actively doing this. This explains why so many para-church organizations are now present in our communities. Because this is our current state, it is now more essential than ever that para-church organizations begin to lean on the church’s guidance for how we should be operating and helping the poor.

This is why I love our relationship with Journey Church here in Joplin. While we may not have started out here relying on the church to guide us, we have most certainly made that shift. It was the church’s idea for us to start partnering with various nonprofits and organizations here in Joplin. It was the church’s idea to start the 2in5 Initiative and for us to be a part of holistically transforming our neighborhood. They are continuously finding new ways to get involved with summer mission trips and pouring into the summer staff.

Our church partnership is what takes our trips from being ordinary to extraordinary. They set the tone for deeply community-minded trips and I’m thankful for their continuous involvement in the work being done. They want their neighborhood and community to be better so they’re taking the necessary steps to make that happen.

Community development starts with the church. Jesus commissioned the church to care for widows and orphans and make disciples. We must start utilizing the church for their ideas on how to solve the problems in their communities. What I’ve found here in Joplin is that they have better ideas than I could ever come up with.