Follow the Leader

By Liz Powers, Partnership Coordinator

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where good intentions did not play out how you hoped they would? Maybe you’ve baked peanut butter cookies for someone with an allergy, surprised someone who hates surprises, or accidentally offended someone you meant to celebrate.

Here in Lorain County, we are no stranger to this experience. During our time in partnership with this community we have engaged in several different types of outreach all with great intentions of serving the community, connecting with homeowners, and sharing the love of Christ. But, to be very honest, some of these well-intentioned ideas have had different-than-expected impacts on the community. As we’ve taken time to assess the areas in which we have fallen short, there seems to be a consistent gap- involvement from local leaders. This summer we are excited to address these issues with a new strategy, focusing on local leadership development. I’m eager to share with you some specifics of this plan.

Afternoon in the Park

Afternoon in the Park is a children’s program Next Step volunteers have invested in since 2014. Locally initiated, the program was started after a group of volunteers began to build relationships at the park near their worksite. This program has been instrumental in showing the love of Christ to our youngest community members. This summer, however, we are excited to take a new step in empowering our young friends as they begin to take ownership of their program. Just this week I was able to sit down with some of our most consistent kids to start the planning process for THEIR leadership this summer. Please pray as we work hard to develop and empower these kids to lead in impacting their neighborhood.

Community Cookout

Jorge Cortes has been our most faithful community cookout attendee for the past two years out here in Lorain. Interacting not only as a guest, but always stepping in to help with whatever has been needed- Jorge has been quite an asset to our Next Step teams. Over the past couple months Jorge and I have been working together to plan for this event in 2017- only this year HE is leading the charge. Please pray as Jorge steps into a new leadership role this summer with Next Step.

Neighborhood Initiative

Fountain of Life Church has been a cherished partner here in Lorain for the past two summers as we work together to house volunteers as well as host Community Worship. Recently, we have been in conversation regarding a new initiative for the church to reach out to the neighborhood immediately surrounding the church. This summer Next Step volunteers will be able to be a part of this process FOLLOWING the leadership plan at Fountain of Life. We can’t wait to see how the Lord works!

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