Partnership Coordinator Pay Off

by Melanie Cocalis, Community Development Coordinator

Over one year in the community and we have already seen the work of each Partnership Coordinator create a foundation for development. Partnership Coordinators are those full-time staff members at Next Step who live in one of the 15 communities we partner with. Ministry is an every minute kind of thing.They invest into the growth of themselves and their neighbors as a whole, to see the transformation that can only come through the reconciliation of Christ in a town. There are still times when the day-to-day work of a Partnership Coordinator is vague. After all, how do we define the meetings and community initiatives in comparison to the late night coffee runs or weekend retreats discipling kids in the local youth group? Here are just three of the ways the Partnership Coordinators are investing in their own community day-in, day-out. This will paint a more tangible picture of what their position entails. This will paint a more tangible picture as to how they are laying the foundation for development in their neighborhood.

Project Follow-up and Discipleship
The goal is to activate the local church in a community to be and make disciples. As Next Step continues to build relationships with various families and individuals through projects, the local church has the opportunity to continue pouring into these relationships throughout the course of the year. This means spending time with these families, building trust, sharing about Jesus, playing games, watching movies, whatever it takes to walk alongside people in their journey of life! The Partnership Coordinators play a huge role in coordinating, training, and following up with those involved in discipleship efforts across the community.

 Community Leadership Team Formation and Meetings
The Partnership Coordinators have an incredible opportunity to host and facilitate collaboration among various leaders in the community. This includes pastors, educators, organizational leaders, and more. Meeting and gathering together creates the opportunity to form new ideas, and as a community, decide what programs and initiatives are best to invest into from a development standpoint. These are the community teams that are guiding and leading the work we are doing in the community.

 Connecting Short Term Missions with Long-Term Development
Awareness within the realm of short-term missions pertaining to themes like sustainable work, empowering the local community, developing local leaders, etc., is a huge part of community development. Partnership Coordinators are working year round on ways we can create this awareness to those coming on a Next Step trip. This means community events such as cookouts, summer kick off events, weekly scavenger hunts, game nights, the list goes on. This also means creating tangible training pertaining the organizations and families each team of students will work with during their one-week trip. This guides a way of thinking that is responsible and is centered on empowerment in the work each group is participating in.

Conceptually, development work is simple: it’s about creating awareness, collaborating, discipling, and empowering neighbors in the process. But it is the intentionality each Partnership Coordinator is investing into each of these areas (and many more!) that really transitions development from a concept into action.

Next Step Ministries