Impacting Your City With Your City’s Help
If you want your church to make an impact for your city, you might think you have to go it alone. But partnering with organizations in your area can strengthen your networks and provide opportunities for you to make connections. Partnering with your city and its organizations uses Missional muscles and takes advantage of existing structures in your local setting. You can work with proven, established services, while using their resources to help accomplish your church’s mission in making disciples.
Many civic and non-profit agencies have great budgets but run short on volunteers. By helping them out, you can use their resources to accomplish your goals. Some of these local organizations might be:
- Better Business Bureau
- Main Street Associations
- Chamber of Commerce
- Your local city government (City Council)
- Farmer’s Markets
- State & County Fairs
- Food Banks
- Homeless Associations
- School Districts & Community Colleges
8 Guidelines for Community Partnerships
Start with connections across a cross section of your community. Don’t limit yourself to working with only one organization. Partnerships tend to grow and deepen with time, but it’s hard to know up front which partnerships will yield the best fruit.
- Partner in ways that are mutually beneficial. Neither you nor the community organization should feel like you’re only giving and not receiving.
- Work with people, not just organizations. Be sure there is a specific person in each organization who is your go-to person.
- Share the vision, share the load. Develop your vision collaboratively so both parties carry ownership. Include both parties in decision making.
- Communicate progress. When you experience a victory—or a failure—be sure to communicate with your partner organization. Shared information helps everyone adjust as needed.
- Be available. Be willing and open to serve on committees and boards. Attend city council meetings. Show you care by investing in your community.
- Think big. Dream big. Act big. Momentum is your friend. When an activity looks like it is succeeding, it is more likely to draw more volunteers and participants.
- Remember who you are. Partnerships are amazing, but there’s a danger of losing your own identity, your own mission, in the partnership. Always keep in mind what your goal is in partnering with community organizations and don’t let it get lost.
If you want more ideas on building and maintaining community partnerships, Andy Coe wrote a terrific article for the International Nonprofit Development Council, which is available on Convergent Nonprofit Solution’s website.