Does world poverty seem like an overwhelming task? We often talk to church leaders who want to make a personal connection with people living in poverty, but they know that they can’t do everything.
We interviewed leaders at seven churches who told us about simple ways their churches have made an impact on complex issues with Food for the Hungry (FH).
1. Pass around a gift catalog.
At Orchard Hill Church, Kris Hoskinson shares the FH gift catalog with the congregation. Catalogs are offered at the church’s welcome center, in services, and online.
“Some of our key principles in the mission at Orchard are focus and partnership,” Kris explained. “The catalogs have helped us to encourage our people to be generous.”
Individuals and families at OHC are invited to take catalogs home and to give corporately through opportunities at church. They donate a variety of items, from earthworms to water wells, to families served by FH around the world.
2. Get the kids involved.
Every year around Christmas, children and youth at Stanwood Foursquare Church select a project with FH. They make it fun for the kids by encouraging creativity and offering wacky rewards.
“This year, the youth pastor is going to shave his head if a specific amount is given!” said Emily Plater.
The kids enjoy raising money together for a cause, and many find creative and sacrificial ways to give.
3. Bring clean water to a village.
Imagine a donation that would allow children to attend school and babies to survive. Believe it or not, the gift of clean water can transform a community. Members of Journey’s Crossing watched a miracle happen when they visited a community in the Philippines.
“We purchased nearly 100 water filter kits and delivered them, along with training on how to use them,” reported Darin Brown of Journey’s Crossing.
“During a later trip we met with several families that had received filters in the past,” they said.. “Their stories were amazing. Kids weren’t missing school. The baby in one family who had been sick and not thriving was now growing and healthy, and families who had received filters were sharing water with their neighbors.”
4. Host a Hunger Sunday.
At any time of year, you can highlight the need for child sponsorship to your congregation. Lighthouse Community Church hosted a Hunger Sunday and saw an overwhelming response.
“Our church is about engaging with people,” Sherry Varughese said. “We are already doing it here in New York on Long Island. We incorporate different cultures, such as worshiping in a different language or genre.”
Sharing child sponsorship allowed church members to form a personal relationship with children living in poverty and their families.
5. Advocate to Governmental Leaders.
FH believes that church leaders’ voices should be heard among lawmakers in Washington, DC. Ed Grant, the pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church, joined other FH partner churches to meet with his state’s senators and Congressional representatives.
“While individual congregations and denominations are able to marshal their resources to assist the poor, our government has many more resources and, along with the resources, the opportunity to build goodwill as we meet needs on a local level,” said Pastor Grant. “We had the opportunity to speak with them about our concerns and about the profound impact our aid has on the developing world.”
6. Take a Vision Trip.
Want to explore your church’s role by getting your hands dirty? FH invites pastors to join a vision trip to see our work for themselves.
“Vision Trips allow church and business leaders to engage with the life-changing work first-hand as they are exploring ways to partner with FH,” said Aaron Coe, who leads the trips. Pastors travel together on brief but life-changing visits to an FH field, usually in nearby Latin America, so that they can dream together about how God could use their churches.
7. Partner with Another Church.
You don’t have to go it alone. Coggin Avenue Baptist Church found that they were able to multiply their impact while connecting with another US church through taking a mission trip together.
“When God brings together strangers and unifies them in spirit and purpose, it is beautiful!” said Sam Goff. Last year, they partnered with a church in nearby Louisiana.
“Hopefully, each year another church will join us!” Sam said.
Ready to take a small step toward big impact? Contact our Church Engagement Team!