Now that we’ve been back in Greenville for about six weeks, I wanted to update you on what’s been going on. So, let’s have a conversation. Since you’re not in the room with me right now, (. . . hold on, let me check . . . no, you’re not here . . .) this will be a compilation of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from our friends, plus some questions you should be asking (SAQs).
If you and I were having a face-to-face question, here’s how it may go:
How’s it going?
Great. Thanks for asking.
Can you explain what “Mill Community Ministries” is?
Yes, I can try.
So, it’s going to be like that. OK, will you explain it?
We are working on a big picture communication plan, so I’d like to hold off for now. (However, if you actually were in the room with me right now, I’d be happy to have this conversation. Or if you bought me lunch or coffee. Hint, hint.)
What will you be doing under Mill Community Ministries?
My wife, Joanna, and I will do a lot of what we did in Allendale, SC. We will be a part of the local community, and work with youth and children. We will focus on the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood in downtown Greenville, and other under-resourced communities.
Do you have a name for your ministry yet?
No. We are working on this, and are open to your suggestions.
In Allendale, we used the name Elevate. We may continue to use this, or some variation of it.
What kind of programs will Elevate (or whatever you’ll call it) do?
That’s what most of my past 6 weeks has focused on — figuring out exactly what we will do. We have been meeting with community members, church leaders, school faculty, and more, to help us see what are the strengths and opportunities of the community around us (we live one block outside of the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood).
Over the past few weeks, the hardest thing for me personally is not having a set schedule or program. I often felt lost and confused as to what I needed to do. I was warned that this role would mean a lot of embracing ambiguity, especially at first. But being warned about it and experiencing it are two different things.
All that being said, we learned a lot about children, poverty, and education during in our time in Allendale. We anticipate being involved with things similar to what we did over the past four years – in-school volunteering, mentoring, after school programs, day camps, field trips, etc.
Wait . . . Did you say “after school programs”?
Yes. Yes, I did.
Are you starting one soon? What will that look like?
We are in the process of trying to get one started. I got connected with a young man who is from the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood, and who also went through the Mill Village Farms youth development program. He has a desire to start an after school program in his community, but needed someone to come alongside him. We think that “someone” could be us.
We hope to start one by the end of this month, or early next month. We will start with meeting two days each week (probably Mondays and Thursdays), and see how it unfolds.
What do you need?
In a future post, I’ll communicate more of our needs. But for now, you can be praying about (and considering being a part of) these three things:
- Supplies and financial support
So, will your ministry be just another after school program?
No. We are not trying to become another Frazee Center (and I know we could never duplicate the great things they have going on there!). They are meeting substantial and particular needs in their community, but we think the need is different in ours (at least for now).
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting connected with the local schools that the children in our neighborhood are zoned for. I’ve been able to learn of some unique and unmet serving opportunities in at least two schools. Some of these I’ve been taking on, and some I’ve helped connect other people to.
Here is a brief list of these opportunities:
- Mentoring a boy who lives across the street;
- Helping to find a team of 15 families from Grace Church to be room parents for a couple of EMH classes at Augusta Circle Elementary School;
- Connecting the elementary school to Mentor Greenville, with the hope of developing that program in that school;
- After school tutoring for upper level math and science classes, for a high school football team’s study hall;
- Helping (once or twice a week) to coach C- and D-team football at Greenville High School. I wish I could help more often!
- Other serving opportunities at Greenville High, including devotions (through FCA) and volunteering in the school store.
So now what?
Thank you for asking all these questions. Please pray for us, and consider partnering with us financially.
We are glad to be on this adventure, as a part of God’s larger story!
Edit: Read more Questions and Answers.