If you worshiped at Grace Church this past weekend, you heard Matt Williams explain more about Mill Community Ministries. If you missed it (or want a refresher), check out the video below.
I already answered some FAQs and SAQs. Here are some more questions you may have after watching this video . . .
Can you explain what “Mill Community Ministries” is?
Yes, I can try. Mill Community Ministries (MCM) is a 501c3 non-profit ministry, started by Grace Church in 2012. Our mission is “to unite with God’s vision for individual life change and a holistic transformation of under-resourced communities.”
We want to facilitate life change for individuals, with leads to transformation in communities, which leads to more life change in individuals, etc. And we believe that the most effective and sustainable change happens when you address multiple issues simultaneously (hence, “holistic”). A national report says that getting children out of poverty requires a two-generation approach.
Does Grace Church still run Mill Community Ministries?
No. As of August 1 of this year, MCM is operating on its own. It is no longer under Grace Church, although some portion of its leadership and staff is a part of Grace Church.
What does Mill Community Ministries do?
- Mill Village Farms (Dan Weidenbenner, Director)
- Village Wrench (Wes Whitesell, Director)
- Nasha Lending (Taylor Beard, Director)
- Elevate Youth (my deal)
Note: Village Wrench is completely led by volunteers.
What’s the connection between you, Dan, and Taylor?
Not-so-relevant factor: We all graduated for Furman.
More-relevant factor: We all spent ministry time in Allendale — Dan and Taylor as interns and staff, and my family living there for 3.5 years. As Matt pointed out in the video above, we have been able to learn from our experience in Allendale, and bring that knowledge to our own community in Greenville.
Are you a broker of services, or a provider? Is it possible to do both?
I was asked this question by one person, and I didn’t have a great answer then. I’m ready now!
As we learn about the needs of children and youth around us, I would much rather be a broker. I would prefer to promote and support other effective ministries that are solving that need, rather than re-create and duplicate programs.
For example, instead of creating a new in-school mentoring program, I’d rather connect a school with Mentor Greenville. Instead of being a room parent to a special needs class, I’d rather connect others (who are looking to do more) with that opportunity. Let’s build up and connect existing organizations and resources, as long as they are getting the job done.
But if there is a need and no one to meet that need, then we can look at becoming a provider. This is where the after school program comes in. While I appreciate the work of other after school programs in Greenville, those programs are not meeting the need of the children and youth in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood.
If you asked me a few years ago, I would have assured you that any child in downtown Greeenville looking for an after school program could just go to one of many options around. But I’ve learned that for a child who lives two miles away, it’s no different than if he lived twenty miles away. Transportation is a major issue for many families in our neighborhood.
Also, the child and his family will be more likely to be a part of the program if they feel like it’s part of their own community. That’s why I’m excited about launching an after school program in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood. This program will be for our neighborhood’s children, right in our neighborhood, and even led by one of the youth from this neighborhood.
Community matters. Our community matters.
What do you need?
Matt couldn’t have said it better in the video. You can partner with us in three ways:
- Prayer. We need wisdom and discernment for knowing how to engage the communities that we work with.
- Give. The long-term sustainability of MCM is based on how much we can raise through grants, donations from businesses and ministries, and individual contributions. Make a tax-deductible donation to this ministry on our donation page.
- Serve. We are working to mobilize volunteer resources to have a tangible impact in under-resourced communities. Contact MCM (or me directly) if you are interested in partnering through serving.
What about that after school program?
It’s still in the works. We were hoping to have it started by this month, but we could not secure a facility. We expect to have it up and going by January. Please pray with us that we would know and trust in God’s will.
We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Mill Community Ministries, and to see it grow. And we are glad for you to be a part of the journey!
Do you have any other questions about Mill Community Ministries? Leave a comment below, and/or come to the Mission to Worship event on Monday November 3.