LifeGivers Celebrates Grant Awardees as New Session Registration Opens
Two sessions have come and gone already as the LifeGivers initiative of Church of God Ministries continues to inspire and equip Church of God people to give life—sharpening a wide variety of gifts and talents for effective use throughout participants’ spheres of influence. Now that registration has opened for the fourth session of LifeGivers, the Church of God is rejoicing over what the Lord has accomplished through LifeGivers scholarships to date. Consider two congregations that received grants for jumpstarting community outreach efforts, as part of the LifeGivers Cell 108, “Effectively Reaching Your Community”: Generations of Grace in Lebanon, Tennessee, and North 17th Street Church of God in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Susan Whitehead isn’t a pastor nor is she credentialed as a minister. But she is a layperson with a heart for her community. So, when her pastor suggested she look at what LifeGivers has to offer, Susan agreed. Generations of Grace in Lebanon, Tennessee, has only been in existence for five years, and has since then been a champion for its community. “This course seemed like a perfect fit for our goal to reach out and build relationships,” Susan recounts. “We wanted to learn how to be more effective in our outreach efforts.”
When the opportunity came, as part of the course, to submit a grant proposal for a practical application of the subject matter, Susan was excited about the possibilities. While the young church has already been involved in numerous community projects—everything from Relay for Life to a fair-trade store that “offers merchandise made by people coming out of poverty, prostitution, and addiction,” to a Mario Kart tournament, they are always looking for other opportunities. On Susan’s mind was the great need for basic life skills in their community. Her detailed and strategic proposal asked for foundational funding to plan, promote, and implement a series of life skills classes that would be free to the community. Ranging from changing tires to balancing a checkbook, these classes would bring in an expert on the topic at hand, and simultaneously offer free childcare—complete with snacks, fun activities, and a Bible story.
Now the church is half-way through offering the series of six classes, and Susan is pleased with what has been accomplished. Guests have been educated, community leaders have been blessed to see what is taking place, and a shelter for women even encouraged all their residents to attend. The church’s biggest challenge is attracting more participants, and they eagerly anticipate doing just that.
“The grant dollars we received were a great encouragement to our church because the larger Church saw fit to invest in our efforts,” Susan reflects. “…We are so thankful for the grant and how it has helped us make an impact!”
Meanwhile, seven hundred miles to the north Pennsylvania’s capital city, Charlotte Lewis has been busy implementing her community outreach effort, also supported by a LifeGivers scholarship. Like Generations of Grace, North 17th Street Church of God has community outreach in its DNA. A food bank, community festival, and VBS are chief among their efforts, which have yielded God-honoring results. With their grant funds, they are now working to “adopt” a local charter school. By coming alongside the school and providing school supplies, uniforms, and backpacks, the church is establishing a caring relationship with students and staff. Plans for the program also include the establishment of an after-school program and an updated VBS program for kids during the summer. Future dreams also include partnering with fundraising, field trips, financial literacy classes, community service efforts, and the school board.
“We pray that this will be a long-term partnership,” Charlotte writes. “…Our goal is to develop relationships between the congregation and the parents, the church youth group and the students, and the church leaders and the school administration. These relationships will build a stronger community and help us share the love of God and the Good News about Jesus Christ.”
Experiences like these suggest why LifeGivers has already caught the attention of Church of God congregations across the United States and Canada. Some courses fill quickly due to widespread interest. Each course lasts four to six weeks, and the 100-percent online courses cover topics ranging from cross-cultural missions to family ministry to worship leadership—and much more. These courses can be completed any time that fits your schedule, and are for anyone—not just pastors! Remember, registration is NOW OPEN for the next session of LifeGivers, so don’t delay!