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Goal #5: Community Outreach
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January, 2014

At the beginning of each new year, many Adventist congregations resolve to reach out to their communities, but they are often unsure how to proceed. As director of NCC’s Adventist Community Services, health, and stewardship departments, Gordon Botting investigates the latest outreach methods from around the North American Division. He has some practical ideas for establishing strong relationships between churches and communities in 2014:

Build a greenhouse. Only three years ago, 12 NCC churches had outdoor community gardens. Last year more than 40 had gardens, supplying vegetables to ACS organizations and local food banks—and leading to better community health and goodwill. “The next step is to build a greenhouse so that your church can supply fresh vegetables to the community year round,” said Botting. One option is to purchase the One-Day Church from Maranatha Volunteers International and adapt it for use as a greenhouse by installing clear corrugated sheets as the roof and putting in fold-up plastic walls. The whole structure can be completed (minus the foundation) for about $5,000. With the help of Sacramento Adventist Academy students, Carmichael church members put three one-day churches together to create a greenhouse that is 140 feet long. Churches can apply for a grant from the North American Division ACS fund to receive money for the project. 

Train a health team. The upcoming Wellness Weekend at Leoni Meadows, March 7-9, is the official NCC training for local church health ministry leaders. The weekend’s speaker will be Katia Reinert, NAD health ministries director. “Come and learn how to create a really vibrant and effective local health ministry,” said Botting. 

Commit to Teaching CREATION Health. Many congregations have only one community outreach program per year, such as a health seminar; however, that is not enough to establish a church’s reputation in the community. “People may have a good experience at the seminar, and they may tell their friends, but it’s a whole year until the next event,” said Botting. He is looking for 12 NCC churches to commit to presenting Florida Hospital’s program CREATION Health a minimum of three times a year for two years. 

The acronym CREATION stands for choice, rest, environment, activity, trust, interpersonal relationships, outlook and nutrition. “The program provides many jumping off points for a church to follow up with,” said Botting. For instance, if attendees seem interested in the “interpersonal relationships” aspect, the church can follow up with a seminar on parenting or marriage. Botting especially likes the program because it has already been adapted for various audiences, including senior citizens, schools and Vacation Bible Schools, and it offers a wide variety of materials, including Bible studies. (To learn more, visit www.creationhealth.com.)
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