Monday, October 31, 2011

Community Compassion Organization - YMCA

For the third and final community compassion organization I chose the YMCA. I interviewed Crissy Jache from the Lynn YMCA in Massachusetts (my home town). Crissy was very informative and straightforward with what she knew and what she didn’t know.

The YMCA started in London, 1812, when twenty-two-year-old George Williams was troubled by the dangerous street life surrounded by turmoil and despair at the time. In response to this he joined with eleven friends and organized the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). This was a refuge of Bible study and prayer, for young men seeking to escape from the hard life on the street. The organization was driven to meet the social needs of the community. Several years later Thomas Valentine Sulivan, inspired but the YMCA in England formed the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston.

Crissy also gave some practical insight on how the YMCA as an organization helps people. The Y helps families live a healthy and well-balanced life, through social means, fitness centers, swimming pools, childcare programs, etc. What is cool about the YMCA, which I had not known previous to today, is that the YMCA builds their facilities based on their community’s needs. This means that some buildings will have, say, a fitness center while others will not.

The YMCA is a non-profit organization. It is funded by a variety of different sources, such as: membership dues, fees for programs (i.e. classes and child care), United Way (a company that funds organizations), grants, fundraising etc.

The hiring process consists of many different aspects dependent upon which program at the YMCA a potential employee is interested in. Crissy recommends that people figure out where they feel they would fit better and then go from there. She also believes in the fact that you can train people to do tasks, but there are certain things you can’t teach a person, such as personality, social aptitude, etc. Background checks are ideal in all programs in the Y, because of the family friendly environment. While there are some core, general, interviewing methods, interviews tend to fluctuate based on the area of the YMCA.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Interview - Rich Jones

Rich Jones, youth pastor of 20 years, and current lead pastor of Element church in Pittsburgh, was the guest speaker of the week. Rich seems to be very down to earth and certainly has a committed heart for the ministry. His journey as a VFCC graduate throughout various churches was close to my heart. It is encouraging to see someone dedicated to both God’s mission and his family. One of his stories that impacted me was the one where he remained homeless for two weeks and slept in his car. Instead of begging for a home or asking to live in the church, he moved his wife back home and remained in his car.

After the journey of church searching Rich developed a heart for church planting. Once this desire was solidified he planted Element church where he remains as head pastor today. This new church is heavily involved within the community in an area that is surrounded by mostly low-income families. Currently they are holding service at Mr. Smalls Theatre, a club where local concerts are held. Taken what he was given, Rich Jones has seen his ministry continue to grow and is surrounded by a team that he couldn’t work without. To close, I wanted to mention Rich’s circular leadership plan. Opposed to a hierarchy system, the circular system allows for an equal balance of roles within the church. It is a lot less corporate and a lot more relationship based. I really enjoyed that concept and was honored to be able to see an experienced minister who didn’t quit, and who is now in his sweet spot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest Interview - Lee Rogers

This week I had the pleasure to listen to Lee Rogers as he spoke bluntly and openly of his successes and his failures within the ministry. When he spoke about his transition from a small church to a large church it especially connected with me, because I have had to transition from a small church to a very large church in my life. It was encouraging to see a man with a deep passion to witness youth reach there full potential in God. That was made evident when Lee began explaining the ministry he is currently involved in called Youth Alive.
Youth Alive is an initiative for middle school and high school students to become campus missionaries in order to spread the gospel to the unreached students in their schools. Lee listed four strategies for youth alive: First, “the campus missionary,” because the indigenous missionary is the best missionary. Secondly, are campus clubs, which is a vision for church planting within schools. Thirdly is the Seven Project, which is an assembly that takes place in schools. In the morning the assemblies are totally secular, while at night Christ is presented. Finally is prayer, more specifically prayer zone partners, in which people pass by schools and pray for the campus missionaries inside. It was enlightening to see the background behind youth alive and the impact it has had in the secular world!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Community Compassion Organization - Food Bank

This week I contacted Ann B. McManus, the director 
of Second Harvest Food Bank in Lehigh Valley and Northeast, PA. She was very helpful and knew her company well. The Food Bank is basically a warehouse distribution center that provides food to local non-profit organizations, such as: churches, soup kitchens, day care centers, after school programs in the inner city, and emergency food providers. There are about two hundred and five food bank in the United States, each assigned to its own territory.

Although food banks primarily distribute food, they also serve in raising hunger awareness through programs and other means, like surveys of five hundred people who use the pantries in the area. Ann put the Food bank’s goal this way, “ To advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves regarding the food issue.” Most people who get food from soup kitchens and other means, often get food that is very unhealthy containing things like high sodium. Because of this, the food bank has developed coolers giving them the capability to serve food fresh food. They hope that in the future these would be used opposed to canned and boxed food.
The food bank has an approximate yearly budget of 2.4 million dollars. One third of that if from public contributions, about half is from state or federal funding, and the rest is from things such as grants, small fees, etc. There is a staff of sixteen paid full time employees and another four full time employees who volunteer.

Employers at the food bank are searching for employees who have enthusiasm and passion for helping people. They want mission driven people who can make a difference, and the rest can be taught. On a smaller scale employees working in the warehouse should be able to lift seventy pounds, because it is a fairly physically demanding occupation. A college degree doesn’t hurt but is not necessary.

Guest Speaker - Jason Tourville

Jason Tourville, our guest speaker, was a very down to earth guy who loves the Lord. The way he talked about his four children (two boys and two girls) showed a compassionate heart. Jason is an alumnus from VFCC so it was encouraging to see a successful pastor coming from here. Jason launched right into the ministry after college. And throughout his post undergraduate life he was able to move through a wide range of churches from small churches to mega churches. Eventually God softened Jason’s heart and called him to be a senior pastor, which he is today in a small church in Philly.

Jason is the creator of Hope4Philly, an outreach ministry out of Convoy of Hope. It was incredible to hear the statistics of Hope4Philly, such as: 10,000 out of 15,000 people were prayed for, 120,000 lbs of groceries shipped, and 2200 volunteers this year alone. The organization amongst eight separate sites is phenomenally strategic to say the least. Jason is a balanced leader, evident in the success of Hope4Philly, resulting in many more souls being added to the kingdom. It is good to see a leader who takes ministry seriously. When asked what the biggest lesson Jason learned when launching this outreach ministry, he responded: “your team will make or break you.” I thought that was a very practical life lesson to take the heart.