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What is a multi-church cooperative ministry?

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The multi-church cooperative ministry provides a strong foundation for serving the poor. The cooperative brings together a number of churches to share resources, reduce duplication, and improve service.

What does a multi-church cooperative look like?

This kind of cooperative ministry is not new. Strong examples exist in many cities. They differ from place to place, but they have a number of features in common.

  1. They often have more than one Christian denomination involved. Feeding the hungry is something that all Christians can agree upon.
  2. Each participating church makes a commitment of financial and volunteer support. An example of this commitment is a monthly donation based on the church’s size. For example, every church might pledge $20 per month for every 100 members.
  3. One church might provide the cooperative’s physical location.
  4. The ministry is a separate non-profit from all of the churches involved. This gives the ministry the ability to receive tax-deductible gifts directly. It also protects the churches from legal liability.
  5. The ministry can include one or more of the following services to clients: food pantry, clothes closet, utility assistance, thrift store, training and education, case management, medical clinic, housing assistance, homeless shelter, furniture assistance.
  6. A large ministry funded by a church cooperative can support professional staff. This can include professional fundraising staff and program staff.

These kinds of ministries have been very successful and are often the largest non-governmental response to poverty in a given city.

Look for examples.

For some examples of this kind of ministry at work, take a look at these successful ministries:

DCCM – Downtown Cooperative Church Ministry was formed by 15 churches in the downtown Augusta, GA area, and operates a food pantry to meet the needs of the hungry.

AIM – Anderson Interfaith Ministries started when churches in Anderson, SC decided to work together to meet the needs of the poor. They operate a food pantry, provide case management services for people in crisis, offer job counseling and educational programs, and housing assistance.

ACTS – Area Churches Together Serving was created by 20 Aiken, SC churches who realized they could do more to help the poor by pooling resources together. They run a food pantry, provide medical assistance, help with utility bills, operate a clothing closet, provide child care, and have programs to help with furniture and automobiles.

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