Planning for the future is not primarily about trimming costs or adding a bit of revenue. A strategic sustainability plan involves regularly revisiting foundational questions about your program’s purpose and impact.
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Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake Bay, is losing coastline every year and its residents may be the first "climate-change refugees" in the United States. Image courtesy of Google Maps
Tangier Island is losing up to 16 feet of coastline every year and will be uninhabitable within 50 years. How many congregations find themselves similarly watching the sea rise, and why aren’t we doing more for them?
The Rev. Emily Hull McGee, pastor of First Baptist Church on Fifth, stands with her son Liam in the breezeway between two of the church buildings. The building on the left is slated for removal; it's part of an ambitious plan to tear down, rebuild and renovate the church's buildings in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photos by Alex Maness
The 146-year-old Baptist congregation hopes a smaller footprint will allow the church to redefine its mission and identity while saving its historic sanctuary.
The chancel of Richfield UMC, where the remaining members have decided to close after years of faithful ministry. Photos courtesy of Zina Risley
A creative new ministry is underway in various UMC conferences to help declining congregations chart their end and leave behind a lasting gift.
At Una Familia, mothers and volunteers work with children in a summer tutoring program on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Leaders of Una Familia took part in the Ministry Accelerator workshops to help them expand the size and impact of their ministry. Photos by David B. Hollingsworth
Virginia United Methodists are helping established ministries expand by teaching them new skills in a two-day “accelerator” program.
Many congregations dream of being places of radical welcome, but that vision is not sustainable through tithing alone. It’s time to think differently about how to accomplish such work, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Bell looks out the window of the Wilson Renaissance Complex, a downtown building that has been renovated by the nonprofit arm of Bell's congregation, St. John AME Zion Church. Photo by Alex Maness
An enterprising leader of St. John AME Zion Church pushed his congregation to revive its dormant nonprofit and undertake an ambitious plan to buy and improve seven properties in a historically African-American area of Wilson, North Carolina.
When the District of Columbia began offering an attractive incentive package for making sustainable-energy improvements, the Community Purchasing Alliance began encouraging congregations to invest in solar panels.
A Washington, D.C.-based cooperative offers a self-sustaining model that generates revenue for struggling churches and nonprofits.
A volunteer paints the face of a little girl at Amachi Pittsburgh's Christmas 2013 celebration. The event included mentors and families as well as children on the waiting list for a mentor. Photos courtesy of Amachi Pittsburgh
After losing federal support in 2011, Amachi Pittsburgh, a faith-based organization that supports the children of people in prison, has worked to become financially sustainable by partnering without becoming dependent and broadening tactics without compromising mission.