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Finding Projects

Advice on how and where to find home repair service and outreach ministry projects.

3 Ways You Can Have More Impact Without More Budget

Collaborating with other service agencies can help you, as it helps our ministry, work more efficiently and get more done. How?

Building a Ramp1) Getting projects via referral. We get a good percentage of our projects in this manner. Your church or service/outreach ministry might be able to, also! Each community partner you work with has a unique “sweet spot” where they focus.

Here's an example from our world. Often, our community partner's specialty is with survival basics such as food, clothing, rent, utility funds and counseling. But when their low-income, home-owning clients have a repair or accessibility need they can’t meet, they often send them to us. Sometimes, they even send along materials funding! Are there partner organizations in your community who need your services? And, if you turn it around, are there services that your congregants or clients need that a community partner can help with?

Working together like this can make everyone involved more efficient and effective, as well as make things easier for people needing help.

2) You can get more projects done more quickly. Again, using our experience as an example, we save time by getting most of our projects from referrals (from other nonprofits and service agencies) and having many of them come to us pre-qualified. That helps us do more projects in a shorter time period. Rather than chasing down needs and having to qualify them all ourselves, we get to focus on how we might help and “rounding up the troops.”

If you developed tight relationships with some trusted agencies, could you leverage the power of pre-qualification to get more done and have a greater impact?

Handymen Unleashed3) You might have heard us talk about this before, but serving other non-profits and agencies by helping them serve more (in our case, by improving, repairing or maintaining their facilities) is a highly strategic community investment. We don’t just serve an organization, we help impact the thousands of people they are serving, and in some cases, the additional thousands more they can help because of the improvement!

It may look different for your church, ministry or organization, but if you are involved in serving and helping people, can you leverage your unique skills and abilities to help other organizations make a bigger impact for the Kingdom of Christ?

For Christian organizations, it brings to mind what Paul says about the church in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.



Create Your Own Short-Term Mission Trip, Part Two

So how do you start looking for your short-term mission trip opportunity? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Contact your local or county senior services agency volunteers coordinator to see what they know needs volunteers.
  • Contact Dept. of Family and Children’s Services (or whatever it is called near you) to see whether they know of a low-income family fostering children and in need of home repair help. This is especially needed where there are teens being fostered.
  • Contact agencies that help people with disabilities to see if they can direct you to a need.
  • Are there single mothers in your church network (members and their extended families and neighbors) whose homes need attention but cannot pay for maintenance?
  • Has there been a localized disaster, e.g. a flood or tornado that swept through a neighborhood (though it may not officially be a declared emergency, see how those in the path feel about it)? Contact your county or state Emergency Management Agency to see whom to contact about helping.
  • Inner-city/low-income neighborhood church leaders often know of someone in their congregation who needs help. Use the opportunity to serve alongside other Christ-followers.
  • Make sure that you have a waiver to cover accidents and your team. Also, make sure that your team members are insured!

So How Do I Start a Home Repairs Team?

Now that you’ve got a project, how do you start a team and what do you need? We’ve created a website – www.homerepairs.org – where we have collected the resources that can help you start up your own home repairs ministry at your church. You’ll find articles and forms that will take you through all phases of starting and running a ministry, a blog with posts from the front-lines of the ministry, a forum to ask and answer your tough questions (coming soon) and a list of churches by area to help you partner with other like-minded Christians. Sign up today and get your short term mission or youth trip ready for the summer!

Read Part One of Creating Your Own Short-Term Mission Trip

Who Should We Serve - Part 1

Who we serve in our servics ministry (ours is home repair, but this could apply to other service ministries, as well) is a big decision with a lot of potential implications, some good and some not so good. There is no hard and fast rule on how to choose, but you can use several methods to help guide you. Ideally, these should be discussed as you are starting a ministry. These methods are not all limited to a home repairs ministry, so you can see if they are appropriate for your mercy ministry.

A. Method 1 - Having Clearly Defined Criteria or Guidelines

A list of rules can be used as a template to identify the threshold of “the truly needy.” Some of these that are fairly common but when compiled form a rather rigid framework, which may be a positive or a negative depending on how you view it. For instance:

  • Must be 60 years old or over
  • Owner/occupant of the home in question
  • Income level below _________/per resident
  • No able bodied family in the area to help out, or family must participate . . .
  • No available non-essential assets that are available for liquidation to at least purchase materials, if not hire contractors.
  • The help request is necessary for the maintenance or safety of the house
  • The owner is not a member of a church with a home repairs team
  • A situation where volunteers will feel that their time is not being used well

B. Method 2 - Using Your Gut

Under this heading, the list in “Clearly Defined Criteria”, along with others that you might create, are applied generally, but can be overridden by certain members of the team, a staff member, or a leader who has the authority to do so, acknowledging the leading of the Lord in the situation and extenuating circumstances.

Part 2 of this blog will show you a trickier method for choosing who you will serve.

Where Do You Find Projects

There are lots of avenues leading to service for handy tool people. Here are a few:

  • People recently disabled need their homes retrofitted for wheel chairs and accessibility – widened doorways, ramps, removal of barriers, trip hazards, etc. People who are sick, elderly or otherwise unable to make needed changes.
  • Is there a widow in your neighborhood whose yard has gotten away from her? Major yard cleanups are great to get the young people out with the adults.
  • We generally say “for homeowners” but this is not an absolute. Repairing properties for landlords has proven to be a bad practice, but how about damage to a rental home by foster children that the foster parent is responsible to cover? How about foster parents in general, especially those taking in teens!
  • Single mothers struggling to make ends meet often cannot hire a handyman to make repairs, but we happen to know someone . . . How about those heroic people coming back from the middle east with war injuries?
  • The food pantry ministry may need some new permanent shelving but gave the cash reserves to hungry families fighting unemployment. How about your buddies with tool skills? Nearly anyone can build shelves.
  • Always popular are grab bars in bathrooms.
  • Don’t forget to pray with the people you help or even those with projects outside of your abilities. Follow up to show that you care as Christ cares for you.
  • James 1:27 & 28 points us to a properly lived faith life – helping those that cannot help themselves – start with widows and orphans and go from there.

Coming soon – how do we fund material purchases?

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