Ministry Leaders Learn to Assess Community Needs

April 20, 2015 | Heidi Baumgartner

Fundraising coach Lilya Wagner told her class of 45 ministry leaders gathered in Federal Way, Wash., that the first five people to raise their hand could present their ministry funding opportunity. The class would then vote for which of the five real-life fundraising scenarios would receive a personal donation from Wagner.

Gayle Lasher, New Life Adventist Ministry pastor, instinctively raised her hand. She would have two minutes to share her funding need. Nervous about the task, she prayed with New Life member and fellow training classmate Charsanaa Johnny.

When her turn arrived, Lasher stepped forward for the role-playing exercise, introduced herself to Wagner like she had been trained and passionately shared how New Life leaders had assessed the needs in their community. They had uncovered a need for a transitional house for women who had been victims of sex trafficking and needed overall funding of $20,000.

Before long, the votes were tallied, and Lasher’s community project was selected. “We signed up for this training to discover how to more effectively minister in Fife,” Lasher says, adding that the first funding gift for a portion of the project provided affirmation of the congregation’s new project.

This fundraising training was a unit in the Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program (NLCP) to train nonprofit ministry leaders in community assessment, strategic planning, organizational leadership, team development, cross-cultural ministry, financial accountability, fundraising, risk management and principles of effective ministry.

The first NLCP session in the Pacific Northwest was held March 23–26 in Federal Way. It attracted participants from Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Massachusetts, England and Myanmar. The second NLCP session in the Pacific Northwest will be held Sept. 14–17 in Federal Way.

The Voice of Leaders

This training shares the benefits the Adventist Church has a nonprofit in meeting the needs of our communities. — Gayle Lasher, New Life Adventist Ministry pastor

I registered for NLCP to gain skills to lead better on our staff at Puyallup Adventist Church. The most valuable presentation for me was about community needs assessment. — April Johnson, Puyallup Church administrative assistant

I wanted to learn about leadership opportunities in the Adventist Church that would benefit and expand services to connect our church and the community. This training increases the knowledge and skills within in the church about how to service God in the community. — Betty Clack, Mount Tahoma Church member

Our music ministry, Orion Chorale of Washington State, is trying to decide how we can go beyond music to provide music education and meet ministry needs. This class and the fundraising portion helps us find and clean more information to further our musical ministry in the secular community. — David Henry and Connie Barrow, Orion Chorale of Washington State

I learned how to minister to others in this updated tech world. The presentations were well-presented by ministries for ministries to advance our servant leadership. Dr. Lilya Wagner’s training on grant proposals, Dr. Gaspar Colon’s training on ministry to the cities and Dr. Erich Baumgartner’s training on cultural study were all so good. — Vera Alexander, Mount Tahoma Adventist Community Services

The Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program expanded my knowledge on developing and managing a nonprofit ministry. God willing, I plan to attend the second session. The leadership and team development training and the urban ministry presentation on understanding the city are helpful to me in developing a comprehensive plan for reaching my city for Christ. — Bob Moore, Shoreline Church pastor

The most important part for me in this certification program is learning the step-by-step process in putting together a nonprofit program. I really must say Lilya Wagner’s presentation on fundraising set the stage for me. Maranatha Church is a “commuter church” (where people drive a distance to the church location vs. living in close proximity to the church), and our members need to be more intentional in our ministry commitment. — Carolyn Brown, Maranatha Church Adventist Community Services

I came to glean ideas on how to set up a children’s ministry program that will help not only the church member’s children but those in the community around the church. The training about ministering in the urban areas and how to reach these people was most valuable for me. I encourage all ministries of the church to participate in future leadership training sessions. — Gloria Henry, Renton children’s ministries

I wanted to see how the church approaches the needs of the community. I found it helpful to connect with others in the same ministry and appreciated the dynamic speakers. — Glenna LaMatry, Bremerton Adventist Community Church member

I signed up for the Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program to grow my leadership tools. The presentation on assessing the community was most valuable to me in my ministry. These training sessions are modern, quality and relevant. — Marc Lien, Monroe Church pastor