Building our Community

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

John 13:34-35 NLT

People will recognize us as true followers of Jesus by our love. Jesus helped, healed, and served people everywhere he went, regardless of whether or not they decided to follow him. This love made an incredible impact, as people could tell he genuinely loved them and wasn’t just trying to get a following for himself. 

We believe that as his followers, we should imitate Jesus and simply care about people everywhere we go. We are grateful to be part of a church that values serving the community around us and Special Contribution helps us do that.

The results have already been incredible, with many of you doing more good in more neighborhoods than we could have as a single organization.

Find your passion and do good

One way we build our community is through the Doing Good Fund, which was started with a goal of inspiring people to find their passion and do good.  As a result people have committed their time, resources and talents do doing good in their neighborhoods.  

The DGF enables us to serve our community in many key ways:

  • Offering one-time grants to established local community service projects who want to expand their impact.
  • Providing benevolent assistance to members of the church who experience sudden financial need.
  • Continuing our ongoing partnerships with inclusive organizations that serve the community like E-Life and the Hope Technology School (HTS).
    • HTS is the Bay Area’s leading technology school providing a top education in an inclusive environment. Typical students and students with special needs can excel, grow and build connections together.
  • Funding for global relief efforts as needs arise worldwide.

An unofficial motto of our Doing Good Fund is “Find Your Passion and Do Good.” An awareness of our own needs, those of our families, and those in the communities around us has produced a variety of community service projects driven and sustained by the passion of our members:

  1. Annual Toy Drive: Our community of parents who have adopted children inspired our annual Toy Drive, which supports adoption/foster/underserved children during the Christmas holiday.

Since it was started in 2009, the Toy Drive has given over 20,000 toys and thousands of dollars in gift cards to children in foster care and underserved communities. It has also led to an ongoing collaboration with many Bay Area organizations (like A Better Way) that specialize in supporting this segment of the population.

  1. Partnerships with the Boys & Girls Clubs: Members of the church in underserved communities inspired our support for the Boys & Girls Clubs. In addition to our annual Toy Drive collaboration, BACC has supported them with summer scholars who volunteer 15-20 hours per week to learn to serve as part of their leadership training. 
  2. Local initiatives: Other groups in the church regularly serve at food banks, tutor students, and supply food baskets to local shelters for the unhoused.

The Doing Good Fund allows us to make an impact in our community that goes far beyond what we could do as a single organization. The variety and diversity of projects started by our members are inspiring and we are grateful to be part of a fellowship that so passionately and creatively finds ways to meet needs.

Bringing good to the neighborhood with Let’s Talk Nights

Another way we decided to better serve our communities this year was by bringing Let’s Talk nights into our neighborhoods. Instead of meeting for midweek services in seven locations around the Bay Area each week, Let’s Talk Nights are now held in over 100 local communities weekly. This allows us to spend more time in our neighborhoods, open our homes to our neighbors, and become more aware of the needs around us. 

No matter where you live, there is a place not too far away from you where you can find hope, faith, and a warm, welcoming spiritual family.

Changing the world, one community at a time

A strong sense of community adds real value to our lives and the world around us. According to the Pew Research Group, a majority of Americans feel their trust in one another is shrinking and that this declining trust makes is difficult to solve the nation’s key problems. However, they also believe that their neighborhoods have the power to turn this around:

“Fully .. 86% think improvement is possible when it comes to the confidence Americans have in each other… Some believe their neighborhoods are a key place where interpersonal trust can be rebuilt if people work together on local projects, in turn radiating trust out to other sectors of the culture.”

Our local communities matter. While we also believe deeply in serving our global community (and we’ll share more about our global efforts in the weeks to come), we know that the difference we can each make by being a bright light in our neighborhoods is substantial. 

Real communities help us feel a part of something real, integrated, tangible. They deepen and refine our sense of place, bring out the best in us, and help us recognize, unquestionably, that we belong.

Community Builders in the Bible

The early disciples in Acts 4 illustrate for us what it means to be devoted to community. They demonstrate the heart of putting aside their private self-interests for the good of meeting others’ needs and building up the whole.

During those days, the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul to such an extent that they stopped claiming private ownership of their possessions. Instead, they held everything in common… 

Not a single person in the community was in need because those who had been affluent sold their houses or lands and brought the proceeds to the emissaries of the Lord. They then distributed the funds to individuals according to their needs.

Acts 4:32, 34-35 (Voice)

This kind of love will not go unnoticed; as we love each other deeply, we help those around us see God:

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

1 John 4:12 NLT

We look forward to continuing to develop the heart of a builder and serving our communities together!

 

Greg Bodzioch 

Special Events Manager & E-Sports Director

 

Stone Eleazer

President of the Board of Directors

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