19 February 2015

Another month has passed with the Salvation Army Congregational Partnership Program and we are checking in on the status of a particular partnership with Messiah Lutheran Church. The Church’s efforts to end homelessness are led by Pastor Tom Bartzsch, Daina Bartzsch and Doris Kayser. They have partnered with a mother and her two children, doubling as a spiritual support and willing resource for the family. 

“This is our first partnership and we have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Melissa a little bit better, to pray for her and her children, and to get her back on her way to a self-sustaining ‘homed’ life with her children so that she may ‘train them up in the way they should go’ and be confident in HER God-given abilities as a mother to raise her children right and give them what they need,” the Pastor explained. 

However, Pastor Bartzsch, Daina, and Doris do not act alone in their journey to end the family’s homelessness. Doris and Daina have served as the lead volunteers alongside Melissa by providing a very reliable and constant form of communication. They are also joined by a team of selfless volunteers and a new deaconess who specializes in mercy ministry, which provides a perfect avenue for her to demonstrate her gifts. The partnership has benefited both parties: a valuable learning experience for the ministry and a new beginning for the family. 

Learning the true meaning of homelessness and the battle against it is one that Messiah Lutheran Church is learning every step of the way. 

“The CPP helped to change our congregation’s understanding of homelessness – yes, it does include those we see on the streets who are alone, but so much more. To gain an understanding of how circumstances can put a family in a homeless “crisis” opened our eyes. It then becomes easier to wrap our arms around the idea of providing the “hand up” rather than the simple “hand out,” said the Pastor when asked what he has learned from the Partnership. 

This is an essential but hidden learning experience that the Congregational Partnership Program hopes all who embark on the journey discover. 

Messiah Lutheran Church has been blessed with an experience from which they can take away not only a sense of great service but also a lasting relationship which can spread the work of God. 

“We look forward to our next partnership, knowing that each one will be a little different, and pray that just as our partner family grows, we will grow as a congregation in faith towards our Savior and in fervent love towards one another, living out that love He first showed us,” explained Pastor Bartzsch. 

We here at the Congregational Partnership Program are thrilled to hear of the great success that this partnership has brought and would like to share Pastor Bartzsch’s words of encouragement with any congregation that may be wondering how they could become a CPP partner:
 “One of the challenges of doing any mercy/charity ministry is seeking to be confident that you are helping people in the right way and being wise stewards of the resources God has given to the members and the congregation. Having the Salvation Army do the screening and providing the guidelines for what is acceptable in terms of help and assistance allows the focus to be on the partnership itself, and provides that needed confidence.”

For more information on how you or your congregation can become involved, visit us at www.sasocialservices.org; or contact Raechel Wrona, at 616-454-5840 ext.3030 /[email protected] 

Tags: CPP