This article introduces the concept of being a Connecting Church in the CarePortal network and answers the most pressing questions a potential Connecting Church Leader might have, including what activity level is expected, how far away from their church they would need to serve, and why a CarePortal Card is needed.
Included in This Article
- Why & How it Works
- What Activity Level is Expected? (includes podcast episode)
- How Far Do Connecting Church Cover?
- Why a CarePortal Card?
- Become a Connecting Church
Why & How it Works
Nearly 70 percent of needs entered by Agencies into CarePortal are met by Churches. That’s great! But what about the other 30 percent? Those are real kids. Real families. We want to always push toward 100 percent as if a child’s life depends upon it. So what would that take?
A community consists of individuals, businesses, and other groups who are often willing to help resource the meeting of needs, especially if they know the needs have been vetted by child-serving professionals. Each of these partners is given the chance to say “yes” to resourcing a need, but to remain consistent with our priority of having the Church at the point of care in serving families, a church that is ready and equipped to partner with these Community Responders must be identified. We call these churches Connecting Churches, and with them, the CarePortal platform can allow anyone from anywhere offer the resources a family needs, whether it's funding given directly through the platform or providing the items they already have.
When a Community Responder says “Yes” to resourcing a need, the CarePortal platform automatically alerts Connecting Churches near the family, giving them a chance to commit to the resources offered and connect with that partner. The Connecting Church is given the chance to steward these community resources to take the relational lead in meeting the needs of the family in partnership with the requesting agency worker who submitted the request.
When the Community Responder offers a tangible item to help meet the request, such as a bed, the Connecting Church can arrange for the pick-up and use it to go meet and make a connection with the family. If the community partner offers the funding needed to cover a request, maybe to pay a bill or buy an item that is needed, the same connections are made, and the money is given through the CarePortal platform and released to a reloadable CarePortal Debit Card issued to the Connecting Church.
In communities located in areas of concentrated poverty, or who may be experiencing other forms of crisis, we know that the Local Churches nearby are already at work. Becoming a Connecting Church with CarePortal allows those Local Churches to continue their efforts to serve those around them, with the CarePortal Card becoming a valuable way for the surrounding areas to directly support the work of the Church.
Why do it this way? CarePortal is 100 percent committed to helping the Local Church be at the point of care for vulnerable children and families. That’s our Assignment. As a Connecting Church, you have the amazing opportunity to make meaningful connections with Community Responders who want to help, and with the children and families you are serving. Doesn’t get much better than that!
What Activity Level is Expected?
The targeted activity level is 1-2 needs per week, if/as needs are funded or provided by Community Responders or approved Responders on your church's Response Teams. The goal is to have many Connecting Churches serving with excellence with a relational focus in each community.
Want to hear from a current Connecting Church about their experience in this space? Listen to the 30-minute podcast episode below!
The 30-minute podcast episode above is an interview with Terry and Erika Glenn of World Harvest Ministries in Kansas City, Missouri.
The conversation specifically focuses on their own experiences as a Connecting Church and recommendations for other leaders in their first 90 days as a Connecting Church.
How Far Do Connecting Churches Cover?
Each Connecting Church is able to designate in their Church Settings the maximum distance they're willing to travel to serve a family that has a Community Partner offering to help (Connecting Church Radius). This allows the church to be a Connecting Church in a way that aligns with their own ministry's vision and capacity.
Why a CarePortal Card?
Having a reloadable debit card helps money flow as easily as possible, allowing Connecting Churches to focus on relationships. When a Community Responder donates to our CarePortal Fund to cover a particular need they want to help with, the Connecting Church that commits to meeting that need will have the money seamlessly loaded to their CarePortal Card. We handle the donation, processing fees and tax donation letters to keep things simple for both the Connecting Church and anyone who offers to help.
To allow Responders on your own church's Response Teams to give financially through CarePortal to help toward specific requests they select, your church must be a Connecting Church and have an active CarePortal Card. If either is missing, your Responders will not be able to "Fund" items on local requests.
Become a Connecting Church
Login to CarePortal and change the Connecting Church setting to “On”. You’ll be prompted to assign a Connecting Church Leader to lead this ministry effort and be connected to your local network leader to discuss and review some additional training material.
Once you're an approved Connecting Church, your church's Primary Point Person can request CarePortal Cards for each leader with the role of Connecting Church Leader, as needed. The CarePortal team will review your request and after approval, your CarePortal card will be sent in the mail and your point person will begin seeing emails from responders in the community who want to partner with your church to meet needs. Check out this article to see how to become a Connecting Church.