What is God doing in the community and how do we help it grow?
Movement West Michigan seeks to take what God is already doing in the community and amplify it - bring more people to the table, more attention, and more energy.
We do this by making connections between businesses, churches, and nonprofits that would not be likely to happen naturally without the work of our network. So we ask, “What is God doing in the community and how do we help it grow?”
Current Community Initiatives
For the past several months, Movement West Michigan has been asking the question, "What if the Church would work together to support single mom-led families?" Through a series of conversations, we connected with Single MOMM, a Traverse City-based organization that is doing extraordinary work building comprehensive wraparound support around single moms and empowering them to healthy independence. Since then, we have begun working with them to pilot a replication here to Holland. Their goal (and ours!) is that it will be truly collaborative, not the work of any one church but the Church of the city wrapping around single moms. We are excited to share that we will be doing a "soft launch" of Single MOMM, beginning with a "Friendsgiving" celebration hosted at Central Wesleyan Church on December 2 from 5-7 pm. While we are limiting attendance at this first event (about 50 moms total), we look forward to (Lord willing) laying a solid foundation for future small groups and event nights to build something truly comprehensive and supportive in our community. Stay tuned for future updates and opportunites to get involved with this new pilot program in Holland/Zeeland!
Previous Community Initiatives
Within the first year of operating, Community Action House’s Food Club & Opportunity Hub quickly identified the need to expand their hours. Their dignified approach to food access invites qualifying low-income residents to contribute at a level based on their income to invest in their family’s health and future. As of October 2022, at least 25 new members are signing up each week for this point-based grocery shopping experience. As a network of Christian leaders who follow the call to do justice and love mercy for all (Micah 6:8), Movement West Michigan is honored to help mobilize the Body of Christ into action to keep the Food Club accessible for low-income neighbors. In partnership with Community Action House, MWM is actively encouraging local faith communities to invest in the Food Club through adopting shifts, offering in-kind donations, or even sharing messaging about the power of collaborative food access. Together, we can ensure everyone in our community is given the gift of choice – both through affordable fresh vegetables and a dignified shopping experience.
Love our Schools 2023
Teachers are on the front lines of supporting the needs of kids and families on a daily basis. How can the Church show our gratitude and appreciation? Movement West Michigan partnered with the Fearless Follower Family of Churches to unite 36 different churches in our community to serve 57 schools with $100,000 worth of goods to bless 3,600 staff members this spring. What started as a simple thank-you card initiative grew exponentially into generous care packages through the support of several community partners. Each school care package included: -A $250 Meijer Gift Card (generously donated by Gentex) -One "Free Coffee" card from Biggby Coffee per staff member of the school -One "Free Car Wash" card from Tommy's/Quality Car Wash per staff member of the school -A proportionate amount of West Coast Cash (approximately $5/staff member, generously given by an anonymous donor and the Fearless Family of Churches) -A box of Tea (generously donated by Nature's Market) -Additional flyers/informational materials After a local church "claimed" a school building or two to bless, we encouraged to add their own personalization to the packages. Some wrote thank-you notes, purchased teacher lounge snacks, or offered volunteers for playground duty or even help with reading in the classroom. We are so grateful to all the church leaders and community partners who stepped up to shower our local teachers & school staff with extra love! Click below for news releases on this collaborative initiative.
Called to carry one another's burdens and love as the Lord has loved us, the Church is repeatedly invited to be good neighbors throughout scripture (Galatians 6:2; John 15:12). Community Teams provide local churches with training and a framework to intentionally live into this call. Through a partnership with Joy Anderson at Doors of Hope and interested congregations, MWM is building an address database of Jesus followers across the Holland/Zeeland area who are ready to serve as needs arise. After a family or individual in need of social support is identified through a church or Doors of Hope, MWM works with Anderson to put them in contact with 4 people from the Body of Christ who have a shared story, neighborhood or prior relationship. Each person on the “community team” is asked to commit to meeting 1-2 practical needs per month for the individual in crisis for at least 6 months. Community Teams are powerful tools for discipleship through genuine friendship across the entire local network of the Body of Christ.
Afghan Refugee Resettlement
From December 2021 to June 2022, at least 72 Afghan Refugees resettled in the Holland/Zeeland area. Movement West Michigan was instrumental in mobilizing collaborative church sponsorships to ensure each family was warmly welcomed. In partnership with Bethany Christian Services Refugee Resettlement Office in Grand Rapids, MWM helped facilitate local bi-monthly Friends of Refugee Check-ins for Afghan refugee co-sponsor volunteers from 17 Holland/Zeeland area churches. Creating this space for networking and support equipped co-sponsors with food, housing, medical care, transportation, and social gathering resources for our new Afghan neighbors. Even as the families moved towards autonomy, several new friendships with local Christians continued to flourish beyond the 6 month sponsorship season.
Pine Creek Elementary School Community Partnership
Movement West Michigan’s connection of local churches, businesses, and non-profits to the needs at Pine Creek Elementary School is one powerful demonstration of our network of Christian leaders in action. MWM partnered with MDHHS Pathway to Potential worker and partnership facilitator Eliza Perez to build community relationships. Using the model and support of Ottawa Community Schools Network, MWM invited representatives from local banks, churches, health care providers, and corporations to meet once a quarter to respond to Pine Creek’s school needs. Serving a student population where ⅔ of families are considered economically disadvantaged, Pine Creek staff quickly identified chronic absenteeism as a pressing concern. Thus, MWM worked with Perez to invite community partners to sponsor an attendance incentive month, support teachers with school supplies, or even volunteer for recess duty or one-on-one student reading support. Community Partnerships are based on the power of listening first. MWM believes when Christian leaders pause to respond to the felt needs of a public school, the entire community is one step closer to true flourishing.