What is Prosper the City?
Prosper the City is a four-week community service intensive first implemented by All Nations Church four years ago. Participants are divided into small teams and led through a process to identify, develop, and carry out a unique service project within a four-week period. In 2019, after hearing about the impact of Prosper the City on both the community AND those serving, Pathfinder Church joined forces with All Nations Church to put together Prosper the City 2020, which took place September 27th-October 24th. This year, despite the limitations of COVID-19, there were more than 700 participants divided into 62 different project teams!
The reason behind Prosper the City is simple: “God encourages his people to be a blessing to those around them. He even goes so far as to demand that we are to prosper the city that we live in! This is our chance to be the Church! Even with everything that’s going on in our world, we will NOT stop being the Church, and Prosper the City is a powerful way to make an impact for the Kingdom!”
What does the Prosper the City group process look like?
Prosper the City teams of 8-12 people gather (online or in-person) once a week over the course of the program. Each session begins with a detailed video and session guide for that week’s tasks.
Week 1: Asset-mapping & Project Possibilities
Each team explores their group’s key assets – networks, abilities, passions – and groups them by similar categories. With everything on the table, they identify what community needs align with their assets and brainstorm potential service projects.
Week 2: Choose & Plan Service Project
Team members vote on the project ideas from week one, selecting which one they will execute in week 4. The remainder of the session is spent planning the basics – who, what, where, when, how- of the service project. Roles are assigned to group members and homework/to-dos for the next week are established.
Week 3: Finalize Project Details and Roles
Teams finalize project plans and re-work any details. Team members share progress on their responsibilities, brainstorm solutions for “worst case scenarios,” and confirm the project schedule.
Week 4: Execute Project
Teams complete their service projects this week (having had just enough time to plan, yet not enough time to overthink it).
62 different projects were completed! What are some of the ways Prosper the City teams served their communities?
Field Day After School Program
This group organized a 4-hour field day in Lafayette Park for students at Lafayette Preparatory Academy. The afternoon included a number of sports and arts/crafts activities. One of the team members, a teacher at the school, said the most moving part was that many of the students involved were kids who usually do not engage and it was awesome to see them join the fun.
Meals for Foster Families
This team partnered with One Heart Family Ministries, a foster care program, to identify foster families to bless with a meal. To further deepen community engagement, they reached out to local businesses for donations. The Corner Butcher in Fenton donated the pork, and Dailie’s Smokehouse in Valley Park donated and discounted the sides. In total, 14 families (or approximately 37 adults and 40 children) were served. To make the gesture even sweeter, the team blessed their One Heart contact (a foster mom who has adopted 6 daughters) with 4 entire meals worth of food for her family, even though she insisted she not be a recipient.
Mental Health Awareness Arts Event
This group of mostly high school students hosted a socially distanced art and music night at Pathfinder to elevate mental health awareness and raise funds to support a suicide prevention hotline. 80 people attended (15 who were new to Pathfinder) and $2,500 was raised.
Supply Drive for Pad It & Nurses for Newborns
This team hosted a virtual supply drive to support two local organizations – Pad It and Nurses for Newborns. To get the word out, they used social media and posted flyers around the neighborhood. Donations included 3000+ diapers, cribs, pack n’ plays, and swings, as well as an abundance of feminine hygiene products. An unexpected, but special, response came from the head of the neighborhood association who dropped off supplies and thanked the team for bringing the neighborhood together for a good cause during a time of such division.
Reflections on the experience and how other churches can learn more if interested in launching Prosper the City:
“We really believe this could be a movement!” The best part about Prosper the City is that it can easily be scaled to any size church or group, and empowers God’s people to serve using their unique talents and passions, instead of trying to fit everyone into the limited ministry opportunities of the congregation. With a short time frame, the model also reinforces the idea that impact does not always require months of planning. In one week, 62 teams were able to complete a variety of projects that reached a variety of people. Not only were so many people impacted, but many participants have been inspired to think about what else might be possible, now having the tools and process to plan and execute future projects. “Prosper the City reminds us that as Christians, we are ALL called and equipped to serve our neighbors and it’s easier to do than we think.”
Anyone interested in learning more about this model can contact David Jameson, Community Engagement Director at Pathfinder Church, or visit ProspertheCity.com.