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The Eden Project at Mt Joy UMC

Advanced Financial Academy Project Update

Continuing our series highlighting the ministry projects undertaken by our Advanced Financial Academy students, this week we are looking at Mt Joy UMC in Wilmington, DE, which is served by Rev Provey Powell.  Through the Eden Project, Provey and his team hope to reinvigorate the implementation of the vision and mission of the Mt Joy congregation through the creative use of multiple funding sources.

The video and story below give more details.

Mt. Joy is an urban community-based church and is an integral part of the Southbridge community, one of the lowest resourced communities in the City of Wilmington. The mission of Mt. Joy United Methodist Church is to Worship God, Witness Christ through our love, service and evangelism, and go forth to Win Disciples of Jesus Christ. The vision of Mt. Joy is to serve as a bridge to wholeness in person and community. (Wholeness is caring about each person spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially and through education.)

The Eden Project envisions a new strategy for funding and leading Mt. Joy United Methodist Church and our missional work in the Southbridge community. Drawing on the work of Mark DeYmaz’s The Coming Revolution in Church Economics, we will develop a three-pronged strategy that will expand access to the resources needed to carry out our missional work.

The Spiritual Team (church itself) serves to evangelize, baptize, disciple, and multiply the Christian faith. The church is supported by tithes and offerings and led by the Pastor and volunteer leaders in the congregation. But trends across today’s churches indicate that tithes and offerings alone are not able to sustain all the ministries and services churches need to be providing in the communities they serve, and that is certainly true at Mt. Joy UMC. However, because we have an aging congregation, we do have opportunities for Planned Giving that would create an endowment to help sustain Mt. Joy into the future.

The Social Team (a separate nonprofit 501c3 organizations such as a Community Development Corporation or CDC) exists to advance compassion and justice in the community, and is eligible to receive local, state, federal and philanthropic grants not otherwise available to churches. The project proposed here includes re-applying for 501c3 status for our dormant Jubilee Community Development Corporation (CDC) which will enable us to seek grants to fund revitalization work in Southbridge.

The Financial Team (a separate LLC or business) develops a small business intended to generate sustainable income and return on investment, usually leveraging church assets, including property or facilities. We plan to create an LLC for Youth Media Ministry that will provide youth with an opportunity to learn about technology and video production, and broadcasting skills. Establishing an LLC will provide Youth an opportunity to develop business ventures, learn about business development and entrepreneurial skills, as well as public speaking, active listening, and time management. We will also explore how creating an LLC for-profit business might allow Mt. Joy to pursue a much-needed building expansion knowing that we would be creating income streams (e.g. renting space when not being utilized by the church) to pay for the expansion.

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