Shining a light: Monroe woman starts City Church Project
Almost a year ago, Jamie Lindsay started the City Church Project.
Its missions are to change lives in all ways – spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, vocationally and financially – and to transform cities. Lindsay believes both can be accomplished if area churches and ministries collaborate and mobilize the body of Christ.
“It’s as if there is a dark cloud hanging over the community. The only thing to chase it away is light. The source of that light is Jesus. God wants to change the world,” Lindsay said in a video about the City Church Project. “There are larger issues: addiction, food, life skills, family counseling, mental health, housing. What if churches pulled their resources, time, money, talents to bring about real change? How bright would our light shine then?”
So far, seven of the 67 churches in Monroe’s 48161 and 48162 ZIP codes have joined the cause.
“We hosted a kickoff event where we shared the urgency for the church to rise up together and serve the community and the vision of City Church Project,” Lindsay, a lifelong area resident, said.
The participants now meet monthly, and they’ve been looking at local community service projects already hosted by organizations like Monroe County Opportunity Program, the Arthur Lesow Community Center and the Salvation Army.
“We held our meetings at various locations so people could experience the places our community members visit and learn about the services they receive,” Lindsay said.
City Church Project’s first collaborative service event was a mobile food pantry, held March 11 at Harwood Plaza.
“Mobile food pantries aren't something novel. Many groups host these on a regular basis, so we were excited to be able to contribute. What is unprecedented is having six churches, one ministry and community agencies all working together to love and serve people in Monroe. We were able to feed around 175 families, provide food for a Hispanic ministry run through St. Mary's Catholic Church and the Salvation Army and make a donation to Fresh Start Coffeehouse so they have strawberries to make their delicious smoothies,” Lindsay said.
Helping with the food pantry were: MCOP, 2|42 Monroe, Christian Crusaders, CrossWalk Monroe, Grace Point UPC, Hope Church, Monroe Vineyard, North Monroe Street Church, United Auto Workers, Exciting Windows by Couture by Karen, JKL Flooring, Habitat for Humanity, The Mitten and Passion of The Mind Healing Center.
Now Lindsay and her six-member board are hoping to add other churches and ministries to the City Church Project. They are asking churches to set aside whatever makes them different and focus on a single cause.
“There has been a long history in Monroe of churches not working well together, and there are various reasons for that. So we needed to create a space where people developed connection with one another,” Lindsay said. “Currently, we have seven churches involved. We would love for all 67 to be involved. We also welcome people who perhaps don’t have an official church position but have a heart for Monroe and want to see it transformed.”
To see what needs to be done in the community, the Monroe City Church Project is currently conducting a landscape survey, which asks churches what they are currently doing for the community, the barriers to outreach they have experienced and what they think still needs to be done.
“Our hope is that through understanding the current state, we can make strategic decisions about what projects to work on first and/or what interventions are needed to help churches continue or start being involved in community impact activities,” Lindsay said. “We have completed eight surveys so far (12%). We are working to connect with every church. If a church would like to be included in the survey or obtain information about City Church Project, they can email me.”
Lindsay’s hopes for City Church Project are to get more churches involved, raise funds and help the community.
“We are building this from the ground up, so we need all the talent, experience and gifts that exist within our community to make a change. This is how the Kingdom of God works, everyone gets to play a part and is significant,” Lindsay said. “The bigger vision is to see City Church Project become a national organization, but God is starting it here in Monroe. We are working to develop a framework for how to partner with God (and each other) to bring his vision of wholeness for his people to fruition. However, we want to do it in a way that is empowering to the members of our community and done in partnership with them and not just for them.”
Lindsay has experience in collaboration through her career and education.
“I developed statewide projects and initiatives to improve quality in the area of oncology. My work in the corporate world helped me to learn how to work within teams, find common denominators between people who may have various needs and goals, and create vision and make cultural change that helped teams move from frustration to thriving. I also currently have a coaching business called Moved By Compassion Academy, where I help pastors develop outreach programs that result in transformation for people and communities. My bachelor’s degree is in public health, so I have an understanding of communities, what causes issues within communities and what needs to be done to improve them," Lindsay said.
The City Church Project meets at 2 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at Fresh Start Coffeehouse,14930 LaPlaisance Road, Number 113.
In addition to Lindsay, there are six members on the board: Ellie Risher, Michael Lay, Lindsey Kinsey, Mike Stowell and McClinton Porter. Lindsay is hoping to add representatives from area government, arts and media/entertainment.
To learn more about City Church Project and to get involved, email Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Net: www.facebook.com/groups/citychurchprojectmonroe
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Monroe woman starts City Church Project