By Bridgette Britton
In a recent survey, Gallup found the majority of Americans are unsatisfied at work. The Barna Group has stated self-described Christians feel that their faith is not producing the lives they want.
"Most people go through the Christian walk without knowing where they're going," Eric Budin, founder of Life On A Mission, a new ministry out of Getzville, NY explained after citing the surveys.
Through Eric's work with different not-for-profits including Jericho Road and AmeriCorps, Budin came to the conclusion that many ministries needed help. While ministries could attract volunteers to their cause, maintaining those relationships proved to be difficult. On the other hand, churches who wanted active outreaches, seemed to struggle. Budin defines the two main problems for churches: few pastors have project management skills to manage service projects, or contacts they need to reach people.
To answer these problems, Budin established A Life on Mission in July 2013. Now, he "sits around coffee shops and talks with people," to connect churches with ministries, act as a liaison between them, and be a project manager for the service projects.
He found that the churches who have a strong service base - those that go out into the communities - are those that are growing such as the one he attends, The Well in Amherst, NY. One aspect of encouraging people to serve, is introducing individuals to places where they can serve. One such project worked with a local church to introduce small groups of women to a variety of local ministries. "Four of these women," Budin said, "ended up meeting on the trip, and started to work with a prisoner re-entry group."
Because of his connections to local ministries, Eric is able to connect them to churches. Sometimes he works with pastors who want to be involved with outreach, or groups and individuals who want to use their skills for God. Some of the pastors come to him, but he also has a presentation that he offers churches. When working with churches and individuals, he likes to narrow down the interests, ask them twenty questions then offer a number of organizations that suit their desires.
He gave an example of local church who wanted to know the process for refugees entering Western New York. He led a group through the steps beginning with the initial entry point all the through to where the refugees were somewhat established.
"We no longer need to circle the wagons," Budin said, describing how many churches react to the seeming onslaught against the faith. "We need to speak in the language that people hear and understand."
One of the larger issues facing Buffalo's growth, at least among churches, is the territorialism between the three main sections: East Side, West Side and Everywhere Else. If the churches, cultures and ministries could unite, more growth could happen. The churches who are growing realize they need to engage in a believer's journey, and one way is to connect people to service opportunities in the community. This begins a virtuous system of growth both for the believer, the benefiting organization and ultimately the church as 2 Peter 1:8 states, "For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."