I sat for two hours a few weeks ago listening to the director of the Middletown Main Street project, Lorraine Goodman, share with me her vision for helping revitalize downtown Middletown. As she talked, she shared with me some things that I really thought we as a church could be involved in. But I also knew that we couldnƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢t do it alone. When she finished I began to share a little about part of the vision God was working within our Church. It was so very interesting how in common both visions were. By the end of our conversation, she had committed to publicize our events we held downtown as part of the Middletown Main Street advertising. She even inquired about getting our band to play during some of their events.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with this same lady. This time I was handing her a book that had a great impact on my ministry philosophy. The book was entitled, ƒ¢¢â€š¬…“The Church of Irresistible Influence.ƒ¢¢â€š¬? I saw her a couple of days later at Eƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s on Main St and she told me she was reading the book.

I also sat last week with Fred Munzert, who owns the Premier Centre, where we meet each Sunday. We are talking about putting together a Coffee House called Mƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢TOWN CAFƒÆ’¢â‚¬° that will give students and adults opportunities to express themselves through the artsƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â‚¬music, drama, painting, and video. In all honesty, itƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s simply an opportunity to create a place where people from all walks of life can just come together. But itƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s also a time where we can participate and express Godƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s message through a variety of formats, as well as giving us opportunities to build relationships with people. Thereƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s no cost to us, and we get to be a co-sponsor of the CafƒÆ’‚© along with the Premier Centre, getting our name out with a credible organization.

Hereƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s what I find so very wonderful: opportunities to minister, get our name out, and be involved in the community that we could not do on our own have been afforded to us because of facilities have been opened to us. We have the opportunity to partner with people who can help us provide ministry to the community. Both Lorraine and Fred simply want to get people downtown, and if that means partnering with a church, then thatƒ¢¢â€š¬¢â€ž¢s fine with them.

We had been looking for a place of our own to meet, where we could be able to show family friendly movies for free and do a coffee house from time to time. We couldn’t find anything we could afford. But God opened the doors for us to do that by putting people in our paths who would partner with us.

As you look for ways to connect with your communities, instead of trying to do it all your own, see if you can connect with people in the business community who will partner with you. It may just be beneficial for both of you.

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