Transforming Lives through Jesus Christ,

One Conversation at aTime

The Next Step Program

Our basic approach to providing assistance is called the Next Step Program, a self-help program that promotes change, dignity, and self-reliance in people who are in need.

This involves Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) Mentors meeting with Next Step Program Participants (“Participants”) to set personal goals, and then breaking them down so that they can pursue them one step at a time. Participant goals often involve employment, housing, family life, and medical or addiction issues.

Most of our Participants will have incomes below the poverty line and approximately 40 percent will be homeless or at significant risk of becoming homeless.We work with anyone who wants to make positive changes in his or her life. And we work with people as long as they need help and want to participate in the Next Step Program. We help them set and take Next Steps toward their goals, providing encouragement, needed information and referrals, and other resources that will help them to reach their goals.

Our experience is that this approach supports opportunities for success and is a way of overcoming barriers to the achievement of personal goals. Many Participants don’t feel like they have a track record of success when they come to the Next Step Program. We try to help them identify their strengths and build on them, one conversation at a time and one step at a time.

Employment and Social Services

NSSC helps Participants obtain employment and social services. These include referrals for employment, skills training, resume writing, housing, obtaining government-issued identification papers, mental health and counseling, HIV/AIDS retreats and group support, substance abuse and treatment, grief support, health service and information, and much more.

Other Resources for Next Steps Participants

As needed to support Participants’ progress in the Next Step Program, NSSC provides (or helps Participants obtain) such things as a valid photo ID, interview clothes, hygiene and food products, transportation assistance, and a place to use the phone, the Internet, and receive phone messages and mail. We also maintain working relationships with a wide range of employment and social service agencies to which we refer Participants for other appropriate assistance in taking their Next Steps.

Donate to Next Steps of South Carolina

Your financial support helps to sustain and grow our ministry throughout South Carolina to help the homeless and others in need and is tax deductible.There are two ways to contribute:

  • Checks—Please make payable to “The Diocese of South Carolina” and note on the memo line: “Social Ministries Next Step Program” and mail to The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, PO Box 20127, Charleston, SC 29413
  • Online—You can give a secure gift online by clicking the “Lend a Hand” button on the top of the homepage and then clicking on the words “Please donate online here.”This will bring you to the Diocese of South Carolina electronic payment page for Social Ministries where you may log-in, create your own password, and donate to one or several Social Ministries programs, including the “Next Step Program.”

How You Can be Involved

Cultivating concern for others and extending help to them is at the core of our mission.The time and expertise Volunteers give to Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) is generous and unconditional. Without our Volunteers, NSSC would not exist. NSSC organizes the voluntary energy of South Carolina’s churches to achieve together what we can not achieve separately.

In the story about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus asks “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”[The lawyer] said, “The one who showed him mercy.”Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

When NSSC mobilizes church Volunteers—who are the Body of Christ—we are doing what Jesus calls us to do. Love God entirely and love every one who crosses your path just as you love yourself.

This is what you should think if you wish to see God: “God is love.” What face has love? What form has it? What height? What feet? What hands? No one can say.Yet it has feet, for they lead to the church; it has hands, for they care for the poor; it has eyes, for through them the needy one is known.—Augustine

If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Deacon Ed Dyckman, Chair, Department of Social Ministries, Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina at 843-367-5647 or

Here are just a few of the volunteer opportunities with NSSC:

  • Reception
  • Space and Systems
  • Volunteer Recruitment & Development
  • Samaritan Mentor
  • Next Step Program Board of Directors
  • Database Management
  • Communication & Outreach
  • Lazarus Mentor
  • Next Step Program Director
  • Cooperative Church Council

Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC)


Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) is offered by the Department of Social Ministries of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina to help churches within the 46 counties of South Carolina to do more together than they could separately and to go beyond the provision of emergency assistance to the homeless and others in need.

To do this, we use the Next Step Program developed by Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (SMGW) ( Via an agreement between SMGW, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina, and Community Information Technology Innovators, Washington, DC (, NSSC uses the password-controlled Next Steps Database at as an Internet-based tool to manage the Next Step Program.The NSSC Resource Library for operating the Next Step Program in South Carolina is located at

NSSC also adopted components of the Lazarus Ministry of Christ Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA ( and The Cooperative Ministry, Columbia, SC ( in developing the NSSC approach.

The NSSC Next Step Program, Next Step Database, and Next Step Resource Library are available at no cost to all churches throughout the 46 counties of South Carolina.


Transforming lives through Jesus Christ, one conversation at a time. 


NSSC is a Christ-centered, all-Volunteer organization that uses the Next Step Program to inspire and equip congregation members in the cities and rural areas of South Carolina to work together to help the poor in their communities make positive changes in their lives: (a) emotionally by listening to their hopes and fears, (b) physically by linking them to employment and socail resources, and (c) spiritually by sharing with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.

NSSC offers tools and training at no cost to Christian congregations throughout South Carolina to create a Next Step Program Affiliate in their community.  Through the Next Step Program, church volunteers’ lives reflect Jesus’ Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

 The Next Step Program improves the lives of everybody involved—both Program Volunteers and Program Participants—by:

·Promoting awareness of community needs,

·Fostering cooperation at all levels,

·Breaking down barriers imposed by poverty, and

·Developing Participants’ abilities to help themselves to better lives.

Cooperative Churches

Cooperative Churches “own” NSSC. Cooperative Churches and NSSC work together for a common cause to make the NSSC Vision a reality in their community. NSSC itself is an association of NSSC Affiliates that are located in communities throughout the cities and rural areas of South Carolina. Each NSSC Affiliate consists of Cooperative Churches in those communities that provide the core support for the NSSC Next Step Program by sharing their congregations’ time, talent, and treasure.

Each NSSC Affiliate has a Next Step Program Board of Directors that is made up of Cooperative Church members and a Cooperative Church Council that is made up of representatives of each of the Cooperative Churches in the community.

Training Program

A Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) Trainer is available to:

  • Travel among churches in communities throughout South Carolina to inform their clergy and laity about the availability of the free NSSC Training Program and how to become Cooperative Churches.
  • Work with Cooperative Churches to invite their parishioners to attend Next Step Workshops where they will learn how to organize an NSSC Affiliate to operate and sustain a Next Step Program in their community.

The NSSC Training Program also uses the book What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty (“The Church Book”) by the Rev. Bill Ehlig and Dr. Ruby Payne and published by Aha! Process, Inc. ( as a study tool to help Cooperative Church Volunteers, engaged in the Next Step Program, invite the poor into their congregations.

How to Find Us

The Rev. Ed Dyckman, Deacon
Chair, Department of Social Ministries
Diocese of South Carolina
PO Box 20127
Charleston, SC 29413
Phone: 843-367-5647
Related Websites:

Last Updated 10/16/2014