Next Steps of
Cooperative Churches and NSSC
Collective Efforts to Change Lives
How Cooperative Churches Support Next Steps South Carolina
Next Steps South Carolina (NSSC) is a Christ-centered, all-volunteer ministry that uses the Next Step Program to inspire and equip congregation members throughout the cities and rural areas of South Carolina to work together to help the poor in their communities to make positive changes in their lives: (a) emotionally by listening to their hopes and fears, (b) physically by linking them to employment aand social resources, and (c) spiritually by sharing with them to Good News of Jesus Christ.
Each NSSC Affiliate will receive support from a variety of sources, but our most important support will come from Cooperative Churches that comprise the Affiliate. In addition to providing representatives to serve on the NSSC Affiliate’s Board of Directors and annual pledges of financial support, Cooperative Churches can participate in a variety of other ways.
Some will host special fundraising events such a walkathons, 10 K runs, and bike races at their parish to help educate young people and adults about issues of homelessness and to raise funds for their NSSC Affiliate.
Some will support events such a the annual Christmas parties for Next Step Program Participants and their families—a wonderful way for parish families to become involved with families of those they seek to serve.
Other Cooperative Churches will adopt community transitional housing or Habitat for Humanity projects that will provide apartments and/or houses for Participants’ families to move into.
Cooperative Churches will also sponsor clothing, food, and toiletries drives to help provide some of the basic necessities for Participants to receive from either the NSSC Affiliate’s Host Cooperative Church location(s) or social service/ministry organizations in the community.
Individuals can also support NSSC Affiliates in many ways. They can participate is all the activities mentioned above, attend annual NSSC fundraising events and, make their own personal financial donations to the NSSC Affiliate’s work in the community. Individuals can also refer their neighbors in need to the Next Step Program.
All the people who work in NSSC are volunteers, predominantly from our Cooperative Churches. The all-volunteer staff fill roles critical to the day-to-day operations of each NSSC Affiliate: as members of the Reception Team, Communication and Outreach Team, Database Management Team, Space and Systems Team, Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team, Lazarus Mentor Team, and Samaritan Mentor Team; and as the Next Steps Program Director. Other volunteers can work on special projects, serve on the NSSC Board of Directors and the Cooperative Church Council.
How Next Steps South Carolina Supports Cooperative Churches
NSSC offers a unique partnership with Christian parishes for local outreach to the homeless and others in need. The Next Step Program is a structured, well-run, and effective means by which Participants learn to help themselves to better lives.
Next Steps will become “their own program” where clergy and laity can confidently refer persons in need to receive compassionate help from NSSC Samaritan Mentors in making positive changes in their lives and knowledgeable help from NSSC Lazarus Mentors in identifying employment and sociaal resources and agencies in their community.
NSSC will become a great source of speakers and information resources for outreach committees and other parish organizations that want to learn more about NSSC and the community needs that we seek to serve. NSSC staff members will be available to speak to youth groups, adult forums, and other parish groups about homelessness, poverty, and related issues; as well as NSSC’s approach to dealing with these issues.
NSSC will provide “urban experiences” for groups of young people who want to combine a service project with an educational experience on weekends or during school holidays. NSSC will provide solid volunteer projects to youth groups, as well as experience-based learning activity in each community surrounding the Host Cooperative Churches that provide space to operate the Next Step Program.
Special Resources for Church Clergy and Staff
NSSC will provide specific information about resources and services available in different parts of South Carolina to homeless persons and others in need. NSSC Samaritan and Lazarus Mentors will have personal contacts at employment and social service/ministry organizations that can be helpful resources for parish clergy and staff.
Churches will be able to refer persons (who approach them for help) to NSSC Mentors for an intake interview to help persons who are in need and genuinely interested in making positive changes in their lives. It can also lead to ongoing participation in the Next Step Program.
Opportunities for Service and Growth
NSSC will provide “hands-on” ministry for individual parishioners who want to volunteer on a regular basis in one of several part-time staff positions, including on the Reception Team, Communication and Outreach Team, Database Management Team, Space and Systems Team, Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team, Lazarus Mentor Team, and Samaritan Mentor Team.
NSSC will provide one-time involvement for individual parishioners to support hands-on ministry through special events such as a food or toiletries drive, a walkathon, a Christmas party, a special project that uses their unique skills and talents, etc.
NSSC will provide group projects for parishioners who want to work together in support of the Next Step Program by furnishing transitional housing/apartments or Habitat for Humanity houses for Next Step Participants, organizing special events, and other work projects.
NSSC will provide leadership opportunities through service on the NSSC Board of Directors, Cooperative Church Council, and special projects.
NSSC will provide opportunities for new outreach ministries in a parish by identifying Participant needs that are not currently being met by employment and social service/ministry organizations in the community, e.g., prayer ministries, writing a resume, learning job interview skills, searching for jobs using the Internet, responsible use of check books and credit/debit cards, etc.
Next Steps of South Carolina is indebted to Samaritan Ministries of Greater Washington (www.samaritanministry.com), Lazarus Ministry of Christ Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA (www.historicchristchurch.org), and The Cooperative Ministry, Columbia, SC (www.coopmin.org) for allowing us to pattern our Next Step Program after their successful ministries.
(Last modified 5/22/2013)