Michigan Church Adopts a Block in the Neighborhood

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Discovery Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Mich., has “adopted” 48 households in its neighborhood by providing for both their physical and spiritual needs.

Adopt-a-Block is a ministry founded by Compassion This Way, a nonprofit organization. For Discovery CRC, it is a way to show Jesus’ love to the neighborhood. As a result, several neighbors have begun to attend services.

“I think it’s a really great program,” said neighbor Alvina Welsh, who has since become a member of Discovery. “There’s a great passion from Discovery for connecting with others regardless if you’re a believer or not.”

“It is a hurting neighborhood financially: many single parents, some residents are unemployed, some are underemployed,” explained Rev. Paul Sausser, pastor at Discovery.

The church organized several events, including a block party for families in its neighborhood. “We want to show Christ’s love, meet needs, build relationships, help them better their community, and allow them to give to others,” said Sausser.

Discovery also organized a “Dogs and Daisies” event during which members and neighbors ate hotdogs and planted flowers.

During the winter, Discovery gave winter clothing to families in need. It also distributed Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to the residents.

“The rationale behind it is to become friends with [our neighbors] and to not only meet their physical need but also their spiritual need,” said Julie DeShetler, outreach deacon at Discovery.

 “For 18 months we have focused effort on ministering to the households there in the love of Jesus—no strings attached,” said Sausser.

Discovery plans to continue with its mission in the neighborhood even after its 18-month “adoption” period ends.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

See comments (2)


Great article! What a testimony for being the "hands and feet" of Jesus!

For those who are interested in being long-term neighbors, Communities First provides an excellent resource. http://communitiesfirstassociation.org

There's also a book you can get through Faith Alive. http://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/800621/communities-first.aspx

I love hearing about churches that are bearing witness their own neighborhoods!