Esperanza recognizes that thriving congregations are those that fulfill the mission to serve as the “hands and feet” of Christ in various ways -- living out their calling through the activities of evangelization, discipleship, worship, prayer, and service. Esperanza will build upon its years of experience delivering capacity building, discipleship, mentoring, prayer, programs to address cultural shifts (such as HIV/AIDs awareness in the church) and re-granting initiatives to develop and implement a successful Thriving Congregations Initiative program. Esperanza will recruit churches willing to make a two-year commitment to a learning and reflective cohort and foster meaningful opportunities for engagement and application. Esperanza’s staff and contracted trainers, each familiar with the needs and experiences of Latino congregations, will walk leadership and congregational members through various stages to articulate and clarify their mission and purpose, and in turn, define how their congregation will choose to respond to a changing society. The program will begin with an assessment process to reflect upon the cultural shifts, neighborhood demographics, needs and relational assets as well as the giftings and callings of leadership and church members. With these missional declarations, congregations will be reinvigorated, enhance their current ministry components and possibly birth ministry programs and outreach that represents the “hands and feet” activities of their articulated mission and will receive funds to bring those components to life. Esperanza anticipates working with approximately 20 churches across two cohorts over the life of the grant period. The proposed project is consistent with Esperanza’s own work to forge an opportunity community in the heart of North Philadelphia – a place where all aspire to live and have spaces in which to engage in spiritual practice and community.
Esperanza Thriving Congregations