How can my church serve our local community?

The next funding round of Baptist Care SA’s Collaborative Community Projects is currently open, with applications due July 12, 2021.

Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace. 1 Peter 4:10

Throughout his life, Jesus was committed to overcoming injustice and empowering people experiencing disadvantage, including; people with disabilities, those who were poor or sick, and women.

As Christians, we are to live our lives following his example.

This is the premise for the Collaborative Community Projects (CCP) initiative, which combines the passion, resources and expertise of Baptist Care SA and Baptist Churches across South Australia, to run unique projects that address inequality and strengthen communities.

For over 100 years, Baptist Care SA has been championing local issues and working alongside the State’s most disadvantaged people. Today, over 1000 staff are working in out of home care, disability care, youth education and employment, homelessness and therapeutic services.

Our churches are living, breathing entities, comprised of people of all walks of life, skills, talents and passions; uniquely placed to serve and empower communities.

The CCP is an exciting venture that sees the fusion of this knowledge and these skills. Through CCP, churches with a ‘passion project’ are able to access support from Baptist Care SA; including resources and expertise around working with, and empowering vulnerable people. Projects have included community cooking and English as a second language classes, driving lessons for homeless youth, and mentoring and outdoor arts programs.

Soul Food Community Meals Program participants, Scarlet and Aiden, are cooking up healthy meals for people in need, with their mentor, Liz

For the Soul Food Christian Community, the CCP provided the perfect opportunity to run a community meals program from the kitchen of their established Soul Food Community Café.

People experiencing disadvantage cook and prepare meals twice a week with the help of a volunteer mentor. Meals are distributed to people in need in the local community.

“Our cooks are not always very engaged with the wider community, so this is a great way for them to connect, and build confidence and life skills such as cooking, communication and teamwork,” says Project Coordinator, Skye Rogers.

An extra benefit for participants is that the project provides them with vital work experience and references, and includes completion of an online food handling and safety course, to help in their job seeking efforts.

Blackwood Hills Baptist Church was originally funded through the CCP to provide a mentoring and friendship program to young people experiencing homelessness. It was through this project that the Church first became aware of the struggles these young people faced in gaining their provisional driver’s license.

“You need 75 supervised hours of driving – and they just didn’t have an adult in their life that could do this for them. It was virtually impossible to get their licenses,” explains project coordinator, Dan Newton.

“We just saw this great opportunity for the church to help in a practical way to make this happen. So we applied for CCP funding to purchase a vehicle.”

The Hours program is supported by a team of volunteers, including supervisor drivers and mechanics who maintain the vehicle.

Two participants have already completed their supervised hours, including one young parent.

“It’s just been so beneficial for them. There are just so many great outcomes from getting their P’s – it boosts self-confidence, independence and employability,” adds Dan.

The Church is already working towards a plan to ensure the project will be able to continue beyond the scope of the original grant.

The next funding round of Baptist Care SA’s Collaborative Community Projects is currently open, with applications due July 12, 2021.

For further details, visit or contact Project Officer Rachael Foster on

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the Soul Food Community Meals Program, please contact To learn more about the Hours Program, contact (08) 8370 0333.

Author: Rise Magazine

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