Meg Biallas Henry, Director of Communications
Western Michigan Faith-Based Organizations Join Sacred Sector Learning Community
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (February 27, 2019) – Earlier this month, dozens of faith-based organizational and church leaders in Grand Rapids and the Western Michigan region launched a new learning community called Sacred Sector Western Michigan. Sacred Sector is an initiative of the Center for Public Justice, a Christian civic education and public policy organization. The learning community will be run in partnership with the Urban Church Leadership Center located at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.
“We are excited for this partnership with Sacred Sector and are eager to have them come alongside our local ministries,” said Julian Guzman, director of the Urban Church Leadership Center. “Learning is at the center of any community, and we are grateful that Sacred Sector has the same approach towards mutual learning and community engagement.”
Sacred Sector is designed to support, empower and advance the work of faith-based organizations to live out their faith-shaped missions. The program is specifically designed to adapt to the specific needs of faith-based leaders in Hispanic and African American congregations and place-based ministries.
Each organization will complete an assessment to identify key areas of strength and growth and develop an implementation plan specific to their needs to work toward adopting new practices in one specific area. For example, some organizations may choose update their employee and volunteer policies to better reflect their faith-based identities. Through a combination of in-person and online gatherings, written resources and one-on-one coaching, each organization will be equipped to exercise its faith identity and further its mission, thereby strengthening its overall impact.
Several leaders of faith-based organizations shared how they hope to benefit from the curriculum and apply it to their current ministry contexts:
"My church denomination hasn’t equipped me to engage with government or laws. But [what Sacred Sector is teaching us] is so important. We have to engage in these areas to thrive in today's world.”
– Hispanic ministry leader
"This [Sacred Sector] assessment is so necessary. It makes us think about areas, like government partnerships and nondiscrimination laws, that are relevant to growing our ministry."
– Local African American pastor
“We are a church plant, so we have a lot to learn about public policy, organizational best practices and strategic public positioning. But because we are building from the ground up, we can incorporate these resources and practices and do it right."
– Leader of Hispanic church plant
“This is so important for us, for Hispanic churches in particular. We have so much need in our community, and we don't always get to take a step back and learn about the laws that impact us."
– Leader of local faith-based advocacy organization
Following the launch event, participating faith-based organizations will engage in a six-month learning community, which will be carried out through in-person and online gatherings, as well through written resources and one-on-one coaching to build their capacities. These resources will empower participating organizations to apply an integrative framework to live out their faith-based missions in every aspect of their organizational lives. This framework, called the "Three P's," gives organizations the opportunity to consider how their sacred missions impact their public policy engagement, organizational practices and public positioning.
“We desire to see Michigan’s faith-based sector integrate and fully embody their sacred missions in every area of organizational life,” said Sacred Sector Director Chelsea Langston Bombino. “I am excited see how each participating organization, building on what they already know, will be able to advance their sacred missions through this unique community and curriculum.”
Participants in Sacred Sector Community will also have direct access to tools from Standards for Excellence®, a national initiative that promotes ethical practices and accountability in the nonprofit sector. The Center for Public Justice, through Sacred Sector, is a replication partner of the Standards for Excellence® program.
Sacred Sector is made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust. To learn more about Sacred Sector, visit SacredSector.org.
Sacred Sector is an initiative of the Center for Public Justice, and is a learning community for faith-based organizations and emerging leaders within the faith-based nonprofit sector that seek to integrate and fully embody their sacred missions in every area of organizational life.
The Center for Public Justice is an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to policy research and civic education. Working outside the familiar categories of right and left, conservative and liberal, we seek to help citizens and public officeholders respond to God's call to do justice.
Amazing Grace Ministries
Asamblea de Iglesias Pentecostales de Jesucristo “El Alfarero”
Comunidad Cristiana Internacional
Cristo Misionera, Holland
Deliverance Outreach Ministries
Dream Builders International
Iglesia Bautista Reconciliación
Iglesia Belén, Grand Rapids
Iglesia Cristo Misiomera
Iglesia “Fe de Reino”
Iglesia Ministerio Belen “Casa del Pan”
Iglesia Pentecostes Alfa y Omega “Jehová Prové”
Iglesia Pentecostes “Casa de Dios Puerta del Cielo”
Iglesia “Sanando las Naciones”
Lee CRC, Ministerio Hispano
New Life COGIC
One Church Empowerment Center
Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church
Resurrection Life / Pentecostal “Principe de Paz”
Seventh Adventist Church
St. Paul MBC
The New Breed Church