Ministry: The Heart of Christianity
Part of our understanding of the Gospel is that God has a plan for each of our lives and it very likely includes ministering to others. For this reason, ministry is both personal and corporate; something we do as well as something we support.
Many local, regional and national ministries have very strong ties to Berkey Avenue: ADNET, IHN, Habitat for Humanity, LaCasa, Mennonite.net to name a few. Also, many BAMF members work at church-related agencies or organizations: Bethany Christian, Goshen College, Indiana-Michigan Conference, MMA, Mennonite Mission Network.
Finally, ministry finds expression in the lives of each member through their work, through praying for others, through hospitality, volunteering at local ministries, giving of time, talents and money. It is our desire that each person’s gifts for ministry be identified and nurtured, and that God would be glorified in all that we say and do.
GIHN came into being with the assistance of the National Interfaith Hospitality Network. Today, like all local networks, it exists as a freestanding ministry dependent on the financial gifts of individuals, churches and businesses for its operational funds. Since receiving our first guests into shelter care in October 1995 we have been a vital part of the services for the homeless in Goshen and Elkhart County. Each year we provide shelter for 35 to 45 homeless families. In any given year 80% or more of our guest families report being from Elkhart County.
We believe that the range and depth of the problems experienced by homeless families are such that spiritual healing is a necessary part of the recovery process. While there are many necessary community and government programs to help prop people up, it is only through Christ’s love that these families can be braced up. Goshen Interfaith Hospitality Network is not an institution so much as a ministry of networking and cooperation that brings together individuals in need of receiving with individuals in need of giving.
Besides the many volunteers providing physical support, GIHN also seeks volunteers who can provide technical support, prayers partners, and financial supporters. If you are not already involved in some way with the GIHN ministry we would encourage your church to consider the possibility of becoming a host congregation. Or call us directly to explore ways you could offer your support as an individual.
LaCasa of Goshen was organized by area churches and incorporated in February 1970 to provide housing and other human services for the benefit of Goshen’s low- to moderate-income households. Born out of concern for the living conditions of migrant farm-workers, LaCasa has grown into a full-service community housing development corporation with a staff of 30.
LaCasa believes that every family deserves the chance to build a better life. Our staff helps people access the resources they need to move from crisis to stability. We multiply the resources of a caring community to create safe, attractive, and economically stable neighborhoods. LaCasa’s programs are open to all people regardless of race, nationality, or ethnic origin.
ADNet is a national membership organization of families, friends, and persons living with mental illness and/or other disabilities related to Anabaptist church groups. ADNet began in late 2002 to carry on the previous national inter-Mennonite advocacy work in disabilities and mental illness.
A group of four persons began meeting in Goshen, Indiana, believing that a national Anabaptist center for resources and support of families and persons living with mental illness and other disabilities was important. After gathering a “Reference Council” together, the conviction grew that the organization should be driven by the needs of individuals and families and develop appropriate connections with congregations, conferences, denominational structures, church-based service providers, and local and regional support groups.
Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States. While the main focus is on clean up, repair and rebuilding homes, this service touches lives and nurtures hope, faith and wholeness.
MDS began at a picnic in Hesston, Kansas in 1950. As Sunday school members gathered to share ideas and food, they expressed a common desire to “seek opportunities to be engaged in peaceful, helpful activity…just where we find ourselves.” In 1950, following significant response efforts to tornadoes in Oklahoma and flooding in Manitoba, Mennonites began to further organize their practice of mutual aid. Two Sunday school class groups from the Pennsylvania Mennonite Church and the Hesston Mennonite Church formed a joint committee in Kansas and Mennonite Service Organization was born.
Michiana MEDA’s vision is that all people may experience Christ’s love and utilize their abilities to earn a livelihood, provide for their families, and enrich their communities. Michiana MEDA is connecting faith and work by deepening connections with each other, the local and international communities, and faith. As an association of Christians in business and the professions, committed to applying biblical teachings in the marketplace, Michiana MEDA members share their faith, abilities, and resources to address human needs through economic development.
Mennonite.net was founded in 1998 with a vision for helping Mennonite churches and organizations develop an effective web presence. Although technology is rapidly changing, their mission is still the same–to help you use today’s technology for your mission! Today, Mennonite.net provides hundreds of congregations and organizations, among Mennonites and many others, with basic and managed web hosting solutions, content management, e-mail management, and strategic planning for using technology to serve the mission of their churches and organizations. Mennonite.net turned responsibilities over to Flint Hills Design in 2021 to provide improved design capabilities to their clients.