Shared Case-Management System Changes Things
Serving the Forgotten
“Our genuine desire is to serve the people that no one else wants to serve,” shared Octoryia Robinson of Shiloh Restoration Tabernacle (SRT). “SRT’s mission is to Empower And Restore and our outreach motto is Help And Hope. We know that helping others leads to hope in Jesus Christ and we are passionate about restoring lives through the Gospel.”
As you can likely tell by Octoryia’s passion, Shiloh Restoration Tabernacle is having an impact. This six-year old church in Brandon Florida (just to the East of Tampa) is passionate about helping those in need. Some recent number crunching found that the average church in America has a weekly attendance of 186.* SRT hits that mark with 150 or so attending weekly. A small staff team supports these efforts (two full time pastors, and the equivalent of 2 other full time staffers—one of whom is a full time volunteer).
Serious Community Outreach
Despite what some might consider a small paid team and a small congregation, Shiloh is outward focused. They are committed to not just provide emergency assistance and Holiday help, but to truly discipling individuals to a place of self-sufficiency.
- By offering regular educational workshops to small groups (made up of both Shiloh and community members) in the areas of health and wellness, financial literacy, job readiness and housing, Shiloh is constantly sharing the love of Christ in practical ways.
- By creating and hosting targeted outreach events multiple times throughout the year (such as back to school supplies and Rock the Park that draw between 250-1,000 people each) Shiloh is constantly meeting new neighbors—some of whom have needs.
- By providing intensive discipleship, accountability and coaching for individuals serious about life-change, Shiloh is able to lead families toward self-sufficiency.
What some might dismiss as a church with “average attendance” cannot be overlooked–because of their city-wide impact.
“Meet The Need Has Energized Our Church”
Senior Pastor, O’Neil Salmon encourages all pastors to remember that “whether leading a church as ours of 150 members, mobilizing the charge is made effective by modeling that which is preached. Momentum is always initiated when positive and negative energy meet. Thus, creating a positive outlook on evangelism or outreach is vital in a world that’s filled with negative messages, influences and dogmas. The positive message must be encouraging, motivating and memorable, in order to create the push someone may need or be seeking. Thus, activation is then achieved and momentum now begins.”
Two years ago, Shiloh Restoration Tabernacle got connected with Meet The Need. “Meet The Need has energized our church to connect with the community even more—and on a consistent basis. There is a new energy within our ministry. We can easily keep people informed and motivated,” shared Octoryia.
“Beyond getting our members better connected, Meet The Need has allowed us to be good stewards of who God has entrusted us to serve. We are aware of what other ministries in our city are doing. We are able to stretch our resources. We have seen our resources go further. For us that means a lot – sometimes your ‘good’ can be ‘no good’ if you are not reaching the people who really need to be served.”
“We loved our Excel spreadsheets, but Meet The Need is so much better. It makes follow up so much easier. We can schedule families for future visits and appointments, we can report quickly. Actually, we have a much better understanding of who we are serving than we ever did before. This has really helped us be more focused in our outreach. Meet The Need saves so much time—and is so easy for our core volunteer team to use. We have a small staff team, and using volunteers for our events and classes is so important.”
When asked what Meet The Need feature Shiloh has found most helpful in their outreach efforts, Octoryia immediately answered, “We search the database for families all of the time. That is our first step before we schedule a family to receive help of any kind. We want to offer whatever help is best for them. And, if another ministry has already met a need or if there is a need posted, we’ll try to do something else.”
Meet The Need allows churches and ministries to instantly communicate with each other. The Our Local Families database has revolutionized the Brandon, Florida community. Churches and ministries are working collaboratively to care for families according to the family’s overall need and the church/ministry’s specialty. For example, when a compassion ministry registers the Smith family to receive a Holiday food box, a local church (who is also interested in helping the Smiths) can see they are receiving food and opt to help with toys instead.
Shared Case Management System Unites Cities
Octoryia and I talked about what the Our Local Families and shared case management system means for her community. Several cities throughout the U.S. have seen tremendous gains as churches and ministries have begun to fully utilize the Our Local Families platform. It’s really about informing and uniting the body of Christ in service to the most vulnerable.
As we were chatting, she shared
“I love the name Our Families. Every time I click on that link I think these ARE Our Families. We are caring for them as a community. It’s about all of us working together to care for them. They don’t belong to just one of us.”