The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida
Connect with local low-income communities.
ONE BIG IDEA
Adopt a neighborhood to build relationships and meet physical and spiritual needs.
On the third Saturday of each month, volunteers from The Springs Church in Jacksonville, Florida, go to an apartment complex in their community to offer bags of groceries, fun and companionship—and most of all, the love of Jesus
For a period of six months to one year, The Springs “adopts” a neighborhood.
Once a month volunteers give bags of groceries to needy families in the area through the church’s More Than a Meal ministry. Concurrently, the church may put on a block party, offer practical help and host a “Sidewalk Sunday School” for area children.
“We hand out flyers telling the neighborhood kids to meet us in a nearby park or open field,” says Outreach Pastor Tim Veldhuizen. We play games together, make crafts, host a cookout and share the gospel.
He explains that the church chose to deliver food on the third Saturday of the month, because by then, many people’s food stamps have run out.
“The goal is to meet physical needs and build relationships with people who are unable to attend church,” Veldhuizen says. “We want to reach out and remind them that God loves them.”
In addition, on Tuesday nights, Veldhuizen runs a youth group in the adopted neighborhood where they play basketball and talk about spiritual matters,
Although The Springs doesn’t keep records on how many families have joined the church as a result of their Adopt a Neighborhood ministries, Associate Pastor Mat Pace says, “At least 15 families have connected with our church after we’ve adopted their neighborhood, and more than 100 families have attended services.”
“We want our church’s outreach to be a bridge for people to get from wherever they are in their lives to a relationship with God,” says Veldhuizen. “We just want to point them to him.”