Pivoting Your Church to Meet Needs

Raleigh Sadler, speaking here to a group of church leaders in Jacksonville, Fla., has begin coaching church leaders online on how best to reach the vulnerable communities around them. Submitted photo

NEW YORK — For the past seven years, Raleigh Sadler’s mission has been to help churches see and help the vulnerable people around them, whether that be the homeless, the jobless or victims of human trafficking.

But one thing has shifted in his ministry in the past few weeks: with the spread of COVID-19, every person and church is suddenly vulnerable, and very aware of it. That changes the way those churches do ministry, said Sadler, executive director of Let My People Go.

“Pastors are scrambling right now, and we want to help them think through what they can do in this season,” he said. “Everyone’s asking the question of how to make church virtual, but they’re also struggling because we know there are people who have practical, physical needs we need to meet.”

Because of that, he’s offering something to any pastor who’s interested — free coaching to help them identify the most vulnerable populations in their area and ways to help them.

“Many pastors don’t have networks who can help them with this kind of thing, and at times like this, they may be struggling just to keep the lights on and make sure everyone in their congregation is OK,” Sadler said. “Looking outside their own church has complexities that they may not have room for on their plate at the moment. We’re equipped to help them expand their plate effectively right where they are.”

Sadler started Let My People Go in 2013 as a movement to fight human trafficking and expanded it into a New York-based nonprofit organization three years later. Along the way, the ministry pivoted — they began trying to prevent human trafficking before it started by protecting the vulnerable populations often targeted by traffickers.

And now they’re pivoting again to help churches minister to the growing number of vulnerable people around them — people who may be facing unemployment for the first time, or domestic violence or food insecurity.

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Source: Baptist Press