What is the difference between a Fuller Center Covenant Partner organization and a Fuller Center Faith Builder Partner?
Fuller Center Covenant Partners are 501(c)(3) incorporated non-profits managed by a local board of directors but affiliated with The Fuller Center’s international housing ministry. Faith Builder Partners are individual churches or congregational committees who are seeking to add housing as part of their missions program and evangelical witness of the Gospel. Faith in Action can take on a variety of forms including housing construction and repairs as well as domestic and international mission service trips.
What does it mean to sign the covenant?
The covenant is useful for identifying the churches that would like to be supportive of the Fuller Center ministry and allows churches to convey how they would like to participate. The word covenant is used throughout the Bible and can be thought of as a "sacred promise or partnership." Likewise, churches can think of themselves as joining in a sacred partnership with the Fuller Center to work together to house "the least of these" as an expression of God’s love. Faith Builders covenanted churches can expect to be kept up to date with the Fuller Center’s ministry and to be included in the mission whenever possible moving forward. How each church will participate in the months or years ahead is up to them. The covenant could be termed non-monogamous, meaning churches are welcome or even encouraged to partner with other organizations impacting the community as well. As the Faith Builders program develops, we hope to increase the types of events specifically including churches across the country and the world.
How does signing the covenant benefit the church?
Congregations joining with us have the opportunity to witness their members bonding while working in service together, being challenged by the need and people they will meet, and feeling their faith being put into action in ways they might never have experienced before. Partnering with the Fuller Center is intended to enable or further churches’ abilities to address housing needs in their community or around the world. By bringing congregations together and adding the expertise and collegial network of the Fuller Center, we can accomplish more than any individual congregation could on their own. Churches can also list on their Web site or in other places that they are a “Fuller Center Faith Builder” and we will provide a reciprocal link on our site to your church Web site.
Do we have to have a local Fuller Center Covenant Partner Program to start doing service projects?
No! This is an exciting new innovation we are promoting. We want all of the 450,000 churches in the United States to prayerfully consider establishing a Greater Blessing repair ministry committee to partner with homeowners in need of repairs who are unable to afford the renovations through conventional funding sources. This church committee will work in partnership with a local Fuller Center Covenant Partner organization, if available, or through the Fuller Center home office.
Will our church have to collect payments and mange mortgages?
Payments are handled by the local Fuller Center Covenant Partner or through our home office in Americus if a local Covenant Partner is not yet established. Funds collected will be earmarked for additional projects in your community for the length of the Faith Builder Covenant Agreement (a two-year renewable commitment).
Can we change the ways we would like to help after we’ve signed?
Of course. Please just contact us to keep us updated.
Does the document impute legal obligations?
It is not intended to create a legally-binding partnership but rather to serve as something like a pledge or expectation form, similar to how many congregations ask their members for their expected giving levels for the coming year. If a stronger and more detailed commitment is desired, for instance for house sponsorship details, we suggest using a formal letter of intent or memorandum of understanding.
Can my synagogue (or other non-Christian faith-based organization) sign on?
Yes. Our position is two-fold: (1) We enthusiastically welcome anyone or any group who would like to contribute to the mission, regardless of personal beliefs. (2) We promise to remain true and open about who we are as a Christ-centered organization. If you are willing to work with us, we are glad to have you!
Why should we take on this challenge when our church is having trouble keeping up with its own budget?
No matter how bad the recession gets or how bad the economy is in your community, it is important to remember that God cannot go bankrupt. Psalm 24 reads, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Millard liked to say, “Well that about covers it. God has given us enough resources to house everyone. God’s money is just in the pockets of other people. And it is our job to graciously extract it from them!” Faith Builders respond to a need, share the story of the need, and then find ways to raise new money for a project. Fundraising comes from all sorts of fun and creative activities from soliciting new donations or hosting fish fries and car washes. It may be a daunting task to fund a whole house, but by partnering with other congregations the idea becomes more realistic. Even a very small congregation can commit to building a wheel chair ramp and providing grab bars for a shut-in.
Since there are already housing programs in our community, is The Fuller Center simply creating a duplication of services?
If the existing programs in your community are meeting all of the needs, then there is no need to have a Fuller Center program. However, if there are unmet needs, then it makes sense to find new ways and generate new interest in the community to work towards the elimination of substandard housing. The goal of the Fuller Center is to put on the hearts and minds of compassionate people the issue of housing and then encourage them to take action. We do not believe in competition for funds from a “limited pie” resource perspective. Operating from the perspective of God’s abundance, we find that Fuller Center activity increases interest and commitment to other housing ministries. Often collaborations can be created with like-minded organizations dividing up the challenges of new construction and repairs. Another synergy strategy might be to take on an underserved neighborhood that is beyond the current mission capacity of an existing organization.
What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?
We’ll be happy to answer it. Call the office directly at (229) 924-2900 or e-mail Kirk Lyman-Barner at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ryan Iafigliola at email@example.com.