Pastor Javier Mondragon and his family moved to the southeast side of Fort Wayne in 2008 and started what is now Many Nations Church, which is a bilingual, multicultural congregation. The congregation's heart was to reach the surrounding community by addressing needs and sharing faith.
Pastor Javier and his small church began the work in their community by surveying the area. They listened to the community and identified that crime was of top concern to those living in the neighborhood. After talking to the local elementary school, church members began their first outreach by tutoring students to improve reading skills. Before they knew it, they found more and more ways to serve the community in which they lived in and worked.
Soon the congregation's outreach outgrew their budget. Pastor Javier and his congregation created a separate 501c3 called Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center that could continue the outreach work the congregation had started. Today, Bridge of Grace serves 85-100 children from kindergarten to high school each week, revitalizes homes, builds parks, and hosts life-skills classes for adults. When Pastor Javier was asked why he does the work that he does, he responded, “I believe that everybody deserves an opportunity. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance, and I believe everyone should be able to meet Jesus who can transform their lives.”
Congregations are changing the world with this kind of persistence and innovation. If you're looking for ways your congregation can continue to flourish, the Center for Congregations is here to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and ideas.