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Serve the Server: How Kingdom First Church is Transforming Their Community

At Kingdom First Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the vision to make a positive impact on their community became a reality through the “Serve the Server” project. With the support of a Center for Congregations grant, Prophetess Donna Spearman and Pastor Martha Shipp spearheaded the initiative, leading their congregation in uplifting and supporting the unsung heroes of their community. Kingdom First shares their inspiring journey and the profound impact of their “Serve the Server” project.

“When we received the Center for Congregations grant, we were looking at possible ways to bring the community together,” says Prophetess Donna. “We thought, what better way to use the resources we’ve been given than to help others? As our team began to think and pray about it, the Abbett Elementary School ‘Serve the Server’ project came into fruition.”

When Kingdom First came to Fort Wayne in 2018, Abbett Elementary School was facing significant challenges, including low attendance and poor test scores that threatened its closure. Responding to the situation, Senior Pastor David Spearman and his wife, Prophetess Donna, took proactive steps, meeting with the school board and passionately advocating to keep the school open. Since then, Kingdom First has remained actively involved with Abbett Elementary, engaging in various activities such as reading programs for the children and providing lunches for staff meetings.

“We have such a deep love for Abbett Elementary School,” says Prophetess Donna. “Not only do we love the students, but we genuinely care for the staff, too. They are truly dedicated to the school and devoted to improving the community. That’s why we knew the ‘Serve the Server’ project would be the perfect way to support and uplift them.”

In collaboration with Principal Frank Klein, Kingdom First engaged in discussions to determine the most impactful ways to support the teachers. The week-long “Serve the Server” project encompassed heartfelt gestures such as personalized cards, gift baskets, and complimentary meals to sustain them throughout their busy days. This initiative extended beyond the church community, however; as GiGi’s Playhouse, an organization serving individuals with Down Syndrome, joined forces with Kingdom First to express their gratitude to the school’s teachers and staff.

“This grant project didn’t just stop at Kingdom First,” says Prophetess Donna. “GiGi’s Playhouse provided food from their Genesis Health Bar, and their students actively participated in serving our Abbett Elementary teachers. It was truly a blessing all the way around.”

Beyond this, the church is actively working with Principal Klein and the local Boys and Girls Club to establish an after-school program at Abbett Elementary, catering to over 500 students. The church’s commitment to the community is further exemplified through the development of a Neighborhood Garden, an endeavor that aims to provide fresh produce to children and families in the area. The harvest from this garden will be proudly presented during their annual back-to-school blessing in August of 2023, spreading joy and gratitude throughout the community.

“The next step in our ‘Serve the Server’ project will be to bless our local fire department,” says Pastor Martha. “We plan to engage our children’s ministry to create special cards and gift cards for the 15 firefighters at the station. We hope this act of appreciation will honor the selfless service of our local firefighters who work tirelessly behind the scenes.”

Reflecting on the transformative power of the “Serve the Server” project, Kingdom First expressed their profound gratitude to the Center for Congregations for their support. Despite being a relatively small congregation of less than 70 people, this grant has allowed Kingdom First to dream big. They are currently envisioning a new church building that will provide essential resources to the community and foster opportunities for education and healthy living.

“We’ll begin construction on our new building soon,” says Pastor Martha. “We prayerfully believe that God will use it to house a Boys and Girls Club, a health clinic, and a small grocery store, so that people will not have to continue to go to gas stations or convenience stores to buy their groceries. They’ll have something right in their own neighborhood.”

Kingdom First Church’s “Serve the Server” project showcases how a passionate congregation, armed with resources and a vision for community transformation, can make a profound impact. By appreciating and uplifting those who serve their neighborhoods, the church has brought joy and encouragement to many. Through their collaborative efforts, Kingdom First shows that even small acts of kindness can make a significant difference.

“This whole experience has brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart,” says Pastor Martha. “There’s not enough that we can say to show our appreciation. Who are we that God is mindful of us and loves us so much? He is so good, and we are happy to be able to testify.”