New documentary series shows how closing churches can keep ministry open – Baptist News Global

Invested Faith will premiere a mini-documentary series to inspire closing churches to donate assets to help social entrepreneurs bring about change in the communities they serve.

The faith-based organization launched by Amy Butler announced that the first video in the series centers on Tiffany Terrell, founder of a nonprofit mobile grocery business that uses buses to deliver low-cost, healthy vegetables, meats and other produce. cost to food desert communities in Southwest Georgia.

Inside the grocery store bus

“We’ve partnered with Good Faith Media to make these mini-docs of our peers as a way to show closing churches who their money is helping, rather than just telling them,” Butler said. “We are also spending the year filming a documentary about a church that is contributing to this project.”

Terrell is one of the 30 Inverted Faith entrepreneurial fellows who have received $5,000 grants generated by donations from dying congregations, Butler said. While the fellows program began in 2020, the focus now is on cultivating congregations that have come to terms with the closure and want their legacies to continue through ministry and service.

And that’s where the short documentaries about the interns come in, he added. Finally, here is a hopeful way to talk about what God is doing in the world. God is not there to fix our organist problem or to bring new families through the doors. Stories like Tiffany’s will give churches that are about to close their doors something to believe in again.”

Terrell opens his nearly four-minute video by describing the dire needs in the Albany, Georgia region addressed by A Better Way Grocers, and which would be bolstered by donations from dying congregations.

“Among our challenges, citizens cope with food insecurity. We have supermarkets that have closed. We have people who have mobility problems and many people who do not have transportation. It creates barriers,” she said. “Many of our citizens face problems related to diet, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol. We have people living in food deserts and it’s just not right. My upbringing centered on faith. We help our neighbors. We love our neighbors, we get up, we go out and we help people.”

One customer said she couldn’t eat healthy without Terrell’s business. “I buy the vegetables, I buy the fish from here, the chicken from here and I wait every Thursday. That’s why you see me filling up here, because the food here is fresh and I look forward to seeing you every week.”

One woman added that A Better Way Grocers also provides food education to customers in areas deprived of healthy options. “Miss Tiffany, she talks to us about our nutritional needs and the things we can do to help ourselves. It is really a benefit that they come to our community.”

Terrell added gratitude for Invested Faith, which helps not only financially but also through the resources and experts available through the fellowship program.

“It means we have a network of people who help us with the work we do. People who donate to Invested Faith help people in Southwest Georgia by showing organizations like ours a better way to better serve our community.”

Interviewed separately, Terrell added that her pressing needs include being able to hire staff and switching from buses to easier-to-operate vans. “This is a real opportunity for others to make a difference for the 300+ people we serve in this area.”

He also praised Invested Faith for including his work in his series of mini-documentaries. “They have a national platform that will help spread awareness about us and hopefully generate donations from other sources.”

tiffany terrell

The Invested Faith project benefits its donors as much as those they help with their donations, said Jason Coker, national director of Together for Hope, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s rural development coalition, which partners with Terrell and other social entrepreneurs.

“They are doing such a profound and amazing job closing churches that they have the opportunity here to live out that gospel passage about selling all possessions and giving to the poor,” he said. “They give Tiffany and other grassroots leaders a greater ability to do the job they’re doing.”

Coker said the video about Tiffany it is made by experts. “When I saw him, he reminded me of the pitches I’ve seen people make to venture capitalists. You will broaden your profile with the general public and generate income on your way.”

Butler, who currently pastors a small United Church of Christ congregation in Hawaii, said two mini-documentaries will be released annually, with the next one scheduled for October.

“We are only looking for churches that are closing, not those that want to repurpose buildings for cafeterias or other purposes,” he said. “It can also be universities and other religious institutions.”

Prospects are good given that thousands of American churches are closing annually, he added. “The number of people we could potentially fund is limitless, from what I can tell.”

Butler described his leadership of the Invested Faith in the language of a call. “I am not willing to cede my faith to the history of failure. God is working in the world. It’s just a matter of whether we’re going to show up in the same place.”