I was at an event the other week and was asked if I would make a report to the group about what Raytown Christian Church has done over the past month to support the community of Raytown. I made a quick list and, to be honest, was happily shocked at what I saw. When I shared it with the group, the church got a rousing round of applause. I thought you might want to know what we’re doing as a congregation and how we’re making a community-wide impact.
Raytown Summer Lunch Ministry: This year we served 12,000 meals to under-served children across the Raytown School District. RCC founded, coordinates, and hosts this community service ministry; however, RSLM is now one of Raytown’s darling ministries and is supported by a multitude of churches, civic organizations, businesses, non-profits, and the City of Raytown.
Weekly Prayer for the City: We host this ministry to the city every week on Thursday at 6:30 a.m. We have a few who attend from our church, but we also have people from around the community who attend and support this prayer time. The topics for prayer include praying for our mayor, aldermen, and other civic leaders; for Raytown non-profits such as Sisters In Christ, REAP, the River of Refuge, etc.; for our schools and school officials; for our police, firefighters, and other first responders; for our local churches, their pastors, church leaders, and congregations; for the Chamber and the Raytown Main Street Association; and for community residents as well.
Kingdom Business Roundtable: We host this ministry to the city every week on Thursday at 7:30. During the Roundtable, Christian business leaders come together for inspiration, motivation, and conversation on how to lead and operate a business that brings glory to God, makes a profit, provides employment for others, and offers a Christian witness to the community.
Raytown Coffee Connection: We host this ministry to the city every week on Thursday from 8:30 – 10:00. This is a time where RCC facilitates connections between local business leaders, city leaders, church leaders, and community residents in order to attract business and industry to Raytown. The goal is not just to foster relationships between business people, but to increase the employment base in the city for the sake of the city … and if we bring a little Jesus into it, all the better!
Raytown Main Street Association: RMSA is essentially the Downtown Revitalization group and is strongly supported by RCC (the president and the secretary are both RCC members). Because our facilities are located at the heart of Downtown, an area that happens to be one of Raytown’s high crime areas, our active involvement in improving the Downtown area is critical. RCC is heavily involved in the three Main Street community-enhancement events (Easter Egg Stravaganza, Trunk-or-Treat, and the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting) and also advocates for the betterment of the Downtown area.
Chamber of Commerce: RCC is also an active member and participant in the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce. We don’t just pay our dues, we have a strong representation on the Chamber board and we’re involved in Chamber events. The goal of our involvement is not only for the betterment of our city’s business environment, it’s to bring a witness of our faith and our church to the business community.
REAP Support: Every week we make an appeal to first-time guests to complete the Connection Cards – for those who do, we donate $5 in their honor to support the work of the Raytown Emergency Assistance Program. So far this year, that’s $280. Michael Watson, executive director, made a point to thank RCC for our “monthly support.” In addition, we have several RCC members who are active volunteers there.
Raytown Pastors Network: Perhaps one of the disturbing issues I’ve discovered in Raytown is that there is a distinct communications and cooperation divide between Raytown’s White churches and Black churches. Over the past months, RCC has been working to build a communications and cooperation bridge between these congregations so that together we can develop a strategic plan to reach our city for Jesus Christ. This is a brand new effort for RCC and for the city that we’re spearheading.
SPIRIT Campaign Host Site: On September 14, RCC will be hosting the citywide SPIRIT Campaign. SPIRIT is an anti-violence event that is being directed by the US Justice Department. This is an all day event that will be attended by Raytown leaders and influencers from a variety of constituencies including schools, businesses, civic organizations, non-profits, churches, as well as representatives from varying age, racial, and ethnic groups. The morning will be spent identifying the top five issues facing Raytown. The afternoon will be spent developing a strategic plan to solve these five issues. The event will culminate in creating task forces to ensure the solutions are applied to the issues in a timely manner. RCC is not only a host, but we have been involved on the planning task force and will be providing facilitators and participants for the event as well.
Raytown Live Task Force: Over the past two years, RCC has been actively involved in the planning and production of Raytown Live. RL is a free community wide concert series held April through September on the Downtown Green Space for the express purpose of unifying our city and enhancing our Downtown. The church provides key leaders to the planning task force, as well as providing support for the concert’s production needs.
Caring For Kids at the Raytown Success Academy: RCC is involved with the Caring For Kids program and has adopted the Raytown Success Academy. RSA is sometimes called the “alternative school” and is not as cute and cuddly as the elementary schools that are quickly adopted by other churches. RCC has supported the school with student supplies and has met other needs when requested by RSA staff.
Grace Co-op Home School Host: Although we’re involved in the Raytown Quality Schools District, RCC has also opened its arms to those active in home schooling. The Grace Co-op is currently renting our building and RCC is supporting their activities by helping to raise money for the construction of a play area (that will be available for local community use). We have also made significant adjustments in our schedules and in room use to accommodate Grace’s schedule.
Safe Zone Host: Over the summer, RCC cooperated with Raytown’s Sisters In Christ to provide home and hospitality for Safe Zone, a free all-day activities program for at-risk children and youth. Safe Zone received a good bit of local acclaim for its program and RCC was instrumental in cooperating in the successful operation of the program.
Compass Host: RCC believes that Work Matters and that work skills need to be inculcated early in life. To that end, we host the national Compass program. Compass is a high school employment training program that helps promising at-risk students to build soft and hard job skills while providing a financial stipend. Training includes how to get and keep a job, how to work with authority, customer service, money management, and investment strategies as well. RCC is currently host to this program.
Cash-n-Career: The Cash-n-Career program is similar to Compass, except it is offered to middle school students and focuses more on how to get and keep a job, work expectations, and so on. RCC has been a host, supporter, and work provider for this program for two years.
COMBAT Participation: COMBAT is a federally funded anti-violence program that focuses on identifying hotspot family systems that are at the core of local crime and violence. As these hotspot systems are identified, a COMBAT Hub coordinates local services to intervene in these families to deal with the systemic issues that give rise to crime and violence. In cities where this tactic has been applied, there has been a significant drop in both crime and violence. RCC is actively involved with COMBAT (and indeed, it was at a COMBAT meeting where I shared RCC’s community involvement). COMBAT participants are on an “invite only” list and RCC was invited very early on in the Raytown chapter because of our community-minded reputation.
Pray for Raytown Organizers: In 2018, RCC participated in the annual Raytown Day of Prayer. This year, RCC has been the primary organizer of this event (taking place on September 4). The Pray for Raytown day has been set for September 4 and the Mayor is making a proclamation to that end. This is a city-wide event, but RCC will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for prayer, and will host a Prayer and Worship service from 6–7 p.m.
Kairos Outside: The families of those who are incarcerated are often ostracized by our culture. Kairos Outside is a ministry that seeks out and invites the wives of incarcerated husbands to attend an event where they can experience the love and acceptance of the church and of Jesus Christ. RCC has been actively supporting Kairos Outside for several years. This year, the local chapter’s chair is an RCC member and we have several of our members actively participating in the event as hosts.
Four Seasons: Four Seasons is Raytown Christian Church’s ministry to Raytown’s senior community. From September through May, the Four Seasons seniors meet twice a month on alternate Wednesdays for fellowship, a catered meal, and an entertaining program. Four Seasons, like the Summer Lunch Ministry, was founded by RCC and has taken on a life of its own and is now supported by a community-wide effort. However, RCC continues to host and support this ongoing ministry.
Raytown Annual Job Fair: Again, because Work Matters, RCC is active in helping our community find meaningful and sustainable work. Over the past month, RCC has been engaged in planning the annual Job Fair that will be held on November 6th. Although last year we had an outside company do most of the planning while we were engaged in the implementation, this year RCC in partnership with Raytown’s Sword of Joy Consulting has taken ownership of the event completely.
All that has been a part of our planning and production in just the last thirty days. It’s no wonder the Raytown Christian Church is becoming known as the most community involved church in Raytown. And these events and ministries are just the ones that are designed specifically to support the City of Raytown and its residents – notice there’s nothing there about our active worship services, small groups, musical programs, Bible studies, youth and children’s ministries, Sunday school classes, Directions Discipleship … just to name a few.
You should be proud of the work Raytown Christian Church does to enhance, support, and minister to our community. However, like all of our ministries, we could use your helping hands to extend our reach. PLEASE let us know where and how you’d like to plug in to help make Raytown a city on the hill for Jesus Christ (and a place where people want to live … and not leave).