The new Baptist Men’s Ministry (BMM) in Washington D.C., wanted to make a difference for homeless and recovering men trying to re-enter society and the workforce, and a $1,200 Matthew 25 Grant has served as the launchpad.
Part of the DC Baptist Convention (DCBC), BMM has just held its first retreat at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Washington training 10 participants about making healthier choices, building self-confidence and living more effective lives in an attempt to break cycles of generational poverty and poor health outcomes that plague the community.
The Matthew 25 Grant, sponsored by American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and the Board of General Ministries, is funded by a generous, anonymous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of “housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate.” In Fall 2015, a total of 69 applicants received funding ranging from $500 to $5,000 with a total awarded of $169,140. Connection with ABCUSA is a requirement for grant recipients.
During the DC retreat, three workshops focused on “Healthy Lifestyles and Behaviors,” “Personal Finances” and “Workforce Re-Entry.” The first concentrated on issues such as sexual health, dieting and lifestyle decisions, hygiene, the importance of health screenings and self-exams, and gaining knowledge of medical resources. The second workshop focused on basic budgeting, hints for “stretching” money and understanding “good” vs. “bad” debt. The third workshop on workforce-re-entry dealt with making a good first impression, searching for jobs, completing applications and how to deal with challenging aspects of their work history, such as unemployment gaps and limited experience.
Each participant left with a $50 gift card, copies of their resume and handouts from ach workshop.
Survey comments praised the knowledge and presentations of workshop leaders. “I thought they were very sensitive,” one man said. “We need more events like this,” said another.
“We were really pleased to how the men interacted with members of our ministry as well as the workshop presenters,” said Ronald Greenfield, BMM’s president. “I truly believe our overall efforts spoke to the basic needs of the men, reminding them that regardless of our needs or positions in life, we’re all created in God’s image, and that we each are our ‘brother’s keeper’.”
In order to be eligible for a Matthew 25 Grant, ministries must have a direct relationship with American Baptist Churches USA. The application process is structured to help small ministries with limited staff time. For more information on the Grant and application process visit: www.abc-usa.org/matthew25.