Can a church of 3,000 people put their city first?
Yes, Winston-Salem First makes it happen. Soon after Dr. Mike and Darla Rakes became the lead pastors, a dramatic shift in ministry focus took place. They changed their name from First Assembly of God to Winston-Salem First. Any time a church changes its name, people notice. It was a strategic decision. They put their city before themselves. They sought the good of Winston-Salem, their city.
Love Out Loud
Their love for Winston-Salem birthed Love Out Loud. Some have needs to be met, and within each one of us is a desire to meet those needs. Love Out Loud is what happens when need meets love.
Chuck Spong, the Executive Director of Love Out Loud says, “It’s a coalition of like minded Christ centered churches coming together to link arms and do the work of Christ within our city.” They manage their ministry with ACS and The City.
They use The City to reach their city.
Their outreach ministry works. They’ve built it around 5 core values: Relationships, Communication, Coordination, Best Practices, and Catalytic Events.
The City’s Plaza makes these things happen. The plaza is the middle ground between their church and their community. People who’ve never been to their church partner with them on The City to serve Winston-Salem.
The City is the two-way communication channel Winston-Salem First needs to build relationships with people who want to serve and communicate its vision, events, and programs to them. It helps the church coordinate the efforts of people and other nonprofit organizations so that they can employ best practices and facilitate catalytic events.
Winston-Salem First does multiple events throughout each month. Dr. Rake and his leadership team have large and small events taking place all the time. They can be organizing 10,000 people to help out with their Christmas for The City program, or a smaller group in their outreach to serve a local high school.
They use The City to coordinate everything from 5K runs, scholarship fundraisers, and feeding programs to back-to-school drives, prayer meetings, camps for neglected or abused children, sporting events, and rewards for at risk students. Something is always going on, and The City is right in the middle of it all.
“We are a church of substance, helping believers grow deeper in their faith in order to bring renewal to the people and places around them.” -Mike and Darla Rakes