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Victory Chapel is a fairly new congregation in Indianapolis, but it is making a big impact in the community.
With many of its members living below the poverty level, Victory Chapel leaders and members have a heart for helping others and a challenging job to find the funds and resources needed to provide that help.
Because most of its parishioners suffer from tough economic hardships and live below the poverty level, attracting more members does not necessarily mean more money in the offering plate. Most likely, Gibson explained, increased attendance means there are more needs to be met. Creativity and ingenuity are needed to meet the congregation's energetic goals for helping its members and neighbors.
This 10-year-old congregation worships at East 10th Street United Methodist Church (pictured at right). Just down the road, the congregation runs the Victory Village Shoppe, which provides boutique space for local folks wanting to start their own businesses. In addition to space, this ministry provides collaborative marketing, business development counseling, product pricing assistance and more. Their patrons include a struggling artist, who has been able to develop his business and support his family, and a young woman who was homeless a few years ago and is now employing women in shelters to make handicrafts to sell.
Stephen Gibson of Victory Chapel explained that the congregation wants to buy the building that houses the Shoppe. They also want to create jobs in the neighborhood through community development and set up an institute to work in conjunction with Bible colleges to promote planting churches among the urban poor and to train potential missionaries. The congregation wants to "work together to try to build our capacity as Christians in fellowship to respond to the needs of those in the congregation."
The Center for Congregations' Life Together Grants Initiative plays a valuable role in the implementation of these goals. In addition to grant money, the education element has been enlightening.
"The Life Together process was really good for us," Gibson said. "As a young congregation, we really need to spend a lot of time talking about where we are going. What will it mean for Victory Chapel to really be what God wants us to be?"