DISCIPLES HEALTH/SOCIAL SERVICE MINISTRIES, STORIES

Fulfilling a Mission

Don Stump   |   May 26, 2016

For more than five decades, Christian Church Homes (CCH) has been providing affordable housing and an array of supportive services to seniors. These are beautiful folks who may be limited on financial resources, but are rich with experience and wisdom. We are currently carrying out this mission for about 5,000 lovely seniors with a staff of 300 committed folks. Being able to help facilitate a complete, rich, and fulfilling life for a senior who is struggling at the poverty line is a powerful mission for the church and such a clear demonstration of God’s presence in our world.

On the business side of our mission, the number of laws, regulations, and codes, which require daily absolute adherence, is mind-boggling. I am constantly taking real estate courses, legal seminars, and government workshops to make sure we don’t drop any of the balls we are carefully juggling. As I sit in those classes memorizing government regulations, I often have a wry smile on my face as I realize I have heard all of this before.

If you are spending a million dollars in government funds, you are told you must demonstrate integrity and transparency. You must play fair and ensure that all individuals have equal access to the resources. Good concepts—integrity, honesty, fairness, respect. With utmost appreciation to my instructors, who are drilling these lessons into my head, I must say that I did not learn these concepts in a governmental real estate class. I think my first deep understanding of integrity was church camp—circa 1972. There are countless other classes I have taken (and passed!) which say CCH should be honest, responsible, and treat all people with a sense of fair play. Those classes were all very right-on, but these principals live deeply in my heart, mind, and soul because of the countless times within the broader church where I have been exposed to role models who live out these ideas with every breath of their life.

I also know that these are the driving “big ideas” among so many of the faith-based nonprofits who work within the Disciple Care Exchange and those organizations that are closely tied to the NBA or the Disciples denomination in a variety of ways. As I have had an opportunity to travel the country and see many of these sites on a first-hand basis, I can absolutely vouch for the fact that integrity, honesty, fairness, and respect are alive and well on the front lines of all these service organizations. I have to wonder where all these good people learned the same concepts I have lived by for six decades? Either they were in the same governmental classes, or they were in the same church camp. I suppose we can all answer that question with a high degree of certainty.

Keep up the good work and commitment to our many vital missions!

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Don Stump is president and CEO of Christian Church Homes (CCH) and a guest blogger for the Disciples Care Exchange. In the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the ministries of health and social services have been core to our Disciples identity and faith. The National Benevolent Association (NBA) and Disciples Home Missions (DHM) collaborate to support a network of care providers - the Disciples Care Exchange. To learn more, contact mkilpatrick@nbacares.org.

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