Weaving Ministry Design Principles into Their DNA

Branch15 is a ministry in Oklahoma City that serves women in critical, life-controlling situations. They provide their clients with transitional housing and robust rehabilitation classes. Through contextualized programs centered around connection, care, authenticity, and empowerment, they fulfill their mission of fostering healing and restoration in the lives of their clients—that every woman who enters Branch15 might experience “fresh starts, pure hope, and amazing grace.”

Still Innovating… One Year Later!

In the spring of 2022, Stefannie Powell, Terri Gordineer, and several other members of the Branch15 team participated in Innovate. Over a year later, they are “slowly weaving [Innovate] into their DNA” by utilizing the tools they received and emphasizing the values they learned.

One way they have done this is by incorporating asset maps into their client orientation and progress plans. The asset maps provide a greater sense of dignity as participants begin to acknowledge and champion their gifts.

The ministry of Branch15 has now grown to include a space for fathers to advocate for the participants, the mothers of their children. This is a step towards holistic development, towards the greater utilization of relational assets. On the decision to expand their programming to fathers, Stefannie cites a pivotal realization: “I think I’ve seen [the fathers] as the enemies because I see them as stumbling blocks that get in the way of our women’s success. But through Innovate… God has really shown me they’re not the enemy… they may be stumbling blocks, but they’re stumbling blocks that only know what they know.” In this light, fathers are seen as assets rather than liabilities.

Branch15’s focus has now shifted towards championing courses on healthy co-parenting relationships and allyship between parents, who often come from similar traumatic backgrounds and who are victims of broken systems.

Learning to Pray Without Ceasing

Beyond the tools and resources they received during the course of Innovate, Stefannie says that they have focused their efforts on Ministry Design Principle #3 in A Field Guide to Becoming Whole: “All the ministry stakeholders should ‘pray without ceasing.’” Adopting this principle as the primary means of development has transformed their ministry. In the last year, the team has walked alongside dozens of women coming to faith in Christ for the first time and experiencing new growth in their faith. Even with carefully constructed programming, this growth would not be possible without constant, ceaseless prayer.

Branch15 recognizes that they need “prayer, people, and provision,” and in that order.

An Opportunity to Innovate

Making changes to an existing ministry can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to change. Since 2019, The Chalmers Center has been walking alongside churches and organizations that want to incorporate helping without hurting principles in their ministry through our Innovate: Online training. If you’d like to experience new growth within your ministry, sign up to join us for the fall session of Innovate where you’re get coaching and feedback from our team as they walk you through our ministry design principles, share best practices from asset-based community development, and introduce you to a host of innovation tools.

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The Chalmers Center

The Chalmers Center

The Chalmers Center helps God’s people rethink poverty and respond with practical biblical principles so that all are restored to flourishing.

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