Five Questions with Good Works, Inc

Ministry Name:     Good Works, Inc.1939658_646328002069606_1702693800_n
Contact person:   Keith Wasserman
Address:               PO Box 4, Athens, OH 45701
Phone Number:    (740) 594-3339

1. What is the mission of your ministry?

The short version:

Good Works exists to connect people from all walks of life with people in poverty so that the kingdom of God can be experienced.

A longer version:

The vision of Good Works is to create and sustain a Community of HOPE with and for people who are struggling with poverty and homelessness in rural Appalachia. As a Christian community, we are seeking to grow in our love for God and for our neighbor. We offer contexts through which people in need can experience biblical hospitality, access practical assistance, and share their abilities with others. In doing so, we facilitate ways for people from all walks of life to build relationships of love and service with their neighbors.

2. What program(s) does your ministry support or offer? If your ministry is large with several programs, what are your primary programs/services or what is your newest program?

Good Works currently has 20 different initiatives. We call these initiatives “contexts” in which the good news about Jesus can be experienced, demonstrated and proclaimed. Here are descriptions of several of our primary ministries, and we have more details about all of our initiatives on our website.

The Timothy House: This is our home for people without homes. We provide food, shelter and supportive community to about 150 to 225 men, women and children each year.

Friday Night Life: This is our weekly community meal for people from all walks of life. Each year, we work with close to 50 congregations and community groups to provide the dinner and build relationships with their neighbors in need.   Approximately 100 to 150 participate on any given Friday night.

Work Retreats: We host about 40 different groups a year for a day, weekend or week of relational service experiences. Groups can be up to 30 people and made up of adults, youth, or families. Elevating the values of community-building and spiritual growth, we lead groups in providing practical care for widows and people with disabilities at their homes.

Transformation Station: Through this creative volunteer opportunity, people in need can give of their time, and in exchange receive resources they need such as vehicles, appliances, bicycles and food. We have provided over 120 cars to families in need since the program began in 2004.

3. Can you share a story about the impact your ministry has had in the life of someone in your community or in your community as a whole?

In 2010, Peter, along with his 11-year-old daughter, was a resident of the Timothy House, our home for people without homes. A little over a year later, Peter was back. This time, however, he was not as a resident, but a volunteer. In association with a local congregation, he co-led an optional weekly gathering called Life’s Healing Choices (a biblically based recovery group) with Timothy House residents.

In his words, Peter’s life is evidence of “radical changes that only God can do.” After experiencing emotional healing through the trusting friendships and prayer he found inside a local recovery community, Peter says he wanted to “go back in and tell my story and how God brought restoration in my life.”

This fruitful partnership with Peter and the local Celebrate Recovery ministry has continued, and we have held Life’s Healing Choices at the Timothy House as recently as this fall. A few months ago, two residents made decisions to follow Jesus with their lives, and this was a literal celebration!

4. What are the needs or challenges your ministry is facing?

We are trusting God for our funding needs because we are now entirely supported by donors. While we have been almost completely donor-based for some time, last year we had to turn down a State grant based on its terms, which would have caused us to violate our conscience and the rights of people without homes.

Finding the right staff, who share our philosophy of ministry and love Jesus is another area in which we are continually seeking God’s guidance and provision. Similarly, we are also seeking applicants/participants in our year-long and summer internships.

Finally, we are consistently seeking good quality but low-cost continuing education and retreat opportunities to develop our staff.

5. Is there anything else you would like to share about your ministry?

Our heart is to love and serve Christ Jesus with our whole lives and to BE a Christian community as our first priority. Then, out of who we are, we want to serve those in need. We don’t see ourselves as a social service agency, but rather a ministry, entrusted with the grace of God to live out our lives as a witness to Jesus, conveying faith, hope and love.