Change the City: Change Your Perspective

One church preaches connection over charity.
Most churches make it their mission to give things to the poor, but Broadway United Methodist takes the talents of its neighbors and fosters them instead. The Mapleton–Fall Creek congregation employs roving “listeners,” neighborhood members who ask residents on porches and sidewalks what their gifts are. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage the woman who knows how to play piano to teach lessons, or to connect the two guys who work on cars for a potential partnership. It’s a counterintuitive approach to philanthropy. The turning point for Broadway reverend Mike Mather: when he stopped thinking of people as needy, and started thinking of them as needed. “What we do isn’t complicated,” says Mather, “but it’s hard to change your thinking.”