Christian Assistance Network (CAN) attempts to improve itself in every way possible. This is in order to try and maximize the number of people that they can reach. One of the ways they have attempted to do this is trying to listen to people’s advice and evaluate how they can use that advice given and improve. Patrick Brown, co-founder of Janus Web Consulting, was hired to build the website. During the time when his company was building the website he got an inside look at the Non-profit organization. After he was finished he was asked to give an honest and objective opinion on the website. This was an attempt to try and improve the company. Here are his thoughts:
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“I believe that the Christian Assistance Network is performing an extremely needed, important, and effective ministry in Grove City. Its ministry is needed because there many people are suffering in Grove City today. Homelessness, unemployment, drug-addition, and other forms of brokenness create situations in families where a crisis can easily take place if some sort of disruption in income happens. Many times these people have nowhere to turn and assistance can take months to achieve. CAN’s ministry is important because it addresses this need and it is effective because it quickly works to solve crises in families’ lives.
As a ministry, I believe that they have many strengths to commend them. First of all, they are able to quickly address needs, without red tape and a lot of bureaucracy. They are able to quickly help people and thus get them on their feet before they experience a downward spiral that can be very hard to escape from. In addition, each of the board members is very passionate about this ministry and spends considerable time each week working on cases and trying to help people. I also believe that their new leadership in Dr. Wyneken has greatly strengthened the organization. Although the leadership before Dr. Wyneken was very passionate, many of the leaders were retirees who by their own admission understood little about modern technology and marketing, as well as creating a vision for the ministry as a whole into the future. Dr. Wyneken had been able to take a look at the organization with fresh eyes and help chart a new course to take it into the future. Their leadership style is very successful, operating on cooperation and consensus. It is not very often that leadership for such an organization can be so organized and truly friendly with each other. Each of the leaders has a common goal and seeks to accomplish this goal with each other.
CAN has some weaknesses, however. The ministry is often unable to address the needs of the whole person when supporting a client. For example, when a client is helped in crisis, any communication with the ministry usually ends after the client has received sufficient material assistance. In an interview with Dr. Wyneken, he acknowledged that this is something that the ministry is working on but at the moment does not have enough funds or volunteers to maintain contact. I believe that regular forms of communication with clients after material assistance has been rendered will help CAN fulfill its goal of “evangelism through action.” If clients see a continued interest in their well-being, including spiritual and emotional wellbeing, then this will greatly strengthen their goal of evangelism. Although material assistance is important and is stressed in the Bible as an important means to share the love of Jesus, it is still important to share the good news. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 does not specifically mention physical assistance, but it does specifically command believers to “make disciples of all the nations” and to teach them “to obey everything I have commanded you.” If CAN were able to develop a means to maintain contact with clients after initial assistance, I believe the ministry would be greatly strengthened.
All in all, the Christian Assistance Network (CAN) is a growing and dynamic ministry which is extremely effective in its mission, “to help the poor, disabled, disadvantaged and elderly with the basic needs of food, clothing, housing and medical expenses.” It has grown very much from its inception in 1999, when it gave assistance to a family in need, to today, when it is helping over 50 families a year. With its growing focus on marketing and online presence, this growth is likely to accelerate. The ministry itself is very effective in getting people need in a very timely manner (within 48 hours) as well as connecting clients with organizations that can provide more long term assistance. Composed entirely of volunteers, CAN is led by a board of leaders who are very passionate in what they do. The Christian Assistance Network continues to practice what it preaches and works to help those who need help, as Christ commanded believers. To this end, it is helping to spread the love of Christ more and more in the Grove City area. All and all I think CAN is one of the coolest ministries I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”