09 Oct Dedicated Believers: How a Tiny Church Makes a Huge Impact with Good360
On any given week, about three dozen people might shuffle into Sunday service at Dedicated Believers Ministries in Burton, Michigan, a suburb of Flint. The congregation counts just 25 official members.
Yet, despite the few bodies who fill the wooden pews each week, this humble faith-based organization has had a remarkably outsized impact on the local community. Last year alone, the church distributed more than $100,000 worth of donated products to needy families through its partnership with Good360 — or about $4,000 in goods per congregant.
With the intention of serving “God, family and community,” the nonprofit is the epitome of grassroots dedication and roll-up-your-sleeves, boots-on-the-ground determination. Much of the credit for the organization’s impressive impact belongs to its husband-and-wife founders, Anthony and Davida Artis.
Anthony serves as the church’s pastor, while Davida serves as the church administrator, assistant treasurer, and oversees the devotion and worship departments. This December, the couple celebrates 25 years of marriage. Their two sons, Blake, 23, and Isaiah, 21, also lend a good amount of support to the church.
“Our goal is to help as many people in need as we can and to eventually see people lifted out of poverty,” says Anthony Artis. “Amid the current water crisis, our immediate goal is to meet the needs of others who represent our community’s most vulnerable — young children and impoverished families.”
Pastor Artis is referring to the contamination of lead in the Flint water system, a public health emergency that began two years ago and has forced millions of residents to essentially stop drinking from the tap. This past week, authorities finally declared that contamination levels are now “well below” federal standards for lead.
But the damage has been done to the public’s trust — and to the well-being of many families living below the poverty level. The crisis has taken its financial toll, as many people have needed to buy bottled water to drink and even bathe with. In some cases, this means families already living on the edge have forgone basic essentials to get by.
Artis says the water crisis has exacerbated problems that have depressed the Flint area for years, including crime, blight, and unemployment.
That’s where Dedicated Ministries has been able to step in and make a big difference. The nonprofit has mobilized to respond to the public emergency by working with Good360 to distribute thousands of critical goods to those in need.
Among the items that we have distributed to the community via Dedicated Ministries are:
- 150 new pillows to children, expectant and nursing mothers, and the elderly
- Thousands of dollars in toys from Mattel to 300 families who may not be able afford gifts this holiday
- Household items such as baby formula, diapers, Vitamin C supplements, antibacterial soap, and dental hygiene kits donated from CVS
- Approximately 20,000 diapers
- Baby lotions, diaper creams, sippy cups, sheets and pillow cases distributed during an event dubbed “Blessing Babies in the Community”
- $7,000 worth of clothes and thermals to homeless men, including military veterans
At the moment, the organization’s most pressing needs include children’s school uniforms, shoes, winter coats and other warm clothing, personal hygiene products, and five-gallon water dispensers.
Most recently, the church piloted a new program to supplement public school education with African American art history. Funds are also being raised to start a civic-oriented radio program.
Artis seems to have a relentless drive to find new ways to expand his church’s reach and philanthropic efforts.
“I feel a deep calling to help the city,” he explains. “There were times in my life when I was out of work. There were times when I didn’t know how to make ends meet. I never forgot what it feels like to not have any money coming in.”
Good360’s collaboration with Dedicated Ministries is just one of many partnerships that we have forged with local nonprofits in Flint to response to the water situation, both for immediate relief and for the long-term recovery.
Since our work in the Flint community began in January 2016, Good360 has touched thousands of lives through our community-based, action-focused approach. During this time, we have:
- Supported 13 community-based nonprofits with more than $472,000 in donated goods
- Mobilized both cash and in-kind donations from 32 corporate partners, including nine first-time Good360 donors
- Distributed a minimum of $25 in needed goods for every $1 donated.
Our work in Flint represents our commitment to helping communities that have been hit by disasters, natural and otherwise, through recoveries that can last for years and require extensive resources. The measurable impact that we can make would not be possible without the help of nonprofits on the ground such as Dedicated Believers and without the tireless efforts of organizers such as Anthony and Davida Artis.