Part of living in community is sharing needs, and abilities. As part of a church community, you probably share these needs and abilities through bulletin announcements, or someone tracking and matching up people to help. While this can be effective for some churches, it can limit the potential of helping each other by limiting it to only dire needs.
TheCommon.org was developed to facilitate this process. They state their purpose as “help[ing] people in communities help each other by connecting people with abilities to people with matching needs inside their community.”
When someone in your church creates an account they indicate which of a dozen abilities they have. They will then be shown needs in your church community that matches their abilities. Anyone in your church community can add a need or fulfill a need. Needs on my page range from helping Rosemary mow her lawn to an organization looking for someone to organize a community garden.
If your church partners with any local organizations they can choose to “blend” with yours. This combines your church’s needs, abilities and marketplace with the organization.
The site also has a marketplace for people to post items that are needed or items that are being given away. For example, in my marketplace right now Melanie is giving away a vacuum and an organization my church blended with is looking for extra cookbooks.
TheCommon.org’s innovative, simple, and thought-out design enables users of any technical ability to use the site. Because of this the learning curve is almost nothing. If someone has a question or a problem while on the site they can go to TheCommon.org University and watch one of a couple dozen how-to tutorials. Also, TheCommon.org takes privacy seriously: only those in your church and organizations you blend with can view and fulfill a need in your church.
If this sparks your interest, check it out! If your church isn’t using TheCommon.org and you wish it was, you can send a note to your community administrator here. Two CRC churches that are currently using it are Coit Avenue CRC and Calvin CRC. I hope they’ll provide feedback on their experience.