You Belong: Making an Impact in Green Bay

If we’re not working together, we’re not doing this right!” This is a phrase I always say when I’m connecting with a new community partner. Christ calls us to build relationship so that together we might love one another more deeply and serve one another above all.

Many people have asked how our team at You Belong has made such an impact in our community in just 2 ½ years. The answer is – because we have developed hundreds of individual and community partners. To love and serve others requires us to go far beyond our own doors into the communities we serve, and the fastest way to do that is to work with others who are already serving.

Before we even hit the ground in Green Bay in 2021, our team began connecting with organizations, agencies, churches and individuals to develop a network of people who shared a passion for serving the people that we were interested in serving. Each time we entered a conversation, our focus was on how our team can help support the work that the potential partner was already doing. This mindset has been the key to our success. Instead of having the mentality of being the new group in town looking for the help of others, we showed that we are here to support what is already happening. We listened for what was working and where there were still needs. Then we responded to what we learned by developing programs that worked to meet those needs. Before long, we became another piece of the puzzle and quickly became recognized as another impactful organization in our local community.

Everything we do at You Belong is an effort to explore how the church can exist differently in the 21st century. We believe a church can enter into and work alongside both religious and secular groups to impact the lives of God’s children in our local community. We also believe in a model of church that builds sustainability on program generated revenue which helps us become less dependent on an offering plate. It is a business minded model of church with the product being a positive and life changing impact on the lives of the people we serve.

So what exactly is You Belong? We are a faith community of the Moravian Church that emphasizes the importance of accessibility, inclusion of individuals living with disabilities, and living into a new model of church.

Here is a list of the current ministries and programs that You Belong offers:

You Belong Faith Community

  • Worshiping Congregation
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Christian Education

Family Program:

  • Family Classes
  • Mom-to-Mom Postpartum Peer Support Groups
  • Caregiver Classes
  • The Adventure Zone – an accessible indoor learning and play center

All Abilities Program:

  • Respite Care
  • Vocational Training Program
  • Better Together Social Events
  • Accessible Gardening Program

What is the impact these ministries and programs are having?

  • Improve mental health
  • Practice and promotion of self-care
  • Healthy child-development
  • Respite Support for individuals and families
  • Parenting and caregiver education
  • Bridging the gap between people living with and without disabilities through relationship-building
  • Providing safe and educational spaces for families and children to grow and learn together
  • Support for individuals/families experiencing homelessness, domestic
    violence, and foster care
  • Vocational training for individuals living with disabilities

Why is this work important?

We believe what we do is important to the people we serve in their everyday lives while also working to help change larger systems of structure in areas of accessibility. We also believe that this unique ministry is important for the Moravian Church as we explore ways to build sustainability for the church of the future.

To start 2024, You Belong was selected as one of 50 nonprofits to participate in a 24-hour fundraising event called Give Big Green Bay. Give Big Green Bay is a day focused on raising awareness and support for local non-profits in the Green Bay community. This event was started through a partnership between the Greater Green Bay Foundation and the Green Bay Packers who offered a percentage match to each non-profit with over $500,000 available in the matching fund. The idea is simple enough, of the 50 non-profits working together to raise funds, You Belong receives percentage of the matching fund equal to the percentage of the total funds received during the event.  Our goal was to raise $15,000 in 24 hours; thanks to many generous donors, we raised an amazing $48,600! 

We are incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the Northern Province and various churches and Moravian individuals over the past 2-1/2 years. As we take our next step in developing our own sustainability, we are finding a variety of ways to generate funds through our programs and ministries. Most of our programs are generating funds that will soon give us the sustainability that we need to allow You Belong to thrive for many years to come. Until we hit that threshold, we continue to write grants and rely on donor support to keep building up this work.

To learn more, visit! 

The Rev. Greg Behrend serves at You Belong in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photos courtesy of You Belong.