It’s doubtful that SLF will be winning any awards at this year’s “Red Hot and Smokin’ Marketing Sizzle” conference … and we’re OK with that.  But it is gratifying to hear more and more people say, “we get SLF and we appreciate the impact you’re making, even though you’re a bit under the radar and behind the scenes.”  Right after Fancy Friday’s lunch and dessert events the index is even higher. And the message is fresh. So here goes. This is the core of who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

Let’s start with our Vision (We Believe) and our Mission (We Engage).  We’ve been proclaiming them since 2005, and we notice the idea of ‘shalom’ (peace and well-being) is becoming widely understood and embraced ‘round town.  

A Vision is the strategic exercise of looking out toward a ‘preferred future’ that is bigger than any one group or organization.  When we look to the future, we see a city that is worthy of the name SalemShalompeace and well-being.  In short, the healthiest community in Oregon—not that we would brag or boast.  Simply a testimony to God’s healing and transformational power. A Mission is an organization’s specialized assignment. In SLF’s case, our role is to build bridges; to connect people and organizations; to catalyze change.  Our first focus is the church community, an asset that was dormant and disjointed for many years. We are also deeply called to schools, non-profits, agencies, law enforcement, government, business and neighborhoods.  People-of-faith … and People-of-goodwill.  We’ll engage with anyone who shares the belief that good healthy things happen when people serve, and walk alongside, in relationship.

That brings us to our Theory of Change: the steps we take to fulfill our Mission.  

  1. SLF engages leaders at the tables of decision-making and out in the neighborhoods.  Both ‘blatant’ (obvious) and ‘latent’ (hidden) leaders.
  2. We build the capacity of others.  SLF is not a direct-service provider; rather we help churches and non-profits and schools by building their capacity to serve.
  3. We develop joint initiatives … also called Collaborative Impact. A few good examples include the CaN (Churches as Neighborhood) Centers Collaboration, the Community Partnership Teams (CPTs), Fostering Hope/Every Child Oregon, the Interfaith Hospitality Network (Family Promise), Safe Families, and Just Walk Salem-Keizer.

At the end of the day, all boiled down, the simple answer to the oft-asked question—What does SLF do?—is this:  We Believe. We Engage.  And—together—we’re having an impact, thanks be to Christ.