The Lord has been challenging me over the last couple of weeks.
It started a couple of weeks ago when I went to Exponential–not so much the conference itself (which was good) but through some of the stories I heard. I went straight from there to a conference run by the San Antionio Baptist Association where Tony and I were speaking on the principles of simple/organic church. God is doing some amazing things through the people involved there. Again, the stories were captivating.
Let me give you a some examples:
There is a network of organic churches in California that looked at the problems their city faced and found that homelessness was a major issue. As they prayed about it, they sensed God wanted them to tackle the problem. Their involvement has reduced homelessness by 25% but more than that, has involved them in all kinds of projects like teaching life skills, interview techniques etc., as well as housing and job creation. They have come to the attention of the city council and the local social services. They are making a social impact on their city.
Another network of house churches, this time in Colorado, asked their local middle school what they could do to help. The answer surprised them. They needed bicycle helmets. When they met that need, other needs surfaced. The result, 18 months or so down the line, is that they are working with the social services in their city in all kinds of different areas. Twenty-five of them from their network of churches leads a group of around 200 volunteers, many of whom are not Christians, to meet the needs of their city. They have all kinds of opportunities to introduce people to Jesus. The social service department often calls them when they have a crisis. Again, they are friends with the mayor, the city council and others in authority in their city. They too are having a social impact.
A third example is a group who the Lord led to work with kids in the poorest section of their city, an area of predominantly federal housing. They started kids clubs and now have more than 500 kids, aged 5-18, involved. What these kids need most is parents. They find themselves going to court with these kids when they get into trouble, visiting the schools with them when there are disciplinary problems, working with the families. Recognized all through the area where they work because of their yellow shirts, they have access to many of the families in the area and are leading many to Christ. Social impact yet again.
What can God do with a group of people who make themselves available to him for their city?
What stories are you aware of?