Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shooting the Breeze: Are you willing to make a difference for one?

Kevin Martineau had a great post on his blog Shooting the Breeze: Are you willing to make a difference for one?

I commented on this post and thought I'd add a few thoughts of my own here. The theme of Kevin's post is to not get discouraged if we are are only reaching one or a few at a time for Christ.

My thoughts
As I commented on Kevin's blog, I sometimes get caught up with the success of certain church planters who are seeing thousands coming to their gatherings, while some (like my family and me) strive to reach a few at a time. In the nearly 3 years my family and I have been in Troy we have seen quite a number of people come and go; a few of them we have led to Christ. Our most visible fruit is in the number of neighborhood children we are reaching for His kingdom. Some once said, "you can't build a church w/kids...they don't tithe." Yet, from our perspective of planting a church in a distressed, low income, inner-city community that is 95% residential, with many single mothers and even more young children, we are ecstatic when even one of them joins our fellowship and comes to a saving knowledge of Christ through faith. As some have said, "It takes many different models/types of churches to reach different types of people." What works for Rick Warren in the sprawling California suburbs won't work for the CORE Church of Troy.

Church planting among the urban poor and marginalized (so I am learning) is one of the toughest Kindgom assignments to carry out because it takes a long committent centered on building relationships with people through hands on ministry. That means assessing the community's greatest unmet needs and then meeting those needs as God provides. In many urban/inner-city settings, the lack of basic needs amongst people who live here is a reality; food, clothing and sometimes shelter are things which many of us take for granted, yet for a large number of people living in these places it is a daily struggle. Children who live in these households are among the poorest of citizens. They can't work, unless they are teenagers. They can't vote. They really have little or no rights as citizens and through no fault of their own they are living in an environment filled with urban blight, drug dealers, street gangs, prostition, absentee/slum landlords,etc. So for us to be standing in the gap for these great kids is a no-brainer. We recently baptized two of these kids that are being discipled through the ministry of the CORE Church, which we count as victories. And the seeds we are planting now in the lives of these kids will lead to some great fruit in their lives, both now and as they grow and mature.

We are seeing new doors for effective ministry open to us because we have been faithful with a few things as God has given them to us.

Yes, I am willing to walk along the shoreline and throw a few starfish back to safety, as I am able to. Well I save them all? No! But I can do my part, as God has equipped me