New church starts in CBF life range from cowboy churches in rural Texas to urban faith communities on the outskirts of major cities. In a recent CBF blog post, Nathan Dean, co-pastor of Atlanta’s Edgewood Church shared an experience that highlights a community-centered approach to ministry that can be found in any geographic setting. By weaving ourselves into the fabric of a neighborhood, we are invited into the lives of people in crisis, people seeking a place to belong, and people asking questions. It is there that we have the opportunity to live out and to invite others to experience the power of the gospel with us.
Here is Nathan’s post:
Can You Please Come Over and Help Us?
We received an email last week from a lady in the community named “Alice.” She said, “I know what you all do for the community and I know about how you all pray for the people in the community. Would it be possible for you to come visit us? Our marriage isn’t going well and my husband is struggling with drugs and depression. He knows I am writing to you. I know this is a lot to ask, but can you please help us?”
That night, I (Nathan) went over to visit with them. This was one of the more challenging pastoral moments that I have faced. There was a lot of emotion and a lot of tears, and in the end it turned out well. The husband, “John” and I had a good conversation and we ended up going to a local AA meeting together that very night! We have been in contact daily since then.
John has had a counselor to go to. Alice has been struggling to cope on her own while trying to put on a good face for their daughter. She feels like the stress, worry, and pretending are crushing her. We helped put her in touch with a counselor and it seems like she is grabbing hold of the help as if her life depends on it.
In this challenging mission field we find ourselves in, we can easily wear ourselves out. Working and praying for God’s Kingdom to flourish in this place, we sometimes ask wearily, “Where is the God who can do more to bring redemption to a life and to a community in an instant than we can in a lifetime?” Then, when we are least expecting it, something like this happens. We see evidence that God has been working in people’s hearts and lives all along, people that we don’t even know. We are reminded yet again, that it isn’t really us who is ushering in God’s Kingdom. We aren’t the main ones who have a heart for the lost and broken, we aren’t main characters in this story – not even close.
I am sure that God is working to do something beautiful in Alice and John’s lives and marriage. We have a lot of hope that they are on the long road TOWARDS hope and redemption. Please keep them in your prayers. And please continue to pray with us for God to open more doors to allow God’s Kingdom to become more of a reality in our community. It’s not about us; it’s about God’s people in the Edgewood community and beyond! We wouldn’t want it any other way.
How are you weaving yourself into the life of your community? What opportunities are you finding to experience, to live out and to share the power of the gospel?