Over the past few weeks of living in my parents' basement, I have been thinking primarily about 2 things: 1-when and how we can find a house downtown to move into? and 2-how much I adore having a "cleaning lady." Amen.
No, but seriously, I really am so excited about moving downtown. Now all we need to do is find the perfect house. I realize "the perfect house" might be something that we will probably never find, particularly in the 'hood. But we DO want to be wise, strategic, and prayerful in deciding exactly which house we should be moving into. The thing about the neighborhood we feel called to is that it's a little hit or miss. One street might be just wonderful with a mixture of races and religions scattered throughout, manicured gardens, and kids playing outside. But the next street over? There are some serious dark alleys and abandoned houses and what-have-you. So wise is the word for us in deciding exactly which street to move onto.
Of course, many people clearly think we should not even be LOOKING at houses downtown, let alone moving down there with our little family, two year old daughter, small dog, and two friends. In fact, we're sort of getting used to, and maybe even enjoying, the "you be crazy" looks we get on a daily basis. Most people gently suggest living in the suburbs and commuting to do ministry. Or that maybe we should "consider another neighborhood." We also get a lot of questions, mostly this one: WHY?!?
In the interest of answering said question (I love to satisfy the masses, clearly), I thought I'd attempt to explain a little bit about why we're moving into the community with our kiddos. The truth is, though, that I cannot fully explain it because we feel like this move is a calling, much like missionaries are called to Africa or Iraq. We are simply called to Atlanta. And the decision to move INTO the hood was/is a multifaceted one that rests on a variety of factors. Our goal is to reweave the fabric of urban community by building upon existing neighborhood strength. We truly believe that when focused on a single neighborhood with the aim of community transformation, the effects can be dramatic (wording from FCS).
CCDA describes relocation this way: “Living the gospel means desiring for your neighbor and your neighbor’s family that which you desire for yourself and your family. Living the gospel means bettering the quality of other people’s lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as you better your own. Living the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others.”
When we look at the Bible and at the life of Jesus, we would describe our ministry as an incarnational ministry, following Christ's example to give up privilege to live among the poor. Want to read more about God's heart for the poor? Check out this list of Scripture verses to get you started. But be warned, it might transform your heart and life when you start to fully grasp it all!
We would love to have you join us in prayer and support for our move. We are still deciding and praying about where exactly we want to live, trying to find a balance between being close to our kiddos and keeping our family safe. Be praying for wisdom, boldness, and favor with the community.
Also, if you have questions about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, how we are going to make it work etc . . . please please please feel free to call or email us anytime - we’d love to talk to you about it!
Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have:
But of the best leaders When their task is done
The people will remark "We have done it ourselves."