Be a Community Changer – A Neighborhood Revived
Key Bible Verse: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor” … to proclain that captives will be released. – Luke 4:18
Bonus Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-12
In his book, Just Generosity, Ron Sider offers one of the best definitions of justice I know: “restoration of the things people need for dignified participation in their community.”
Mark Gornick and Alan and Susan Tibbels moved into Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester community in 1988, then perhaps the city’s most broken neighborhood. The three came armed with little more than their certainty that Jesus, who announced good news for the poor, was far more passionate about justice than they.
They began New Song Community Church. Today that congregation is nestled among the church’s other ministries: Sandtown Habitat for Humanity (which reclaims 17 houses a year), Eden Jobs (jobs and economic development), New Song Health Co-Op, Martha’s Place (transitional housing for women recovering from drug addiction), New Song Arts, and New Song Community Learning Center (a new 28,000-square foot facility that houses a preschool-through-eighth-grade school).
They never felt the burden of having to change the world, but they knew they could claim Christ’s rule over 18-plus city blocks and watch the gospel breathe life again into a neighborhood of dry bones.
—Robert Lynn in BreakPoint WorldView
My Response: How could I help promote “dignified participation” in my community?
Thought to Apply: A ghetto can be improved in one way only: out of existence. —James Baldwin (author)
Adapted from BreakPoint WorldView (9/05)
Prayer for the Week: Lord, help us believers serve our neighbors in ways that make them thirsty for the Gospel.