Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pack the House #1

On September 28th @ 4:34 we are having a "Pack the House" event at Heathen Church.  (You all are cordially invited.)  Heathen Church was launched on May 4, 2014 without a lot of fanfare and a whole lot of trepidation.  The trepidation that I speak of was not mine, but rather I think within the team to a degree and certainly within the bystanders.  And this trepidation was certainly warranted.  I mean honestly, who names a church service, "Heathen Church"???  To my team's credit they just saw enough or maybe my brand of crazy was just infectious enough to convince them to come along on this crazy journey with me.  And it hasn't always been easy, but has it even been rewarding and life changing.  We minister in an intense environment with very intense issues facing the people of our neighborhood.  We have been very intentional about reaching into the places other churches fear/ignore and it is a daily occurrence here.  It's powerful stuff.  But goodness, have we ever stumbled upon a place where the dream of the church is reality.  The greatest gift of this place is that we never have to wonder what to do next and truly amazing things are happening.

People go through their lives wondering where God is, why they can't feel Him, or even if He exists.  Religion for them is all too often empty, frightening, lonely, and unfortunately, fraudulent.  They know deep down that there's got to be something more, that something is missing.  We don't have that problem here.  We don't have programs, gyms, coffee shops, or any of the other things we think are proper means to draw people to God.  Heck, we struggle to keep the lights on in this place, and yet we are seeing lives transformed, we are seeing the Spirit alight in people who had given up, and Grace UMC (the home of Heathen Church) has become a blazing beacon in a place that has seemingly been forgotten full of people that have been forgotten.  We are filling up the church with souls (over half of our attendance is unattended children) that cannot possibly support the running of a church, and yet, somehow, someway we're still here.  We're still feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoners, and loving the "unlovable".  When all you have to offer is God and love in His name, you've got all you need...and God shows up.  I have said it time and time again, this place is probably the closest I'll ever get in this life to seeing the burning bush.  And you better believe the shoes have come off.

Won't you please come and join us on September 28th?  To see what this "Heathen Church" is all about?  To see the amazing things that God is doing in our midst?

More tomorrow...

1 comment:

Meredith Scott-Conley said...

Agreed. I don't think I've ever heard a sermon like the one I preached at any other church but street harassment is a real problem in this hood. It was important to me that these girls know they deserve respect and it's possible that no-one has ever told them that before. I don't think we could have done that at SMUMC.