I find myself driving around my neighborhoods and the nashville area eyeing properties that are vacant or left dilapidated and wonder, “Wonder what that could be for the church?” Warehouse spaces could be food pantries, shopping areas could be start up businesses for job training centers, some areas could be reclaimed for the land for community parks/playgrounds/gardens, maybe some building/neighborhood could be renovated for some intentional living communities are just some of my thoughts on re-claiming space. Those are just dreaming ideas for me at this time.
However, with this dreaming I am super intrigued by Hope Church’s efforts to re-claim their neighborhood areas and create safe livable housing for people who might, for whatever reason, get stuck in squaller conditions.
For more than a decade, the 700-member church off John Young Parkway has been buying and rehabilitating Washington Shores buildings to revitalize the area.
“We’re not a church that solely exists within these four walls,” Wiggins said one recent morning in his office. “We are a church that is taking our faith to the community.”
Surely this isn’t without a headache or some troubled moments, but when is something meaningful completely stress free? What would it take for the church, general, seek out ways similar to this as a way to meat the needs of the people and be some vision of Kingdom? I would love to be a part of a church that does that.
Maybe in stead of taking hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to make our sanctuaries cooler (in figurative sense, or the HVAC sense if you want) but take some portion of that to invest in community improvements or making sure those who are struggling can live safely and with dignity. That’d be a cool break of some cycles of poverty and self-service that I couldn’t imagine Jesus seeing any other way than a good thing.
It would take time, but home runs have be earned after some batting practice and a few foul balls, but you never get there unless you imagine you can do it and then actually go out and do it.