Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Last night at our elders' meeting we said goodbye to and prayed for a young couple that is moving to the metroplex. As single university students and then as a young married couple, they had a huge impact on our church -- especially through their leadership of the Neighborhood Walkers. And now they have decided to live "below their means" in a low-rent apartment complex in the metroplex, believing that God will use them for his kingdom purposes. As one of the elders said, they are choosing to live in a place where very few Christians would want to be--an area filled with poverty, broken homes, and chaos--because they believe Jesus loves the people of that apartment complex.

18 Comments:

  • Great testimonial to this couple! As I'm mentally gearing up to assist our youth for a VBS mission trip to Fortress in Ft. Worth, this mission testimonial certainly resonates. I would encourage everyone to worship one Sunday morning this summer at Fortress, Impact, PUSH or any other urban ministry church. You will be blessed beyond measure.

    By Blogger KentF, at 6/02/2005 05:50:00 AM  

  • Rad.

    Cody Hufstedler and his wife are doing the same thing in Salt Lake. You can read about it above.

    This is the kind of thing we all need to be doing, wherever we are.

    "May your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven..."

    Steve
    HarvestBoston

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 6/02/2005 06:19:00 AM  

  • It's kind of amusing that we're impressed by people who take the terribly radical step of living "below their means". I guess our parents forgot to tell us the stories of Christians who took a vow of poverty.

    Regardless, I hope you present this to your congregation as an example, rather than just giving that couple a pat on the head in your elders' meeting.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 6/02/2005 06:37:00 AM  

  • Here's a great link I found on Impact's web site:

    http://www.citiesforchrist.com/

    By Blogger KentF, at 6/02/2005 06:59:00 AM  

  • I love--LOVE--that! Thank you for sharing. I have felt like doing that for a long time. I need to hear more stories of people actually taking that step. Thanks, man.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 6/02/2005 08:42:00 AM  

  • My daughter spent a summer at the Impact church in Houston. She loved the experience, but loved the children the most.

    The experience helped shape her future as she now is Pediatric Nurse in an county hospital.
    I want to be like her when I grow up.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 6/02/2005 09:16:00 AM  

  • By "the metroplex" do you mean Dallas/Ft Worth? Or somewhere else? (Sorry, I know it doesn't really impact the value of what they are doing, but I'm curious about where exactly it is they are going.)

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 6/02/2005 11:24:00 AM  

  • That is awesome, they are great people and I know they will do an awesome job with their hearts and passion for the lost. (And Joyce-they are moving to Arlington). I pray that God blesses them in their ministry as they allow Him to use them for His work!!

    By Blogger Katherine, at 6/02/2005 11:40:00 AM  

  • What? Pats on the head? Is that a westernized interpretation of Romans 16:16? We didn't get that when we left Highland. WHERE'S MY HEAD PAT??!!!

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 6/02/2005 12:32:00 PM  

  • I dunno, Deana ... when Angi and I left town, we asked if the elders would pray for and with us at their meeting Wednesday night, and we got a big group hug. Maybe you and Chad should have asked.

    *SIGH* I miss those guys and their wives and families and everybody else at Highland.

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 6/02/2005 12:52:00 PM  

  • Oh, we got the elders meeting and blessing and group hug and all that. I just want the head pat that is rightfully mine.

    Oh, and we miss them, too.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 6/02/2005 01:01:00 PM  

  • I, myself, am also looking forward to being blessed directly by Casey and Kasey in working with them as colleagues at North Davis...I told them just yesterday that i KNOW God has great plans in store for them and for the kingdom through them!

    By Blogger D.J. Bulls, at 6/02/2005 01:29:00 PM  

  • More! More! More! I love that.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 6/02/2005 01:54:00 PM  

  • I liked Matt's comment. I am amazed at the people who admire our "leap of faith" but don't beleive they could ever do anything like this. I thought that's who we ALL were called to be in this world. We're not here for oursleves!

    I write to you from our mobile home in north Denver and I shamelessly plug Dry Bones once again!

    Hooray for this young couple!

    Hooray for your eldership for blessing them!

    Hooray for Chris and the bone guy!

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/02/2005 11:13:00 PM  

  • i found this statement offensive: "they are choosing to live in a place where very few Christians would want to be - an area filled with poverty, broken homes, and chaos."
    first of all, it implies that most Christians are affluent, which to me is a patronizing, condescending (and false) notion.
    secondly, it implies that only non-Christians experience broken homes, which is another ludicrous (and false) notion.
    thirdly, it implies that only an elite few really dedicated Christians are doing what God would prefer All Christians do, and that is to take some kind of arbitrary vow of poverty.

    all three of these notions are way off-base, and unfairly reinforce the notion that some "callings" and "ministries" are more important than others.

    hogwash.

    By Blogger ed, at 6/03/2005 08:32:00 AM  

  • Ed,
    Mike's a big boy and can well answer for himself without my help, but being the quintessential shrinking violet ;) with foot firmly planted where proverbial angels fear to tread, I'm going to jump in here.

    Is it not possible that there are other interpretations to the statement you found so offensive? Might it not be that there is indeed truth in the statement that very few of us would voluntarily move into an area that is overrun with drug users and pushers, of higher and more concentrated incidences of alchoholism - symptoms of spiritual emptiness that is much more common in the inner cities than in the suburbs?

    Might it not be possible that poverty does breed more in some areas of our cities than in others, and with that poverty come the 'chaos' Mike refers to and mentioned above [drugs, alcoholism, promiscuity,] being far more obvious and in greater percentages than in some of the more 'middle class' neighborhoods?

    Might it not be that one of our callings as God's children is to forsake self and comfort areas, to reach out and move into areas where the presence of God's love is so needed.

    Does that mean these situations do not occur in the more affluent neigbhorhoods? Of course not, or to use your expression, hogwash!

    But is it not to be recognized when a young couple decides their ambitions are to be dedicated to those less fortunate than they, rather than indulging in personal advancement and more creature comforts? I believe so and am convinced that is part of Mike's intention in this praise of this young couple.

    Does this make their ministry more important than others? Of course not, but it doesn't diminish the powerful example they have set for all of us in our ministries. Are we really reaching out to the poor, suffering, troubled, unsaved? Isn't that what we're supposed to be all about?

    I'm praying for your ministry. Sounds as though you might have run up against a roadblock in yours, but God is in charge of all ministries and will bring each one to His fruition and in His timing, and for HIS glory, too. Amen??

    In the Light of His love, grace, and mercy,

    Kathy

    By Blogger Kathy, at 6/03/2005 05:21:00 PM  

  • Kathy, you speak from socio-economic assumptions. It is plain you don't spend much time with the poor, because if you did you would know the truth that we have learned. The urban poor have resources you can't even imagine.

    Let's be clear, poverty stricken areas are not the only places that have problems, and problems are not the only things poverty stricken areas have. They have Jesus.

    Who do you think understands "give us this day, our daily bread" to its fullest extent, a middle class family, or a homeless person?

    Who trusts on God more clearly, a "rich" person needing to find identity and self-actualization through meaningful worship or the poor who need God to provide enough money this month to keep them from getting thrown on the street?

    What do you think Jesus was talking about when he said, "the least of these?" A better question is: would the poor feel valued in your church? Are you willing to change some things so that they do? It seems like Jesus values them to me.

    The poor may not have money, you may perceive "them" as lazy, stupid or abusers of the system, but they know what it means to share, to be community, to laugh, to tell stories, to demonstrate fierce loyalty, to go hungry, to be ashamed of their clothes, to feel unwelcome at church, to trust God, to endure hardships and to love.

    I wish the post had read something like, "This young couple is bravely going to the city to learn from the poor the character and love of God." I applaud this young couple for their 'courage,' 'bravery' and 'faith' to move into the city. They come with the notion they are bringing the light and love of Christ with them. I expect when they get there they will learn a startling truth; Jesus has been there all along.

    By Blogger shane, at 6/07/2005 07:19:00 PM  

  • Hey! An actual difference of opinions! Sweet.

    Ed - I was with you, right up until your third point and conclusion.

    it implies that only an elite few really dedicated Christians are doing what God would prefer All Christians do, and that is to take some kind of arbitrary vow of poverty.

    I don't see what's wrong with saying that some Christians' lifestyles please God better than those of other Christians. Particularly if those Christians are trying to be like Jesus in exceptional ways, such as living in the slums of Calcutta or taking a vow of poverty. Other Christian traditions call these people "saints".

    Along the same lines, I think it's fine to imply that some ministries are more important than others. I'm reminded of one church's "parking lot ministry", in which men with orange batons direct congregants to available parking spaces. I don't think you can convince me that this ministry is on par with a person's ministry to widows or prisoners. I would be thrilled if the leaders of such a church had the gumption to tell all those guys directing traffic: "It's ok to direct traffic, but you would do better to go to the prisons."

    On the other hand, I dig the word "hogwash".

    Kathy - Shane's right. You are being a little condescending. But you make an excellent point:

    Might it not be that one of our callings as God's children is to forsake self and comfort areas, to reach out and move into areas where the presence of God's love is so needed.

    Shane - While you seem to jump to some conclusions about Kathy's experience with the poor, I think you ask a great question: Would the poor feel valued in your church?

    I think the poor are most likely to feel valued in a church that preaches the value of living simply. Not only would this cut down on the number of freakin' Hummers in its parking lot, it would also foster a better understanding of the values you mentioned: loyalty, the ability to endure want, identification with Jesus and dependence on God.

    This, I think, is why a vow of poverty is admirable and not arbitrary.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 6/08/2005 08:49:00 AM  

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