This is the article I wrote for UC’s November Newsletter, it is the followup to the September newsletter, whichI posted here titled “Where are we going?”
I have been asking groups these four questions:
What do you love about your family?
What do you love about your home?
What do you love about your church?
What do you love about your community?
The answers weren’t surprising. From high school students to church congregations, they love all the parts that we would want them to love. Maybe they love the same things you love. At the top of the list were security, comfort, knowing you are supported and being loved.
The problem is that in a neglected community we can’t see much to love. Homes are unstable. Families are broken. Churches are divided. Schools are failing. The parts to love are hidden. Visitors to the community don’t see wholeness and comfort and joy. Instead they see pain and abandonment. Sometimes those of us who live here can’t even see past the troubles.
You may know that we recently transitioned into focusing not only on children and families but also larger community development. What has surprised me during this transition is not the neglect or pain. I see that every day. I see men and women struggling to find self-worth, wishing they could provide for themselves and their families. I see the brokenness. The thing that caught me off guard was how God was moving ahead of us.
I hear about groups of community members who want to volunteer their gifts. I hear of an OSU professor who wants to use our neighborhood for a “healthy community project”. I hear of a block watch looking for people to help with debris removal. I hear of neighbors grateful for our team of volunteers serving because they thought they were the only ones who cared about their street. I hear of organizations wanting to expand existing neighborhood events for more fun in the community. I hear of community-minded believers in Jesus who are looking for people who think like them.
This community is lovable. Maybe it’s not always visible, but God is moving here and we are blessed to be on board.