Here We Go Again - You Ready?1
Our summer plans didn't go exactly as planned. Back in May we looked forward to a sabbath from serve+share, mentoring, and the chaotic rhythm of the academic year. Our goals were to plan ahead, set new goals for the following school year, rest up, catch our breath, and prepare. As most of you know a minor incident of arson stole the show for about six weeks. Thank you all for your financial generosity in our ReBuild efforts and your continued prayer. The shed fire was a setback. It threw off our rest and rhythm. However, it forced us to ask the question: we ready?
... yes? Well, not really but we're getting there. What is done is a newly launched redesign of our website! If you haven't visited www.bridgecitycommunity.com in a while be sure to check it out today and see the updated design which we are all pretty excited about. We're excited because as we prepare for another year of feeding children, mentoring students, reaching out to drug dealers and reducing violence we discovered something else to rise from the ashes of the fire - a renewed identity. Read below to see what I mean.
Bridge City Community is an urban mission.
We believe and proclaim that the Kingdom of God isn’t segregated, so our churches and communities shouldn’t be either.
Shortly upon my arrival in Chattanooga I observed that racism, prejudice, and inequity continued to exist amidst a remarkable renaissance of eco-tourism and entrepreneurship. I discovered a neighborhood that had been isolated, overlooked, and neglected for so long that poverty, under-education, gang violence, and drug addiction had become normal. Alton Park is 98% black, has the highest percentage of youth under the age of eighteen in the city, the highest illiteracy rate in the county, and a significant number of households run by single mothers.
I am an urban missionary. My experiences in this neighborhood are more akin to an overseas mission than to an American church plant. I live in a strange land where I have had to learn to speak a new language, observe new customs, and earn the trust of a neighborhood to which I am a foreigner. Not only are we preaching the Gospel to a hurting populace, we are also pursuing racial, economic, and educational reconciliation. We are multi-ethnic. We experience the challenges of cross-cultural communication on a daily basis. We have offended and been offended. We have asked for forgiveness and offered it. We feed kids and walk the streets. We reach out to drug dealers and community leaders. We are an urban mission. Truth is you don’t need to travel across the globe to have a mission experience, there are mission fields in all of our cities – Chattanooga included.