Kids shining the Light lead Jehovah’s Witness out of darkness

By Anthony Banks

In July, Second Baptist hosted a week-long project that had a tremendous impact in our community of Turrell, Arkansas. There are a few testimonies that I would like to share, but first—would you like to know who was behind the Lord’s work? It was kids!  

This summer we hosted our second annual Backyard Bible Club. It was four full days of Bible camp with kids from our church and from First Baptist Church Rogers. In the morning, we taught the kids about the Bible through songs and skits. Then in the afternoon, for three of the four days, we took them out to Help in the Community (what I like to call HIT-C). The kids helped the elderly of Turrell with their chores and yardwork, and they also did other services like washing down the public library. With First Baptist’s 55 kids and 35 of our own, there were 90 kids total learning about the Lord who then went out to serve our community!

But what I think really resonated with the people in our community was how our churches took the kids to knock on doors. At each house we would share the Gospel and pray with them. Together, we knocked on every door in Turrell—and most we knocked on twice! I would say that about 50 percent of the people we spoke with were not in church or were attending another church besides Second Baptist.

Block party 3By the end of the week, we saw 10 professions of faith from knocking on doors! In addition to this, on Saturday members of the Missions Team at the Arkansas Baptist Convention coordinated a block party and medical-dental clinic at Second Baptist. More than 100 people from the community attended, the medical-dental clinic saw 40 patients, and six people received Christ. Praise God!

Now here’s a testimony you need to know, too. Something that God appointed and made happen as a result of our church and First Baptist Rogers coming together to do His work…

While working in the community, one of our groups noticed a man standing on the sidewalk at the post office. A young girl from First Baptist told the chaperone and driver, Bro. Jerry Bolander (and pastor of FBC Rogers), “I want to stop and talk to this man.” When they got out of the car to talk with him, they discovered that he was a Jehovah’s Witness. He was sarcastic with them, so they reluctantly got back in the car and drove to a neighborhood to begin knocking on doors.

Well, the first door they knocked on was this man’s door! But he acted the same way he had before, so the group continued their work. When they told me later about what had happened, they said it was on their heart to go back to his home and talk with him again.

And when they did go back—this time to invite him to Bible study—he was different. He apologized for how he had treated them because he had seen how the kids were doing things for the community. That night he came to Bible study and talked again about his guilt for treating the kids that way. He gave his testimony in front of the group and finished saying, “I’m walking in darkness.”

{ That night he came to Bible study and talked again about his guilt for treating the kids that way. He gave his testimony in front of the group and finished saying, “I’m walking in darkness.” }

I came down from the pulpit and witnessed to him, “If you want to get out of that darkness, Jesus can take you out.” That’s when he received Christ! We all gathered around and prayed for him after. He has asked that I baptize him once he recovers from a recent surgery.

That week a lot of folk, even those who did not receive Christ, responded to what we had done in Turrell. When they saw the way we were serving and knocking on doors to pray with them, they testified, “Nobody has ever done things like you are doing.” I’m praying now that these people will come out to see us at Second Baptist because they know we care about them.

Now we have a vision to go beyond Turrell. Next year we want to do this in Turrell again but also expand to Gilmore by working with our new partner, First Baptist Church Marion. We won’t stop in our Jerusalem; we’re moving now to go to Judea!

Your prayers and giving to the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering support me and my church plant, and we are able to carry out this Acts 1:8 model because of you. And I want to continue going out into my community and neighboring communities—combining efforts with other churches who have the same heart—to reach souls, like the 16 people and the Jehovah’s Witness, who needed to hear the Gospel right here in Arkansas!



A community of strangers

By Andrew Munneke

I have two young boys: Asher who is 3 and August who is 15 months old. It’s needless to say, but our house is a symphony of rambunctious screams, discordant torment, and the occasional plea for a parental figure to come and fix everything. Anyone with young children knows that your house can turn from tranquility to calamity in an instant.

This happened to me one Friday morning. Known affectionately around our house as “Dude Day,” most Friday’s I take the boys to a local bakery for donuts. (Because every “Dude Day” needs an enormous amount of sugar. It’s part of the man code.)

Now I usually have a “no cell phone” rule when it’s just me and the boys, but this particular day my phone kept buzzing with situations I needed to address. So I would glance at my boys, then look down at my phone and type. Glance up—Ok, still eating donuts—glance back down at the glowing screen and keep typing. Glance up, and just like that my 3-year-old had unscrewed the pepper shaker on the table and was pouring pepper all over my donuts. Solid prank, but a terrible seasoning for donuts.

I think for many Christians right now it seems like almost overnight, or a quick glimpse down at our phones, that suddenly everything has changed and we have been pushed into the margins of our culture. Especially here in the South, the church has had a position of privilege within our society, but we are finally realizing an environmental shift has taken place.

But living on the margins of society is nothing new for the church. In fact, the early church boomed within the Roman context in which it lived as a compelling, contrastive community that didn’t seek relevance and conformity as its goal within the culture but sought to challenge and contradict that cultural good. In other words, the church was salt and light living in a decaying and darkening world. 

The Western church has lost that, and we need to get it back.

Moving “beyond” Christianity

It is almost universally acknowledged that we live in a Post-Christian culture. This does not mean that our culture has shifted back to a Pre-Christian worldview but that it has “progressed” beyond Christianity, all while “feasting upon its fruits.” The creed of modern-day progressive elites proclaims the dignity of all human beings, the eradication of poverty, tolerance of all beliefs and worldviews, and the supremacy of science as the sole arbiter of truth.

In this creed it’s clear that there is still a yearning for the Kingdom of God and for shalom to be restored, but there is no mention of Holy God. The foundation of these philosophies is birthed out of the Christian mission and reconciliation, yet there is one major difference: the elevation and reign of the individual will.

{ The creed of modern-day progressive elites proclaims the dignity of all human beings, the eradication of poverty, tolerance of all beliefs and worldviews, and the supremacy of science as the sole arbiter of truth. }

The seeds of the exaltation-of-self began with Descartes, who famously proclaimed that all things must first be assumed as false until they can be proven true with his conclusion of, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes has been called the father of the Age of Reason (the Enlightenment). He sparked the flames of the autonomous self and the idea that the individual, not a deity or even a collective community, determined right and wrong, true and false.

We see how the fruits of this idea really took-off in the 1950s with the rise of consumerism and materialism. Happiness, identity, and prosperity no longer were the reward for hard work and diligence—they could be bought. This rise of the consumerist individual paved the way for the sexual revolution in the 1960s and ‘70s with their sacred cows of abortion and divorce. The goal of life became the pursuit of happiness and pleasure, and because “I determine my own truth through reasoning” was the mantra, no system, government, or religious institution was able to convert them.

The church’s response to this new “culture war” seemed to be running to the courts and aligning themselves with a political party that would seek to enforce a biblical worldview upon those who opposed it. While Christians sought to capture the law of the land, the progressives pursued our imaginations through creative arts and cultural engagement. Entertainment highlighted this new individualized theology with themes of self-discovery through experiment, following passions in the face of opposition, and embracing individuals’ uniqueness. 

{ The goal of life became the pursuit of happiness and pleasure…no system, government, or religious institution was able to convert them. }

These combined ideologies of consumerism and a yearning for self-discovery began to influence how the church “reached lost people.” The goal of churches changed to becoming relevant to the culture. Sermons drifted towards self-help lessons. Churches started marketing themselves using “sales techniques” to differentiate themselves from other churches in town. Even worship songs drifted away lyrically from corporate declaration of praise and morphed into a more personal experience.

Simply put, the culture turned the church into another marketplace, one that sold religious goods and services to the masses, and the result was parishioners who now seek churches to fit their own needs instead of seeking to meet others’ needs (in contrast with the early church in Acts 2:44-45).

But recently the church moved back to the margins of society. How? For the past 40 years, the dominate message the culture has received from the church is “come to Jesus and it will improve the quality of your life.” Yet because the church has certain beliefs that do not hold up to modern sensibilities, casual churchgoers are discovering that identifying themselves with Jesus actually interferes with their quality of their life. 

Now I know I need to clarify what I am saying so that I am not misunderstood. The Gospel most definitely brings joy and an overwhelming affection for Christ. However, to declare “Jesus is Lord” and not “The culture is Lord” costs you something. Only those whose hearts have been captured by the Gospel can truly say, “You can take the world because I have Jesus.” But for those in our churches who have bought into a “prosperity gospel” that says “Jesus will make you happy,” they will leave our churches in droves when a life with Jesus leaves them persecuted instead of happy.

More than a compelling community?

I know for some of you, the current trajectory of the church’s relationship with our culture is a scary reality. However, am I more optimistic than ever for the future of the church if we embrace our role as a compelling minority within our culture! Here are just two reasons why:

1. The church was born and exploded on the margins of society, and it will not die at the margins of society.

In a pre-Christian context, everybody knew that their testimony could end with them losing their life, and in that context the church boomed! This is our heritage. In a Post-Christian context, we have to know that declaring “Jesus is Lord” probably won’t lead to us being killed, but it does mean that we might lose friends, our jobs, and a certain level of approval.

Do you really believe Jesus’s words: “the gates of hell will not prevail against the church”? (Matthew 16:18) If Christ is the one who builds, sustains, and grows the body, then nothing will hold us back!

2. Because of hyper-individualism, the world needs the church.

There has been a saying that “people love Jesus but not the church,” but in a Post-Christian context what we are beginning to see is people love the church but not Jesus. Let me give you an example of this.

A couple of years ago, a movement began in London called The Sunday Assembly. If you walked into one of their services on a Sunday morning, you would see a gathering of hip millennials from all different walks and stages of life gathering for reflection, community, and renewal. The thing is…they are all atheist and agnostic.

{ The Sunday Assembly started from a group of people who wanted the good things about church…this movement has planted 480 churches. }

The Sunday Assembly started from a group of people who wanted the good things about church—community, charitable deeds, being part of something bigger than yourself—but without all of the belief. This movement has exploded to over 480 congregations. You catch that?! This movement has planted 480 CHURCHES because hyper-individualism has left people lonely, lost, and with a yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves. 

One of the reasons why millennials are flocking to church plants and smaller churches right now is because they are yearning to be known and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In other words, they don’t want to be the point of church.

What an opportunity for the church!

Welcoming & transforming

We knew when we planted The Hill Church that there were unbelievers who would not know Jesus until they knew His people first. That means we were to invite them into our community to live life with us, break bread with us, and cry and laugh with us. That’s what discipleship is! We understood that it’s a process and that different people are in different places in their spiritual spectrum.

Have you thought about how Jesus called 12 unbelievers to be His disciples? Then for the next three years of Jesus’ ministry, those disciples came to call Him Lord at different moments in time. Peter was the first of the disciples to rightly see Jesus for who He was. Thomas didn’t fully become a believer until he stuck his fingers through Jesus’ pierced hands. And Judas never confessed Jesus as Lord, but he wanted more of what Jesus could give him rather than Jesus himself. 

{ Jesus called his 12 unbelievers to be His disciples. Then for the next three years of Jesus’ ministry, those disciples came to call Him Lord at different moments in time. }

We have embraced the form of discipleship that we call, “Welcoming and Mutually Transforming.” What we mean by this is that we have a posture of humility, confessing that we ourselves are not perfect, fall short, and that we still need the cross and Christ’s righteousness. We welcome people into our community regardless of if they look like us, talk like us, or even behave like us because some people won’t accept Gods love and grace until they have experienced it through His people first!

All the while, we do not fit-in to our host culture because we are exiles. We live in this “socially awkward” tension because this is not our home. The Apostle Peter described the church as “aliens and strangers in this world.” (1 Peter 2:11)

Therefore, as a compelling community that is different than that of the culture, we must embrace our alien ethic. We must embrace that our church culture lives radically different than the world in how we handle money, sex, and power. And this distinctiveness is a good thing. I like how Stanley Hauerwas puts it:

The church must show the world something it is not—and cannot be—apart from Jesus.

You might be reading this and feel like I did at the donut shop with my boys. A moment ago the world seemed fine, but then you looked up and everything has changed. My hope for this blog is to encourage you! Don’t fall into despair but actually be excited for the potential work that God can do through the church when it is on the margins.

When Israel went into exile in Babylon, God did not tell His people to escape the city and run away from the culture. He told them to seek the welfare and the prosperity of the city. (Jeremiah 29:7)

The church needs to be ambassadors of beauty, stewards of generosity, and cultivators of renewal in the cities and the places they belong. And if we embrace the calling to live in the world for the world, then certainly nothing will overcome the people of God!  

Stepping out

By Izah Broadus 

At New Faith we teach “come to Jesus right where you are, and let Jesus change your life around.” People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door.  

We do outreach events like community dinners, block parties, medical and dental clinics, and other things to have a chance to talk to people. After some events, people want to know when we’re going to do something else. I tell them that if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We don’t get caught up in the stuff. We do this for free to reach lost souls.

Actually, for a lot of people the first thing they say is, “How much does this cost?” and they’re surprised when we tell them, “It’s free, just come.” We see a lot of people at outreach events and then invite them to New Faith. And they come.

Regardless of where they’re at—spiritually or financially—we don’t treat them no different. We treat everybody the same if they drop a quarter or $50 in the offering plate. They fall in love and keep coming back and end up joining.

{ People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door. } 

When I preach, I just compare the Bible and real-life issues that the congregation might be dealing with, and they understand what the problem is about. Like the three Hebrew boys the king put in the fire, I tell them that the fire didn’t destroy the Hebrews. The heat might be turned up in their life, but things that have us bound won’t bind us forever.

West Helena is one of the highest poverty level areas in Arkansas. Within a 20-block radius of the church, there is no gymnasium, no park, no public library. There is nothing for the teenagers. There are no jobs.

Our focus at New Faith right now is to provide things for the community. We live in a community where you can throw a basketball out in the parking lot and kids come out of nowhere because they don’t have anything to do. We want to provide a gymnasium, and we are praying about a park.

There isn’t a local shelter, either. Someone is always at the door of the church when I get out of the car. They want to talk, or they are hungry.

There was a guy eating out of the dumpster over the last few months, and I wanted to share Jesus with him. His name is Arthur, and I just wanted him to know that God still loves him. We invited him into the church a lot because it was cold. This fall, he joined New Faith, and he wants to be baptized!

We’ve made a room upstairs for a library. We are working on opening the room on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays so people in the community can look for jobs.

We are also looking into starting an after-school program, and it will start on February 21, 2017. We are praying for God to provide because we have needs—for more computers, for space, for materials to do things outside with the kids. But what we do have right now are people who love the vision for this. 

The new church van!

We had a need for transportation, and God answered prayer! We were picking up 20-30 people for our church services on Sundays and Wednesdays but didn’t have a church van. We were picking them up in cars and trucks. Me and two more who would pick them up and take them home after service.

By the grace of God, Brother Dave McClung text me one morning and told me he found us a van! He connected me with Pastor Wyman Richardson of Central Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Ark. It was a blessing that we had been praying for, and I cried tears of joy.

God is showing us that He is with us at New Faith if we stay obedient to Him. The name New Faith speak for itself—a new group of people in positions that we’ve never been in before. People stepping out on faith and trusting that God will provide.



Paving the way for the Gospel

By Andrew Munneke

We loved our first location as a church. It was visible, next to a hip coffee shop that everyone knew, and we made that space our own. There was one major problem with it.

We wanted to love and serve our neighbors, but there were no neighbors to love. A church in a shopping center might have increased our visibility, but it prevented Gospel intentionality. We wanted to be in a community that needed our presence, not just our occasional service. That’s because relationships can only be developed in proximity.

So when we moved to our new facility in a neighborhood, it was a very intentional move. The Hill Church has the desire to live incarnationally (read more about our identity here), and we felt that by moving to the neighborhood we were saying, “Here are our neighbors, and we are going to love on them.”

Right next door to us was a community outreach center. They do a lot of serving, but they are rarely served. We wanted to be the ones who served them and without asking anything in return. So we partnered with them and picked a day—a Sunday—for our church to come over, clean their facilities, and serve them.

That day we met a guy who was an atheist. He worked for the center, and he was really taken back and shocked that a church would actually serve them. There were probably 30 of us running around doing chores, and he was like, “Who are all of you? Why are you doing this?” It was such a revolutionary idea to him that we would give up our Sunday to serve them.

{ The community outreach center…does a lot of serving, but they are rarely served. We wanted to be the ones who served them and without asking anything in return. }

Interacting with him, that was the craziest thing for me: He can’t comprehend that a church could love their neighbors? This is something Jesus said that gets stringed and stretched and everyone knows it, but people are surprised when they see it lived out. There’s an issue and a problem there.

I mean, really, who wants to go pick up some trash? Transfer some data? But the impact it had on this man—it was a soul-penetrating.

Our actions broke through some hardness within him. Our actions led to him wanting to meet with us and talk. He had previously had a negative view of the church, but that encounter let him see Christians in a different light than what he had seen before.

If the neighbors around a church don’t know that the church is there for them and loves them, then I would make the argument of Matthew 5:13—the church has lost its saltiness. The whole salt analogy, the whole thing is overplayed, but if there is no preservative from decay in your community then you’re not fulfilling your role.

We balance between Gospel declaration and Gospel demonstration. Yes, we do need to declare the Gospel with our words. How can others believe if they do not hear? The right to be able to speak is awesome, but so is the ability to demonstrate the power of the Gospel.

I think when we go into it intentionally, not to serve for the sake of serving but to demonstrate the Gospel, we are taking part in what the Gospel will ultimately accomplish.


If you went around and asked anyone in the world what the perfect world would be, most people are going to describe Genesis 1 and Revelation 21-22. They will tell you, “No more pain, poverty, widows, orphans, death.” There is an ache there.

If the Gospel tells us Christ is coming and that we will have no more pain, suffering, injustice, sadness, sickness, or death, then one of the most Christian things we can do is to live it—with our words and our actions.

We have this tension. We are called to serve, but not just make people comfortable on their way to hell. We can give them the Good News!

It would not be kind for me to simply give someone bread and feed their hunger. People like this usually have low self-esteem. They have been stripped of their dignity because they can’t provide for their kids or themselves.

If I gave them bread, I might make them comfortable for the next six to twelve hours. But what if I say to someone with a low self-esteem, “Let me give you something that is good for your soul. What if you are filled with so much dignity as a son or daughter of God that you will be filled with more than bread?”

I know I want to serve so that a Gospel conversation can occur. If I don’t, then I’m losing my focus. It’s a pull and push. The conversation with this man, who happened to be an atheist, would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the action.

If we really want to declare the Gospel, then we can by demonstrating it.


The miracle of healing

By Anthony Banks 

My wife and I were cleaning up the church one day when I picked up my little girl and tickled her. She let go of my neck and fell to the floor so hard that it knocked the wind out of her and dislocated her hipbone.

I was standing above her frozen stiff like a deer-in-the-headlights. When my wife walked in, I stopped her and asked her to go back outside. Then I picked up my little girl and closed my eyes. I felt the motion of my hand run all the way down her back and down to her feet.

I did not see what happened because my eyes were closed, but I did feel her body straighten up. I had no control over what happened—it was a miracle. I put her on the floor and asked if she was alright. She said, “Yes sir,” and then I asked, “Can you march and jump for Daddy?” She did, acting like nothing had even happened.

I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and just cried. I said to God, “I saw her bone was out of her back, and I saw what you did.”

After spending a few minutes alone, I went to the sanctuary to wipe down the pews. The Holy Spirit said, “Tell your wife about the miracle that just happened.” Thinking the Holy Spirit just wanted me to share the good news, I said to her, “Listen, I want to tell you something. God performed a miracle with our baby.”

She said, “I know. I saw her bone sticking out and how you ran your hand down her back.” I started crying and praying to God. I knew I wasn’t crazy, but I didn’t know that she had seen.

I believe He was giving me confirmation of what I saw—that He can heal—because later He said to me, “There is going to be healing and restoration in Turrell.” 

We have had some block parties in Turrell so that we can meet people in our community. At the first block party we hosted with First Baptist Church Rogers, I got to see black and white folk from Turrell shaking hands who had never shaken hands before. When I saw this I remembered, He said this restoration is going to happen. I was just sitting there in awe. One guy told me there was a lot of inner-blood between him and another man, and that this was the first time they had talked since. 


We also saw several salvations from witnessing to people at the block party. All of these people are special, but one who comes to mind is a guy who was witnessed to when we knocked on doors. He accepted the Lord and wanted to be baptized. 

I was going to pick him up for church the morning he was to be baptized, and when I got to the house I talked to his dad. I said, “Put your clothes on. Don’t worry about being dressed up, just come because your son is getting baptized today.” 

I saw the expression on his face. He said, “You know pastor, I haven’t been baptized. I was going to be, but then we moved down here to Turrell and haven’t found a church to attend.” I was thinking, Look no further!

So I said, “Why don’t you come and be baptized with your son?” and I witnessed to him. He got up and put his shoes on to come with me, but then we could not find his son. We went on to church, had service, and I baptized the father.

{ I believe He was giving me confirmation of what I saw—that He can heal—because later He said to me, “There is going to be healing and restoration in Turrell.” }

When we were ready to leave, his son walked up. He said he had gone down to West Memphis with some friends, and they left him behind. We went right back in that church and baptized him!

Now every Wednesday and Sunday I pick them up and take them to church with me. I gave them baptism certificates with their names on them, and I see those certificates on their wall every time I visit their home.

Isn’t this what the church is all about—the Lord bringing people to Himself? Heaven rejoices!

Before that first block party, not many people even knew that our church plant—Second Baptist—existed. Nevertheless, today we continue to have visitors come by and worship with us because of that block party.

We have baptized 15 people since we began in March 2016, and many came by Christian experience. We have grown our congregation from zero to about 40+ people. In November 2016, we had 50 people. All praises be to God!


Heart transformations in Fort Smith

By Lee Kemp

This past weekend 1,800 people came to partner with many local churches in Fort Smith for the Acts 1:8 One Day Mission Trip.  We saw 67 people pray to receive Christ on Saturday! I wanted to take a moment and just share four quick highlights of what I saw God do in the hearts of those from Fort Smith who served that day. 

1. Realized the need to minister outside the walls of a church

One of things I heard at a luncheon with Fort Smith pastors after the event was that “we have people ready and wanting to continue serving our city like we did this past weekend.”  Most pastors have a desire to serve outside of the church, but when people tell their pastors that they want to do more for their city, that is on another level!

2. Reminded to serve alongside each other as the body of Christ

The church culture in Fort Smith is sadly one of a “competitive nature.”  It is rare that churches come together to serve as co-laborers in the Gospel.  Last weekend, we saw many churches work alongside each other and have a great time doing it, too.  Hopefully God will continue to work in our hearts to focus on impacting lost-ness in our city!

3. Challenged to share the Gospel for the first time in their locale

I heard one pastor share about how a lady in his church was so excited because she shared the Gospel for the first time.  It is always exciting when we see someone overcome their fear of sharing how Christ has impacted their life!   

4. Accepted Christ as Savior

We had two ladies visit Forefront Church this past week because they came to the block party at Stephen’s Boys and Girls Club.  The coolest part was that one of them prayed to receive Christ Sunday morning!  I am praying more and more stories will trickle-in the next few weeks about how people are going to church for the first time and finding hope in Christ. (I know we have several families coming to visit Forefront this coming Sunday!)

_____    ______    _____

Please be in prayer for the churches in the Fort Smith area as they continue to follow-up and connect with the 1,200 families who have expressed interest in a local church.  Even more, be in prayer for the 67 people (and growing) who are coming to know Christ, and that they will get connected with and be disciple by a local church. 


Sowing seeds with people of peace

By Lee Kemp 

John Maxwell once said that no one succeeds unless a group of people wants them to. I think this is definitely true in ministry because ministry rides or dies on relationships.

Before Forefront became a church, Sarah and I were living in Timberline Apartments by ourselves, and we met a lady named Mrs. Patsy. There are about 1,000 people that live in the apartments, and everyone knows Mrs. Patsy. She has lived and worked at Timberline for 21 years, surviving owners and tenants. She delivers notes for rent, but she is also the apartment watchdog. When she takes her dogs for walks late at night, Mrs. Patsy also carries a baseball bat with her.

Early on, Mrs. Patsy didn’t know what Sarah and I believed in or stood for, but she was glad we were there. She knew we were there for a different reason than just having a place to live.

One day I was talking to a lady in the complex about bringing her kids to our summer program, but I could tell there was a racial barrier. Then Mrs. Patsy walked over to us and said to the lady, “You need to get all your kids to this summer program.” Then she looked at me and said, “This is a good man.” The racial barrier died right there.

You’ve heard it said that someone’s always watching. That’s true if we are planting a church or not because the lost watch all believers. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in peoples’ hearts and minds. Whether we know it or not, the Lord is building those relationships sooner than we might think.

Even so, we have to give it time. Mrs. Patsy had to see some of our events before she accepted that what we were offering was something the people of Timberline Apartments needed.

{ Whether we know it or not, the Lord is building those relationships sooner than we might think.}

Mrs. Patsy was a person of peace in the apartment complex. A person of peace is someone who may or may not have your beliefs, but they are volunteering in the community and trying to make a social difference. They also see your character and believe in you.

Without people of peace, it’s really hard to plant the seeds of the Gospel because the soil will be wrong. And what if that person comes to know Christ? They can help you start a movement!

There are people in your community who have the same heart as you and are already doing things for others. What I have found is that if you link arms with community players already playing and cheer for them then they cheer for you!

There are also gathering places in your community where people already like to go for fun, to relax, and to enjoy each other. When we get involved, we naturally meet people.

If I could plant a church all over again, before trying to gather people for worship, I would have pushed to gather people with different beliefs or who had a heart for social injustice. Then once those people had a chance to receive the Gospel, I would have started a church.

Ben Arment talks about sometimes a church planter has to become a missionary before he becomes a pastor, and missionaries center everything around relationships. If people aren’t ready to gather with you for worship, then maybe you have to cultivate the soil. You go back and focus on developing relationships with people of peace. That way when you gather, you are gathering with people who want to make things happen.

How to look for people of peace in your city:

  1. Focus on the major social injustices of the city
  2. Examine these three questions:
    1. Who’s doing what and for whom?
    2. How good are they at doing it?
    3. What do they need to go to the next level?