Sometimes I am caught up in how hard and messy things are–not just globally seen through the lens and posts of social media, but in real lives and in the actual neighborhood where I am ministering. I remember the constant calls to go . . . go . . . go in my Bible College days. Youth. Youthfulness. Excitement. Passion. I remember. Every altar call. Every deeper-life conference. Every mission conference. Chapel after chapel. Go! Go! I am wondering why there isn't a line of young people, college aged, passion-filled Christians lining up to minister where I am ministering–one of the poorest, most under-resourced neighborhoods in New England? Where's the line?
I love this neighborhood. I love the people in the Hill. But sometimes I feel so overwhelmed; it even got to me during service yesterday. Almost didn't get through the benediction after singing Kirk Franklin's "My World Needs You." Strangely, my mind as we closed drifted off to a scene in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: Two Towers where Sam Gamgee says "It's all wrong . . . we shouldn't be here."
I am overwhelmed at the task. But the love of Christ compels me to go . . . well, to stay and to bring the gospel where I now have been planted. God so loves the community here, the Hill, that he would build his church in its midst and call many to know Jesus and the forgiveness of sins.
Sam's words are for those called to the humble but selfless mission to save others no matter the cost to themselves; to church planters planting churches in uncool and messy places on this globe and in places like the Hill.
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.