There are several streams of ministry desires that have been in my heart for some time. Some seemed more realistic than others. For example, Laura and I have a strong passion for racial reconciliation, but this problem seems so overwhelmingly difficult that I had relegated it to the “would be nice, but…” status. Essentially, the people that I have spoken with who understand this issue well told me that it would be very difficult for a white man to address the complex issues of black America with any degree of credibility. Other areas of ministry, however, seem more probable. I have experience in ministry with college students. I am a musician, so ministry that deals with arts and aesthetics is right up my alley. Mercy ministry is another strong desire, but I want to be a part of mercy ministry that isn’t a ‘commando unit going down to the hood’ mentality. My desire is for something a little more enduring. Beyond this, I have believe that strong community is essential for a true New Testament church.
1. Racial reconciliation
3. College Students
That’s my Christmas list for planting a church. I was beginning to think that I’d have to choose from these which is my highest passion and discard the rest. Until yesterday.
I visited with the Cincinnati Baptist Director of Missions who showed me an opportunity in a downtown area being revitalized with condos and townhouses. It is very close to University of Cincinnati (check) and the Clifton area which has a more artistic flavor (check), about 2 blocks from Music hall (more arts, check), it is in the middle of an impoverished part of town (mercy, check), and a very racially diverse area (check).
Most interestingly, however, is that there is in this neighborhood a predominantly black Baptist church who wants to help establish a white church plant using their facilities. Finally, this condo community is the number 1 priority target for this coming year.
I have been praying that God would confirm for me, by the end of the year 2007, exactly where he wants me to be pursuing ministry after seminary. While this is far from settled, I am thrilled about this opportunity. It seems custom tailored for my particular ministry desires, experience, and skill. Furthermore, I am convinced that racial reconciliation will be a defining issue of American Christianity in the generations to come.
In the meantime, much prayer is needed……….