On Tuesday we had the privilege of having the staff and their families from Mack Avenue Community Church from Detroit http://www.mackave.com/ (also see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126142947448500607.html ) spend the day with us. We were able have them experience SpringHill, meet staff, discuss their and our ministries but most importantly we had the opportunity to hear from them how we could serve them as they carry on their work.
And I want you to know that this team, Eric and Sara Russ, Leon and Rebecca Stevenson and Eric and Keltie Nielson are inspiring. People worth following and emulating. Here are a few reasons that I and our staff finished our day with these folks both inspired and challenged.
First, they have heeded a call to serve people and an area of our world that has, in many ways, been abandoned. They believe in the Biblical truth that all people are created in the image of God and thus there are no insignificant people. Even those whom the world has abandoned.
Secondly, they are doing their work by moving in, living with and amongst those whom they are serving. I call this living incarnationally, following John 1:14 where “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Literally “made His dwelling” means to pitch a tent. This is what these friends have done- “pitched their tents” among those they are serving in an “abandoned” part of Detroit.
Thirdly, they are reflecting a holistic view of the Gospel. Their work is both physical and spiritual. They are treating their neighbors as physical, emotional and spiritual beings working to meet their needs at each level following the example and command of Christ (Matthew 25 and 28).
Fourth, the leaders of Mack Avenue are doing all their work within, as they themselves called it, a Biblical centric approach. They are working to stay true to solid theology about missions, ministry and living.
Finally, they exude both a humble spirit balanced with a confidence in Christ that is both refreshing and compelling.
One challenge they gave us, which is still ringing in my ears, is that Christ has called us to be the voice to those with no voice. This is a simple stewardship issue. Most of us, probably everyone reading this blog, has a voice in this world because of the place God has put them. Like any resource God has entrusted to us we are to use it to meet the needs of others who do not have it.
I, and the staff of SpringHill, want to give voice to all the kids and young people of the world who do not have a voice. By being God’s image bearers all kids are created to have a voice of their own. We want to help them find that voice and to use that voice to sing for and to the glory of God.