By Jordan King
Dear Friends and Family,
I was driving through the southeast side of Wichita a few days ago in a neighborhood called Plainview. It was eye opening to see the poverty and lack of churches in the area. In this section of town poor white, Hispanic, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Lao, and African all live in one neighborhood. When we think of the Great Commission we often think outside the United States; yet right here in a small Midwestern city we have the world.
While driving I noticed a little church, one of the few in the neighborhood, a small Cambodian church. The thing that caught my eye was the church building. Oftentimes when we look at church we expect something to draw us in – beauty, simple elegance, or something attractive. This church lacked all of these qualities. To tell you the truth, this church was nothing more than half a trailer repainted with a cross and a small sign. That small church will never draw a single individual into their doors because of how it looks.
How does a church in a poor neighborhood like Plainview grow? What makes a church a church? Why would we even look at a neighborhood like Plainview and say, “This would be a good place to plant a church.” The simple answer is that we are called to the urban poor to establish God’s Kingdom in areas that are neglected, forgotten, laughed at, and considered urban blight. Whole neighborhoods are wished away by many people because they think of these neighborhoods like a disease.
That small church in Plainview will grow only because God is at work, only if people come to a real saving knowledge of Him. No one will go to that church because of its kids programs, or great worship music. The only way that church will grow is if the people inside that church share the love of Christ with their friends, family, and neighbors. This is how churches in urban contexts grow!
When we look at neighborhoods like Plainview we see potential. We see churches started, families changed, neighborhoods changed, because of the light of Christ. We see potential in those who are working menial jobs, but have a heart for the Lord. God can and will accomplish His will. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether our faith is big enough to believe that God can transform. When I wonder and doubt the limits of what God can accomplish, I remember a few things. God took our family who are not much, and moved us to the inner city. He brought our family through moves, cancer, and everything in between. God is faithful and will accomplish His will, and He will take the broken, poor, and forgotten and will build His church with them! Thank you for praying for us, and continue to pray for neighborhoods like Plainview, that they would see the light of Christ.