Kingdom Building in the Slums

Fresh out of seminary armed with a vision and a heart for souls you hit the ground running in the community to which you are called. Hopefully, you build a pretty solid foundation over several years and before you know it, your church plant is growing.

Chances are, that’s your dream. No fault in dreaming. I’m sure many, if not most, church planters have had a similar dream at some point. It’s easy to dream that way. And that’s certainly reality for a few. 

There’s a segment of ministers, however, who dream differently.

This segment of planters and/or pastors long to reach the lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor. In other words, the least likely for astronomical growth and self-support segment.

I have some experience in this area. I serve in a church that my dad planted almost 20 years ago in what would be considered a bad part of town.

Our church is in that part of town where you catch someone breaking into a parishioners vehicle during a worship service. It’s also that part of town where families turn up in droves to receive food assistance four times a week.

We’re still there–offering emergency assistance and attempting to meet the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs in one area of Chattanooga, Tennessee’s inner-city.

There are ministries who are attempting to offer the same kind of aid in more desperate parts of the world.

Living Bread Ministries is one such group. Living Bread’s mission is to plant missional churches among the global poor and equip them to care for their communities.

Specifically, Living Bread reaches out to the favelas or shanty towns of Brazil.

Ever heard of Brazilian shanty towns? The best favela in Brazil would make Chattanooga, Tennessee’s worst housing project look like Beverly Hills. Take our most crime-ridden housing project and subtract running water, electricity, police presence, and basic building structure.

According to LBM’s founder and president G. Patrick Hubbard, there is no organized vision to plant churches among the very poor. But, he continues on his blog, “there should be.”

Rather than focus on what the global church isn’t doing, however, let’s focus on what Hubbard and Living Bread are doing.

Since 2004, LBM has planted eight missional churches among the urban poor in the least evangelized region of Brazil. According to its official website, however, one of LBM’s goals is to spark a global movement for church planting among the poor and needy.

In other words, Hubbard and Living Bread are all about advancing the Kingdom of God in the farthest reaches of the earth.

There was someone in the Bible who had a similar purpose. His name was Jesus.

In one of the premier Messianic prophecies, Isaiah penned the words:

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.“

In the book of Luke, Jesus took the pulpit of the local synagogue and read that very scripture to the religious crowd. The crowd promptly ran him out of town and would have killed him then and there had God’s plan allowed.

While the crowd was ticked at Jesus’ assertion that He was the fulfillment of that prophecy, outreach to the poor has never been popular among the overly religious.

True Kingdom building is an uphill battle and Living Bread is building the Kingdom in some of the least evangelized and most desperate parts of our world.

That’s God’s dream.

Visit livingbread.org. Look at, pray for, and consider supporting the work that Patrick and Barbara Hubbard are doing among the desperately poor. 

Revival: Is it in you?

Revival is a word that always conjures up many different emotions in my spirit and my mind.

On the physical level, my mind automatically shifts to thoughts of consecutive nightly worship services and anointed preaching. That thinking then leads to thoughts of long services, lack of rest, and the eventual loss of my voice from leading worship.

My spirit-man, however, skips past the vocal labor of leading worship 11 times in 10 days (we sing a minimum of 30 minutes in every service), how tired we eventually will become, or the length of the service. Indeed, the spirit inside of me jumps for joy at the prospect of a renewed focus and a revived heart.

After experiencing in a time of revival 12 of the last 14 days, my voice is certainly in recuperation mode, but my spirit-man is rejuvenated. I’d dare to say he’s doing cartwheels at the moment.

Until you know what it’s like to give of yourself, your talent, and of the anointing God has placed in your life, only to have it completely renewed and ready night after night for nearly two weeks, you can’t completely understand the level of revival I’m talking about.

God has called us, as carriers of the anointing, to have revival inside of us.

It’s one thing to hear an awesome sermon, have it speak directly to you and be renewed in your mind, body, and spirit. But it’s an entirely different thing to carry revival and have it constantly renewed by seeking after God.

In 2 Chronicles 34, the story of Judah’s King Josiah is told. Josiah took the throne at the age of eight. Verse three of that chapter explains that at the age of 16, eight years into Josiah’s reign, he began to seek God. The second half of that verse says that four years after he began seeking God, Josiah started one of the greatest times of revival in Judah’s history.

King Josiah began tearing down the altars of the false gods and centers of idolatry that had caused the people of Judah to stray. From that starting point, Josiah then began repairing the temple of God that had fallen into a state of disrepair after 100 years of neglect.

The repair of the temple led to the recovery of the Book of the Law. The finding of the Torah led to Josiah’s reinstatement of the Covenant Law, which led to the most complete observation of the Passover in 400 years!

Talk about a revival!

The greatest revival in Judah’s history began with Josiah seeking after God in the four years prior to the beginning of the revival. The revival began in Josiah’s life.

It all started with a king’s dedication to God.

Is it in you?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5kiBWjXfWs