Quiet Impact of Churches

Quiet Impact of Churches

Churches appear to be on the downslide—or that’s what recent headlines would make the public think. There is evidence to buttress such views, from a widespread decline in attendance to the stomach-turning sexual abuse cases and other scandals afflicting Christendom.

Quiet Impact of Churches blog post by Ken Walker Writer. Pictured: Empty church pews with light from stained glass windows shining on them.Yet, it’s worth noting that even non-believers appreciate the value of churches and the attendant stability, social value, and intangible benefits they bring to a community.

When I wrote a story last fall about a new church plant in Kansas City, I was taken with the non-traditional way the young couple were helping revitalize the neighborhood where they live.

Not only were they opening a coffee shop as a neighborhood hub, they planned an apprenticeship program at the business for teens from foster families getting ready to age out of the system. That will provide job skills for these at-risk youth, who often lose their support network when they turn 18.

Neighborhood Needs

What caught my attention during an interview with Co-Pastor Justin Roberts was his mention of the neighborhood coalition they had joined that is seeking to revitalize the area.

When he and wife Samantha, who together adopted a boy they had been fostering, joined the group, members outlined three major needs for the community:

1) youth activities,

2) more businesses, and

3) a faith community, since Catholic, Baptist and other area churches had closed in recent years.

“They recognize the importance of what a faith community brings,” Roberts told me. “My wife and I said, ‘We check all those boxes. We have something for youth, we love on our neighbors, and we plan to open a local business that will bless the community.’”

The Work Continues

Coffee grounds in an espresso portafilter.Since the coffee shop is just getting off the ground after services launched on Easter in a nearby community center, it’s hard to say what kind of impact Neighbors Coffee will make on the city.

Still, I’m eager to see what happens with this innovative outreach, the kind that often don’t attract front-page headlines.

Such stories give me hope that the good work of God’s church will continue regardless of the storms raging around it.

Another example is the recent story I wrote about a church in West Virginia. It has offered meeting space to what will hopefully soon become the state’s first high school for students in recovery from addictions.

King’s River Worship Center in St. Albans has reserved space in its Community Bridge facility for the school, whose launch is dependent on grant funding needed to hire a principal.

A community relief organization that originally began as an outreach to foster families, Community Bridge took off in the midst of the pandemic and became so successful it now has more than 190 partnering organizations. That includes more than 40 churches.

A Bridge to Hope

In fact, the food, clothing and other relief offered mushroomed so dramatically that two years ago the church added $280,000 to its mortgage in order to erect the shell of an 8,000-square-foot distribution center on another part of its property.

Relying mostly on volunteer labor for completion of the building, the center opened last year, with Community Bridge incorporating as a 501-c-3 nonprofit.

That facility will house the Bridge to Hope Academy, which in addition to classes will offer individual, group and family therapy.

“Our vision is to be part of the answer,” said Lead Pastor Chris Kimbro, whose facility already hosts recovery groups and other services for people struggling with addiction. “If we don’t come together to bridge the gaps, nothing’s going to change.”

Fortunately, God’s people are there to help produce tangible results.

One Response

  1. Pat HOlland says:

    That is a great mission!

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