So I went for a walk along the bike path today…it was teeming with people. I also walked along Division Ave. and talked to Weima at the Sierra General. We talked about the church and about the CrossWinds Academy of the Arts, she said she will be sending Denise. We talked about Bikes, J and Haylee were flying around on theirs, Denise was struggling on hers. Together Weima and I determined that it was too small for her and she would need a new one. Then the kids and I walked home and discovered a little oasis in the city…well a dirt oasis anyway. A dirt track for bikes between factories with jumps and everything, the kids loved it. Everywhere I went ministry ideas sprang out. Could we do a bike path Bible school? Would the boys and girls playing along the path like to come to the Music academy? What would happen if we repaired bikes? All kinds of ideas. None of which came to me while driving through the neighborhood I have lived in for ten years. It took a walk. Maybe this is why Jesus did not own a car.
The thing is God does not think like I do…and maybe once a year or something I stumble (through no fault of my own) onto something that God is doing….So this article really spoke to me: Click.
But the Kingdom is often (usually) counter-intuitive. Sometimes, what we consider “good stewardship” is actually disobedience. Leaders, money, opportunities, reputations, connections- we hold tightly to these things because we don’t want to be irresponsible. But what if God wants us to put all of our eggs in one basket? What if God wants us to have three churches in a five-block radius?
Sometime I think that the whole CrossWinds thing is counter-intuitive…its a good thing that I know it is of God. When I read articles like the one above it is like reading the by-laws of the experiment. That is a lovely thing, because maybe, just maybe we are not crazy. Maybe we are just called. How counter-intuitive is that?
Ed Stetzer once said in some book or another that we must break drown the un-biblical notion that there is a difference between Missions in a foreign land and Evangelism in the American church. I pray that we will recognize this truth at CrossWinds. We would do well to look to history and the sacrifices and work of the missionaries of the past and ask if we are willing to be committed like they were committed. I found these quotes from a couple of missionaries to the African continent two centuries ago. When I read them I am so inspired. I want God to give me this kind of passion for Godwin Heights
“Within six months you will probably here that one of us is dead. When the news comes, do not be cast down; but send someone else immediately to take the vacant place” -Alexander MacKay
MacKay was a missionary on a team of eight to Uganda: Within a year all were dead except MacKay, he died 11 years later laboring in Africa.
“Let a thousand fall before Africa is given up.” -Melville B. Cox
These were Cox’s dying words. He died four months after arriving in Africa.
Am I willing to lay down my life for Godwin Heights? Am I willing to dies here? I pray that the Lord will make me willing.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. -2 Timothy 4:6-8
So he is not from our tribe, and I have had issues with him since he senselessly ripped on Mark Driscoll at Exponential 2007, but this seems to be the proverbial case of the blind squirrel finding the nut.
“A true biblically functioning community must include being multiethnic. My heart beats so fast for that vision today. I marvel a how naive and pragmatic I was 30 years ago.” Bill Hybels
“They were no good onstage when they
went there and they were very good
when they came back.”
~ Bruno Norman quoted in Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell
He is referring to the Beatles who had been
playing in Hamburg, Germany for seven years
before they came back to England and began
their rise to fame. By the time they had their
first burst of success in 1964, the Beatles had
performed live an estimated 1,200 times. It
took ten years and nearly 10,000 hours of
practice and performance before one of their
greatest artistic achievement—Sgt. Pepper’s
Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sometimes mission is like a Beatles’ song I guess…it takes time. My we remember this as we serve Jesus.
Welcome to the CrossWinds Experiment. CrossWinds is a churchplantmissionarychurchthingy (it sounds likes it is spelled) in the Godwin Heights area of of Wyoming MI. It is an urban area with suburban architecture. This means we have the problems like the gangs and the poverty without the trendy coffee shops and the ubiquitous yuppies. This area is 60 percent latino, but there are at least 40 other countries represented here as well. Right now the biggest influx is people from Burma. White people are leaving and they don’t really come around so much anymore unless they have lived here all their life (or need a used car). At any rate I grew up here. For a little while I moved away but after our first baby we moved back. There are a few churches here but honestly most of them died years ago…but they have not noticed yet.
I am that weird kid that always dreamed of living and ministering in what we call lovingly “the ‘Hood.” So here I am. But it is a strange ‘hood for the aforementioned reasons and others. This is a neighborhood in radical transition. The middle class and home owners are fleeing and the lower income and the renters are moving in. In addition to that there is a rapidly accelerating immigrant population, who come not only from far places but far away from the faith. Typically this is not the kind of neighborhood the “man” tells you to plant a church in. Prevailing denominational thought is that the best places to plant churches are in growing middle class neighborhoods, when you do this, churches grow, it does speaking pragmatically work. The thing is that people in Godwin Heights don’t fit into the categories. They still need Jesus. So what to do? In our case we planted a church anyway.
There are no books, there is no conference, there has been little support. This is one big experiment. We could not find a book on reaching immigrant Mende from Sierra Leone in the bookstore or the Library…So we are writing the book. Maybe not on pages yet but with our lives. It’s the CrossWinds Experiment and it is what this blog is about. The little and giant steps we have taken and are taking to bring Jesus to Godwin Heights. This blog is not really about me but about Jesus…and about my partners in crime who claim that Jesus and I have “wrecked their lives.” They say that because it seems when they spend too much time working close to me it ruins them for the middle class life and the white picket fence dream. So they tease “Jesus and Dave Drake wrecked my life.” But I think to the person they would say it has been a beautiful wrecking. And as much as they tease, I am not the wrecker, I was just here first. I had to be wrecked too. So welcome to this blog. Here we will tell our stories and share our dreams and all the giant mistakes (mostly mine). The hope is that you will be inspired. The hope is that you will see Jesus. The hope is that you too might join the Fellowship of the Wrecked.