Working with young adults brings the challenge of journeying through transition stages with this 18-25 age group. Whether they’re in college or already working, it is a time of uncertainty, expectancy, or even anxiety. One of the main themes in my messages is about dreams, life passions, finding our niche. Very recently, God has shown me again the power not just of a dream but the excitement of living it out.
Last November, I was having a conversation with our senior adults pastor about the church that she had attended previously. It is located in East Urbana which is a very volatile section of our cities. I had been noticing through Twitter and newsfeeds that a high amount of crime had been taking place there. It had steadily gone up the past few years at an alarming rate. I began doing a little research about the crime statistics and some of the dynamics for the staggering increases. Over the next few days, through conversations with Pastor Grogan and other staff members, I jotted down many ideas about things we could do to serve our neighbors. Little did I know what was to become the platform of my life for the next 10 months. Dreams are funny in that they’re often:
I was just minding my own business and had only heard rumors about East Urbana because I’m hardly in that area. It did bother me, living relatively close by, that I would hear police, fire, and ambulance sirens at all hours of the night. Then I started reading police reports and noticing how close they were getting to home. It was strange that my response wasn’t fear but more of “We’ve got to do something about this!” The AHA moment when David got fed up about a giant blaspheming God and mocking his king. As his brothers taunted him, he responded “Is there not a cause?” All of the sudden, a passion rose up in me to see change take place in people’s lives—the lives of our neighbors, people who many fear and have forgotten. It became a priority to help convey that there is hope.
This is where it gets complicated. While people were saying my 8.5×11” sheet of paper filled with scribbled notes was a great idea, I intended it to be a great idea…for someone else. I didn’t want to take that on. Of course, I pledged my support, and was willing to recruit volunteers. But I had no intention of overseeing it. Panic ensued. Great, God. Another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.
But accidents often are remarkable answers to other prayers (a topic for later). Little did I realize the journey I was about to enjoy by trying to put pieces together. Doors began to open. Offers of help from people and organizations we’d never heard of before. It was what I referred to as a series of “accidents” or situations that I stumbled into realizing again and again that God was giving us favor. He didn’t just get us involved in some hair brained scheme but was actually providing literally everything and more than we needed. Watching God surprise us was amazing enough. But seeing the fruits of seven months of labor was so gratifying, knowing that lives were touched, needs were met, and folks were introduced to Christ.
It was a great run during the summer. But Inspire Urbana is not over. To the contrary, it is only beginning.
TO BE CONTINUED…