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Repaving the Jericho Roads


Walking into the Grand Ballroom for Movement Day 2019,  I had no idea what to expect, as I had only signed up a few days prior.  I quickly discovered this wasn’t meant to be a simple meeting of a few churches. This was a call to action; an attempt to ignite passion for maintaining the unity of the church by and through serving the city and community that we call home. The entire day was spent in worship, prayer, and listening to leaders from not only Charlotte, but across the country, get real about the church and the city.


Casey Crawford, CEO of Movement Mortgage, shared a story of his father who owned a hardware store in Washington DC. It was considered a more “unsafe” part of the city. His father felt called to keep the shop there, even after lying face down on the floor with a gun pointed at the back of his head while being robbed.


All of this was a pre-cursor to the main idea of his message: Repaving the Jericho roads of the city. Looking to Luke 10:25-37, Christ speaks of the parable of the Good Samaritan. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was dangerous and difficult.  Those of high standing, like a priest, moved to the other side of the road to Jericho and passed by the man, it was the Samaritan that had compassion for the man.


He stopped, and he helped. He took action.


All of this culminated to a simple question asked by Casey:


“What Jericho roads do you walk, but choose not to repave?” 


It was a piercing question, no doubt. But the beauty of it is that it makes you stop and think. It demands a response. It may even result in a next step. Personally, it brought me to these verses in James:


"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17


At first glance, this seems like an odd verse. Let’s be clear - works do not justify you or make you righteous, and James is not saying that either. He is saying, however, that if we are truly being filled with the Spirit sent to us by Christ and have been engaged at the core of our souls by the Gospel message, then we should ultimately be showing love to others as the outworking of our faith.  


So now here I stand, at the intersection of James and Jericho. But not only I, but thousands of other followers of Christ who are learning and discovering what the deep-rooted struggles and often saddening realities that Charlotte faces, but who are also rejoicing and champing the power and calling of the Church to change it.


Here are just a few take aways of other Redemption Members who attended Movement Day.


Each of us had a personal message laid on our hearts during the gathering. These individual takeaways are just pieces of the larger, overall message of MD2019:


“For the Church to most effectively meet the needs of Charlotte, we must first know and love our city.” The greatest call to action is simply to act.


Imagine “If the Church was known by what it is for?” If we believe the Greatest Commandment (love God, love others) and the Great Commission (make disciples), then by the outworking of faith through love, the Church should be known for such. This is what James was getting at – faith without works lies empty and is but a shadow of true saving grace experienced through faith and the fruit it produces.


Getting Practical / Application


So, let’s bring all of this down to ground level and get practical. Mission and community are two of our core values at Redemption, and we believe Redemption has been missionally called to the uptown Charlotte area and Dowd YMCA to serve the community and be a presence for Christ.  


Mission


To that end, I do want to share with you how the Redemption family is engaging the city right now.  We gather in the Dowd YMCA because we want to reach and build relationships with the thousands of members who enter through the doors every day.  This is more than a space to worship, it’s an active mission field. Beyond the Dowd YMCA, many of our members, staff, and leadership are involved in ministries and organizations that are actively serving and engaging specific needs and challenges throughout the city.


These are five great ways to get involved by using your hands and giving your resources to further the Kingdom and serve specific, actionable needs in the city of Charlotte.


Faith Liberation Church
Justice Ministries
Men’s Shelter of Charlotte Food Serving
New Leaf Foundation
West Blvd. Ministry

 

However, it doesn’t stop with just mission. If you see a Jericho road, or have a calling that you would like to pursue but don’t know where to begin, ask those around you to come alongside you and support you in that calling. We’re built to care and serve alongside one another (and serve each other). Establishing a healthy rhythm of serving (and serving others) turns our focus away from our own selves and to Christ, which allows us to intentionally live out the parable of the Good Samaritan and care for one another.

 

Through all of this, it is incredibly easy to put emphasis on mission of the outward community and sometimes overlook the community right beside of us. No matter if it is Paul or James, the Church in Corinth or Ephesus, the Church is called to love so that the body works together and grows (Ephesians 4:16).  If you haven’t heard from someone in a while, check in on them. If someone asks for help or for prayer, go to them. If you see someone who you don’t know, talk to them. The Church dives deep, it goes out of its way, it puts others over self. Fight to maintain that in your life. Fight to maintain unity, to live life together, to lean in when it would be easier to lean out.    

 

It is at the individual level that change happens. Each member, working together, to build up one another. Let’s continue to seek the welfare of our community, the church, and the city. Let’s live for and in Christ, so that the world may know the goodness of the Gospel through the outworking of faith in love.

 

-Alex


Alex has been attending Redemption Church for almost three years.  He is the First Impressions Director and is a part of Center City Community Group.