In addition to serving my congregation, I act as co-chair of the outreach committee for my neighborhood, which puts me in touch with the needs of 54,000 people. Our committee serves the neighborhood in various ways. We made reusable bags that promoted the Neighborhood Council and green living. We planted new trees. But, most importantly, we helped the neighborhood become a community. Through energizing social events like the annual Thai New Year Festival and developing the East Hollywood Art Cycle, we were able to help people spend time with their neighbors. This role enabled me to invite the church to the "party" that the city hosted, as we sought to see God's kingdom become a greater reality in our neighborhood.
I often wonder how our neighborhood would be different if God's reign was established here. I certainly haven't seen that yet, but I think I've glimpsed it. And that always reignites my passion for serving as a chaplain to my neighborhood.
-J. R. Woodward, cofounder of the Ecclesia Network in Hollywood, California.
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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