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Would You Move After a Shooting On Your Front Lawn?
Image: Courtesy of ginnerobot / flickr.com

Would You Move After a Shooting On Your Front Lawn?

How we came to answer the question in Memphis.

In brief, we decided to "Choose901."

It was a little over a year ago that this phrase, Choose901, became a part of our vernacular in Memphis, whose area code is 901. Since then it has picked up steam, enjoying its own website, Twitter account and hashtag, and merchandise. The website is a one-stop shop for learning and loving Memphis. The tagline? "We choose Memphis and think you should too."

This mentality has taken my family from unpacking our U-Haul with trepidation to tearing up at the thought of leaving. There is a brotherhood here, a sense of being on a team. And the church—through local congregations, parachurch ministries, and nonprofits—is appropriately leading the charge.

Culture of Collaboration

I don't want to paint too rosy a picture. The city still needs education reform, still bares the scars of racial prejudice, and still has too much crime and corruption.

But it is precisely because of the city's past that its future is bright. There's nothing like a foxhole to bring two soldiers together. Likewise, there's nothing like a broken, hurting city to unite the church. I've observed the body of Christ at work in numerous cities in numerous countries, but I've never seen a culture of collaboration like the one in Memphis.

I've seen churches co-hosting guest speakers for discipleship conferences, marriage retreats, and training events. I've heard pastors praying with and for other congregations and filling in each other's pulpits. Organizations often share their pool of staff and volunteers. Churches give platforms to organizations and parachurch groups that are excelling in certain areas of ministry. Parachurches explicitly tell churches that they will close their doors if the local congregations no longer want them around.


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Comments Are Closed

Displaying 3–5 of 5 comments

Bobby Harrison

October 24, 2013  9:53am

If not the Seville's of the world, then who? Who will answer the call? My hurt hearts with fear for that family. But you know what, it should hurt even more for any neighbors God has put around them that don't know Christ. That is True Love. I'm chewing on John 10:11, 15:13, Romans 5:7, 1 John 3:16. And even if my heart was so hard that I couldn't allow myself to consider my neighbors there my brothers and sisters...even if, because of the bullets flying around my home, I considered them my enemies...well then we know what Jesus has to say about that: Matthew 5:43-48. Praying for you and your family, Jason. Thank you for rugged, real faith.

Teresa Ulrich

October 23, 2013  9:01pm

I moved here to Memphis three years ago, and have fallen in love with this city. This city can be so rough, but it's got so much grit and heart, and I see the Kingdom blossoming here. It is reminiscent of Jesus' words in Isaiah 61:1-3: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."

Charles Cosimano

October 23, 2013  12:09pm

In other words you are willing the risk the life of your family for this committment. Perhaps you should consider a committment of a different kind.


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