"When you say YES to God’s call, just be ready!"
These are words that I heard many years ago, but they did not carry much weight. Well, for myself, Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 was a life-changing event, and hopefully, it affected the lives of some very good friends. That Sunday was the first time Outreach partnered with Common Ground Northeast and Common Ground Midtown Churches to host a worship service in our Program Center.
The Seed at Outreach
After both churches voiced their eagerness to bring hope to homeless youth through a worship experience, I was given the blessing and the task of doing what I felt God was pressing on my heart. Outreach staff were unanimously in from the beginning. I knew there was something more that we could do to make our young people feel at home in the Program Center. I have had several Outreach friends tell me that they have tried church and it just wasn’t for them. Many of us know how tough it can be to walk into a church for the first time. I have seen the situation play out firsthand. The structure and feel can be intimidating for anyone. That's why it made so much sense to partner with Common Ground to help us make a worship service work in the Program Center. I had just never EVER envisioned myself helping lead a church of any kind! It wasn't until my pastors, Erik and Jeff, helped me see that if you are called to something, God is already qualifying you!
Even though the space is not large, it was perfect for what took place. After volunteers moved furniture around and added 25 folding chairs thanks to our friends at Englewood Church, we now had a home for our new worship space, dubbed The Seed. In attendance, there was a beautiful mixture of current and aged-out Outreach youth. In total, we had 35 people in attendance, including three beautiful families with their babies! Outreach staff and some loving friends from Common Ground Northeast, including Sonna, John, and Dana, helped us get started by leading worship with some beautifully unplugged songs!
This is the seed sown along the path. - Matthew 13: 19
My favorite part of the service was getting to share with everyone how the name for The Seed came about (look at Matthew 13: 1-23). The attendees broke up into small groups and discussed the four seeds that Jesus talked about in the parable. They discussed being a seed on rock, a seed barely growing in a rocky place, a plant growing amongst weeds or a plant/tree bearing good fruit? The discussion was beautiful! Breaking up and sharing will be a constant every time we meet. In my heart, I feel that sharing our stories is so important to our health and healing.
Lastly, we had a meal together because we knew that there were a few people attending that were bypassing dinner at their current living arrangements to come and hang out with us. It was so fun hanging out and eating with everyone! As the group was cleaning up, one of my buddies told me that it was so exciting to know that this could be his "church!"
After it was over, there were quite a few of the youth very excited about next Sunday. I had to let them know we are taking the process slowly. Our current idea for the future is for The Seed to meet again on October 20th. If that goes well, and everyone wants to continue, then the group will begin to meet every other week at 3:00 pm.
We are very thankful for the friends that came to worship, our incredible volunteer team, Outreach staff, Common Ground Northeast and Common Ground Midtown for their support in how God allowed The Seed to be planted on the near east side of Indianapolis.
Anthony Dumas is the Director of In-House Programs at Outreach.