“Seed Stories: Part VI”

The following was submitted by a friend and fellow tribesman Ben Cheek, who is living incarnationally in New Jersey and started a “Metropolitan Resource Team” for the New York metro area. He wouldn’t tell you this, but his church network, along with the Bronx Fellowship (led by Jared and Hylma Looney, Malissa Endsley and others), and several networks of house churches in NYC neighborhoods, is probably the fastest-growing church planting movement with roots in the churches of Christ. He also has superb Web publishing and writing skills, so go check out his spiritual formation Web site. But first, read his synopsis of just some of what God is doing through a few young, inexperienced, normal followers of the Way in a really, really big city.

MetroSoul: Awaking a Movement in the City that Never Sleeps

How do you reach a city system that covers 10,000 square miles and is home to 25 million people from hundreds of cultures speaking over 150 languages? The answer is you act like Jesus. MetroSoul is a Metropolitan Resource Team (MRT) for the New York metro area. It is our dream to catalyze a movement of church planting in the city, and we plan to do this by being Jesus to each other and our communities.

We do this by investing in people, just like Jesus invested in his disciples. People like Jason: Jason was unchurched when he and his family met people from one of the Bronx churches. It was the only church in their neighborhood, so they thought they’d give it a try. The church, which met in an apartment, provided a place of warmth and acceptance. They shared their lives with Jason’s family which led to growth. Soon, Jason’s marriage was doing better, his kids were healed of some serious health issues, and he became the leader of a church in his apartment so he could reach his friends and family.

Jason’s story was not due to dynamic programming, excellent teaching materials, or a highly professional staff. It was accomplished by the body of Christ behaving like Christ. In this same way our churches are reaching poor and working class people who are overworked and systematically oppressed by the economic engines of the city. We’re healing war refugees who have escaped brutal genocides and recovering addicts who have totally lost themselves. We’re helping immigrants from many ethnicities through culture shock and family decay. In the last year we’ve started six of this type of church in addition to the four already spread throughout the metro, and we’re steadily finding people of peace who help us begin more. We can reach and change the city by the simple yet radical focus of getting so into Jesus that we join him in his identity and mission in both who we are as individuals and as communities of faith.

Source: Ben Cheek, http://metrosoul.org.

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