Someone wrote a story that included St. Jude’s…

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/stw/2012/10/01/strategies-for-congregational-growth/

We are the final segment. Thanks, Veronica!

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Why I introduced more color into my worship…

What I learned from the Black church: If it doesn’t make me want to dance…and shout and speak in unknown tongues and challenge my life it wasn’t church. Church should remind me that, no matter what is in the news or what my problems look like, God is for us not against us. It is the God who lifts up His people we are worshiping.

What I learned from the White church: If it doesn’t make me think and want to know more of God it wasn’t church. I should need a pen to write down something from the Scriptures and have an insight to apply to my life and want to share with friends…it is the God who revealed himself through His word and in the narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and homecoming we are worshiping.

What I learned from the Latino church: If it doesn’t make me use my entire body it wasn’t church. I should be called to his sacrifice on my knees with hands outstretched to receive. I should remember that God is both bigger than my brain yet as simple to appropriate as “Take. Eat. This is my body…” It is the God who is unspeakably huge and holy, yet intimately incarnate with us we are worshiping.

I could go to church with people who all look like me. My spiritual life would be infinitely more bland if I did.

Mark DeYmaz of the Mosaic network tells us that 92% of American Protestants worship mono-ethnically. My neighborhood doesn’t look like that, so we started a multi-ethnic church plant several years ago. It is a tiny underfunded experiment in what we call “Black-catholi-gelicalism.” Lots of holy things happen among us every week. http://www.mystjudes.com

*No disrespect intended toward groups not included. In my neighborhood people under 35 are: 15% African American, 33% Anglo, 55% Latino, 7% all others.

What if you knew that one single factor was responsible for social disaster?

St. Jude’s guys on their way to Bible study.

One single factor is responsible for these results:

  • 5x more likely to commit suicide
  • 32x more likely to be runaways or homeless
  • 14x more likely to rape someone
  • 20x more likely to have behavioral problems
  • 9x more likely to drop out of school
  • 10x more likely to have inpatients chemical abuse treatment
  • 20x more likely to go to prison
  • 711% more likely to have a teen pregnancy
  • 92% more likely to end up divorced

The factor: Not having a father involved in a child’s life. In our church’s youth group 15% have a dad living in the home. Ask yourself what happens when we disenfranchise the urban male. Ask yourself if our society can afford the results. 

I have a photograph in my office of seven young men from our neighborhood sitting on boulders in Oak Creek. None of them had dads engaged in their lives. We were on a discipleship weekend-so these were guys who had chosen a life of faith instead of a life on the streets. Fast forward four years: Two of them are young men of amazing positive impact, serving God by mentoring other urban young men. Two were already in prison serving hard time for violent crimes. The other three remain on the bubble. Not yet productive members of society. But not in prison either. Economically, the continued existence of our country depends on the five supporting the two. If we end up in a situation where the two support the five…well, the economics just don’t work.

Consider this: In high crime neighborhoods, 90% of children from stable 2 parent homes where the Father is involved do not become delinquents.

What can you do? Amare Stoudemire started a charity called “Each One, Teach One.” I don’t know anything about his charity, but the concept is right. Men, find a young man to come along side of for the next decade. Not 10 or 20. Just one. If you need help finding one or with what to do, ask me. I know lots of them who would love an older Christian friend to help them navigate the waters of life.

(Statistics Retrieved from: http://thefatherlessgeneration.wordpress.com/statistics/)