Dear (Contact First Name)
I believe you will be encouraged by another story of a City Catalyst team which has been raised up through our faithful donors. A year and a half ago, Craig and Donna Estep moved back to Wichita, Kansas from North Carolina and began attending Pathway church in the suburb of Goddard. They came with the prayer that God would reveal the work He had in mind for them to do in their new location, believing He would make it plain them.
Craig and Donna's commitment and passion to reach the world was soon recognized by the church leadership. They were asked to consider heading a ministry of Neighborhood Transformation that would encourage engagement of all of Goddard, those who were 'outside the church doors'. Though Craig and Donna were wholly unfamiliar with this strategy, they attended the NT training and continued to see God's hand going before them every step of the way. This training provided many of the missing pieces for them.
They learned about Seed Projects, short term, simple activities to show God's love in action. Implementing this concept led to the completion of a number of projects: the youth of the church painted fire hydrants in the city, young moms and children planted flowers for the community and one home group cleaned a long stretch of the highway on Goddard Beautification Day.
Craig and Donna met with the city development specialist, who somewhat hesitantly shared information with them about families in violation city code. He did this because he knew he would eventually be forced to fine the residents, regardless their circumstances. Because he is a man of compassion, who knew these people and their circumstances, he did not want to add to their difficulties. Yet he was slightly hesitant to involve Craig and Donna because of past experiences with 'the church' in general. The Neighborhood Transition team went to work immediately, targeting the most grievous of the code violations. This accomplished, the neighborhood has been enlisted to go after remaining violations. The response of grateful neighbors was overwhelming but more importantly neighbors were beginning to sense a spirit of community and the realization that they had the power within themselves to make a better community.
In addition to these efforts, they began a strategy in one of the neighborhood elementary schools, with plans to begin an after school tutoring program. When Craig first met with the local principal, she could hardly contain herself when asked what needs or dreams she might have for the school. Here is what she said: "I have been waiting for this, praying about this, for eight years!" Many of the details for the program have come into place. The team is now seeking out volunteers from the community to touch other elementary schools of the community.
The impact has been so exciting. A previously reluctant city development specialist is charged up over the program and has encouraged them to come up with a name for this ministry. So, the ministry has come to be known as: 'Boots on the Ground'. The local Lion's Club has decided to allocate $3,000 for this outreach ministry in Goddard. And, they have offered to serve breakfast to the volunteers as they spend a day helping their 'neighbors'.