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KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Ministry in the Ghetto (Help!)

It appears more and more that there is a door of opprotunity opening up for me to minister on a weekly basis in a local homeless shelter & soup kitchen. Probably like most homeless shelters, this place is stuck just a few yards outside of the gates of hell. Recently I picked up a young man there to bring him to church, and said I would drive him back to his house instead of simply dropping him back off at the shelter (as it was gettting somewhat late).

On my way to his house, just about a mile or so from the shelter, I passed down a number of streets. Along my way I saw a few gangs (obviously such by their massive numbers and wearing all the same outfit). Not only this, but I saw at least 2 drug deals happen on the side of the street next to a parked car, and then saw another car pull up on the side of the street and parked, and they seemed to be waiting (probably another drug deal).

Needless to say, I was pretty freaked out. I can only imagine how bad it gets in this area once the sun actually goes down!

I am the average middle-class white boy from the suburbs, who has lived a rather sheltered existance by over-protective parents. I am turning 24 years old, am about 5'11" and 235 lbs. I have realized that my ministry at the shelter might very well start taking me beyond the shelter itself into the surrounding neighborhoods. If such happened, I would stick out really bad, and fear my "street smarts" is not quite up to par.

So I was wondering for those of you who have a lot of ministry experience in the ghetto's, or who have lived there, or even currently live there, could you please pass along some basic advise so I could be a little street smart.

In case you were wondering, I am a bit fearful. However, my love for these people will ultimately cause me to overcome my fears and act as Christ would have me to act. I can only imagine that if I felt fearful driving through this part of town, that the people who live there probably daily live in fear that I'm sure many of the drug dealers push on them. I suspect they might be somewhat numbed to it, but I imagine they still live in a sense of it.

Your advise (and prayers) would be appreciated.


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Jimmy H

 2006/6/26 17:13Profile
ChrisJD
Member



Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re: Ministry in the Ghetto (Help!)

Hi Jimmy. First, I remember reading you were familiar with Ray Comfort's ministry. If you haven't already, his book Out of the Comfort Zone tells some of his own experiences going into a similar area in LA; it may be encouraging to you, though I don't think there is much practical advice specific to your question.

From my own experience I can tell you I've shared the fear. :-D But I also had courage in believing I was following after God in obedience and trust. When I first moved to the area we lived in before, it took me a while to realise that the people hollering at me when I drove into the neighborhood were't asking me to stop for help or something; that is how they boldly flagged people down to buy drugs!

That said brother, I honestly believe that if you are called to go to this place, God will give you the specific wisdom you'll need to get along there.

I think one of the difficulties in going into any new environment is feeling that you do not belong and this can lead to being self-conscious to the point of being overly conspicuous. Thing is, if we are sent there, then we [b]do belong[/b], but for different reasons. Instead of belonging there as a part of the wickedness, we belong there as ambassadors of the Kingdom. I have found too, that, inspite of the widespread wickedness in our country, people do still have a 'high' regard(that is a bit of a paradox I know) for the Bible. I think it helped me that I used to carry it with me as I walked the streets; people knew right away what I was about and after a while I was just another part of the 'environment'.

I pray all His grace be with you.


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Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2006/6/26 18:12Profile
irunbarefoot
Member



Joined: 2006/6/15
Posts: 35


 Re: Ministry in the Ghetto (Help!)

Praise God for your obedience. Our Father is so cool!

I think asking God to fine tune your ears to him would be helpful in your situation. (In all situations too!) That way you can hear everything he wants you to do. I wouldn't pay attention to any methods or gimmicks, just Jesus. If he is leading, he'll walk you through it.

There is one thing I know for 100% certainty: If you pray and ask Jesus to help you with your every move, he will do it. He is very cool like that.

-Sean
________________
www.SeanDietrich.com
"All my music if free for download."


 2006/6/26 18:58Profile
letsgetbusy
Member



Joined: 2004/9/28
Posts: 957
Cleveland, Georgia

 Re:

I work with inner city youth, so I don't stay in the thick of the hood, but work with the kids that live there. I think God protects His, and I also think that even drug dealers respect the preacher, if they see that he is for real. I think if you stick with it there will be dealers and users that come to know you and even seek you out for some things, and eventually you won't even think about the danger.

I say that as long as you humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your wicked ways, He will do a great work through you by hearing from heaven, forgiving sins, and healing the area you are working in.


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Hal Bachman

 2006/6/26 19:17Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re: Ministry in the Ghetto (Help!)

Just a few suggestions:

1) In situations like that, the Lord sends out by twos. Jesus sent them out by twos. Start at the shelter and let the Lord do what He wants through you, don't worry about the next step and the possibility of going directly to these dealers. All things in thier course and time.

2) If you eventually do feel stirred to street witness to gangs, I'll keep it real here. Go with much prayer, not just token prayers, that means alot of time spent on your knees, hours upon hours, maybe even months of preparation with fastings. Next, recon yourself dead to this world and ready to step into eternity at a moments notice. While I know that God can and does protect, it would seem that at times for His own purposes and the greater good He allows some to be injured or even get an early home coming. They over came him(satan) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of thier testamony and LOVED NOT THIER LIVES UNTO DEATH. I rember going to a street cornor while the team was behind me singing songs of praise to the Lord, I handed a tract to a man and told him simply, "Jesus Loves You", to which he produced a hand gun and placed it to my head and tried to pull the trigger, the Lord in His mercy spared me that night. At that time I had a wife and 4 little ones at home. I didn't want to die right than, but I was ready to go if that's what was expected of me by my Lord.

3)Never lose sight of who God is and who you are in God sight. Touch not my prophets and do not harm to my anointed. A quick read of Fox'es Book of Matrys would be very beneficial. I rember being hit by a bar owner for handing out a tract to one his his patrons who was leaving, latter that night he tried to run me down with his car, he came up on the sidewalk and almost got me, the Lord spared me. Within 2 months his bar was closed, torn down and made into a parking lot and he was serving 5-10 years in prison for drug related offenses. God is well able to keep that which belongs to Him, note Jesus was Standing and looking upon Stephan. You are Almighty God's Ambassador, think about for awhile, that'll get ya happy!!!!! God Bless


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D.Miller

 2006/6/26 22:30Profile
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Thanks everybody for your suggestions. Indeed, I plan on first trying to get grounded at the shelter and establishing Christ there before I ever think about venturing out into the rest of town. And hopefully, the impact made at the shelter alone will spill out into the rest of the neighborhood.

If I ever did go walking the streets to try and minister though, it would have to be with somebody who knew the streets though, as it is very easy to get lost in this part of town, as there are many forks in the road, dead ends, etc.

One thing that I'm praying about doing should things get rolling is to see if local believers would be willing to give me the names of the drug dealers and gang leaders around town, so that my church could aggressively pray for their conversion every day.


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Jimmy H

 2006/6/26 23:06Profile
dohzman
Member



Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132


 Re:

Quote:
One thing that I'm praying about doing should things get rolling is to see if local believers would be willing to give me the names of the drug dealers and gang leaders around town, so that my church could aggressively pray for their conversion every day.



Very wise move. ;-)


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D.Miller

 2006/6/27 5:58Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re: Venturing into dangerous places

I am deeply blessed as I read this thread.

Bill Gothard, in years past, ministered to gangs. He also took church youth groups into the ghettos. When they were about to enter into the distict, he would say something like this: "By the way, just around the corner are killer gangs. Let me warn you, they can tell if you are authentic or not." At that point many a youth turned to the Lord for authentic salvation.

I also enjoyed reading Jimmy's testimony on his site. I extract this line:

Quote:
I preach as a dying man unto dying men.


When you consider yourself dead, you have nothing to lose. You have nothing to defend. This gives you freedom to serve God with all your heart!

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." 1 Cor. 16:13

Diane


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Diane

 2006/6/27 8:51Profile





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