The People's Choice Storytellers
Chris Conlee, High Point Church, Memphis, TN
- Memphis is still very racially divided.
- Every vision comes from a well-defined problem.
- One man in the church, who grew up without a father, saw a problem. Over half the high school football players played their Friday night games on an empty stomach. The coaches won't let them go home, but also don't have the money to feed them.
- This man made a difference. He began to rally people to invest in the students and prepare meals for them on Friday.
- We had a vision not to just be the great White church coming to help...but to really make a difference over the long-haul.
- It took awhile, but last December, two young African-American men came to know Jesus.
- The young men jumped in, got involved, they helped them get in college, helped them get cars and get involved. They don't teach you that in seminary.
- Ministry is so much more holistic when you get involved in peoples' lives.
- People think there are limitations to the gospel. When you are loving people, there are no limitations to the gospel.
Mike Adkins, Grace Fellowship, Orlando, FL
- The first couple years of church planting were so hard. Sometimes the worship was so bad, I didn't want to come back, and I was the pastor!
- We started a building campaign at the beginning of the recession. We were crazy, and decided to say that we'd give 50% of every dollar to the poor. It was a bad way to accumulate money for a building, but it was what God wanted.
- We've been able to take the money and build 30 wells in a village in Rwanda -- and it is saving thousands of lives.
- We also reached out to the working poor in Orlando.
- Last Easter we rented out an outdoor amphitheater and had 1,000 people show up.
- It was a crowd of homeless and poor and transvestites. There's nothing like the church when its' working the way its' supposed to (Hybels).
- One guy who was there: Jesse - a gangmember from Chicago. He gave his life to Christ.
- Jesse started sharing his colored past in testimony in the church--and pretty soon others in the church felt the freedom to be vulnerable as well. It opened up our church to a whole level of honesty.
- 100 people gave their life to Jesus that Sunday morning, and 65 were baptized two weeks later!