Shortly before my junior year of high school, a white Christian family moved into my all-black neighborhood with the intention of starting an outreach to the community. While my mom was very friendly with them, most everyone else was hostile and suspicious about their intentions. In Indianapolis, certain powerful real estate companies were known for running African-American families out of neighborhoods and then rebuilding houses that only rich white folks could afford. For my plain speaking but that is simply what happened.
Joe was a heavy-set guy with a bald spot and a cheerful, Christ-centered disposition. Had I been stronger in my faith and knew what the heck I was doing, I would have reached out more. Things were stolen. Hearts were broken.
Joe and his family left.
I have found myself lamenting the lack of cooperation with Great Commission-minded folks who want to do God’s will but fold under the fiery suspicions of the very people they’re trying to help. Having worked with at-risk kids before in another high profile ministry, I certainly had many moments where I wanted to quit and move on.
But Joe and his family were doing the right thing: the good news of Jesus and their own lives. That action is worth imitating.