We actually had some pretty short outreaches today. This morning Michael and I went out to do trash pick up with a couple of gentleman in the Dream Center Discipleship program.
The discipleship program is very close to a rehab for individuals who struggle with addiction. They also offer it to people who just need a restart on life to spend time focusing on their relationship with the Lord and trying to get their lives on a straighter path.
I can’t go into too much detail about the gentleman’s stories but it was really awesome getting to walk around LA and pick up trash with them. Of course picking up trash isn’t what anybody wants to sign up for but making the streets of any town look better and cleaner is always a positive outreach. But the coolest part was hearing the stories of these gentleman and getting to hear what the Dream Center has already done in their lives and agreeing with them in faith that the dreams that the Lord has placed in their hearts will become tangible realities soon! I mean it is called the DREAM Center😜
Both of these gentleman are on the verge of graduating their first years and hopefully coming back for year 2. It’s been amazing to see all of the staff and volunteers that have been through this program that now have control of their lives through the power of Jesus. I just think about what it really looks like to pull people off of the street or out of really bad situations and give them the opportunity to find hope again through a program like this. They have an aspect of that figured out here and it’s truly awesome to see.
This program is also set up to relieve felons of long term jail sentences. In certain cases, those who have been charged with crimes will sometimes be sentenced to this program at the Dream Center instead of spending a longtime in prison. There are many individuals whose lives have been radically transformed with this opportunity. You don’t always get these types of results by just putting someone behind bars.
Our afternoon outreach was cut a little short because of the afternoon shower that came through but we were still able to see some good stuff!
This afternoon we participated in what they call Kidz Jam. In many of the areas where they do food truck and adopt a block they will also offer Kidz Jam. This is an outreach that is dedicated to ministering to the children in these areas.
Because of the lack of transportation or parental consent, many of these children never get the opportunity to go to an actual church. So this ministry brings church to them. If you think about your average Sunday Morning kids church, this is it. Just in a field in a neighborhood or community. This afternoon we got the opportunity to play soccer with some of the community teenagers and children. Of course with us just being here a week we don’t have the privilege to build long term relationships with these children but you could really see the relationships that were built with the ones who come out every week.
I was reminded today why I don’t do Children’s Ministry! But I can see where this is such a good thing for the communities that it is offered in. They weren’t able to do this today because a heavy shower came in but they always have a lesson, snack and games for the kids. Just like you would see on an average Sunday morning kids ministry. They love on these kids and even build relationships with their parents. This is a great evangelical ministry and also does so much in regards to teaching these children biblical principles and foundational truths that they will always be able to come back to.
I can really appreciate the intentionality of this ministry to be more “go and tell” oriented vs. “come and see.” Many churches today focus heavily on the things that they can do to bring people into the church to experience the things they have to offer. The Dream Center has veered away from that with this ministry and many other ministries they offer by going to the locations where people don’t have the means to travel and they bring Jesus to them! I love that so much!
It awakens things in my heart as well to think about the different areas where we can improve taking the Gospel to those who maybe can’t travel or have zero interest entering the doors of a church.
I’ve done the church staff thing for a handful of years now and I believe so much in the equipping of the saints and building the church. But seeing these ministries and being a part of the outreach efforts here gives me confidence and a deeper yearning to go tell people the good news. To take Jesus to the areas where He isn’t talked about and bring hope to those who don’t know they need it!
We have just a couple of days left here at the Dream Center but I’m believing the Lord is going to reveal more things to us and give us vision for how He wants to use these practical things in our ministries back home:)
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