I Cried for Atlanta Today
Last week I prayed a dangerous prayer. A prayer I've told thousands across the United States to pray regarding their involvement with ministry in an urban setting. The prayer I prayed is simple, short and only contains these 13 words, "Lord put Your grief for the people of my city in my heart".
God responded two days later by connecting me with a man named Winston Taylor, a pastor reaching the Bluff with the gospel. I met Winston this morning and walked with him through the Bluff. As soon as we pulled up both goons and addicts rolled up on us and greeted us with handshakes, newly written raps, and prayer requests. After the crowd died down Winston told me to look to my right and check out the building he ministers out of.
What I saw was straight out of a World War II movie. A historic building that once served as a church but now is vacant. In addition to this, there's no ceiling, no choir lofts, and no chairs because there's no floor! Yet, God is using Winston to reach people in the heart of the trap with the message of the gospel.
I snapped back into reality when Winston asked me to take a walk through the Bluff with him. We stayed out in the streets for over 2 hours. During our time we talked with Addicts, Retiree's, Homeless souls, Dope Boys, Trap Stars and of course their suburban customers. It's the trap and I felt at home and was welcomed by all as if I was their folk.
Atlanta is in the Bible belt. Most people in the Bluff love Jesus and their drug of choice. Dope Boys quote Scripture, pray to God and get their work off to feed their kids. Preaching the gospel in the Bluff is something that's been done for years yet, the Bluff is what it is today because of a blatant rejection of 1 Thessalonians 2:8. People have been down here time and time again to hand out food, share the gospel but what they have not done is shared their life with the people in the Bluff.
There's a gap between the churches in the Bluff and the people there. As I looked at the churches in the community I saw one trend; their original buildings that were built 50+ years ago stand in the shadows of their new multi-million dollar facilities. The folks who flood these buildings on Sunday's drive in. All the folks I talked to in English Ave all said two things about the church. First what I heard was, "they [the church] stay where they are and never come out here where we are. We need them but they don't need us". Secondly, "He [Winston] be out here tho. He helping us".
The approach Winston is taking is one that fits this community perfectly because he's living 1 Thessalonians 2:8. He not only shares the gospel he's sharing his life. He didn't come into the Bluff with big visions that left the community with broken promises rather, he came with the gospel in 1995 and has remained here since.
Today God answered my prayer and when He did, I cried for Atlanta. As soon as He gripped my heart the tears began to pour. I told Winston I want to do all I can to help the gospel reach the unapproached in the Bluff and all of Southwest Atlanta. I have one request for you the reader. Will you pray the Lord sends fellow laborers to the Bluff in a Matthew 9:35-38 fashion?
No Chairs, No Choir Lofts, No Ceilings - just the Gospel and Goons