Our church is a missional community here in the suburbs in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex area. We have been learning what it means to live as a church incarnationally in our various neighborhoods; what it means to love our neighbor. We recently discovered a very neglected neighbor, reading in the local papers that she–in this case an incorporated city next that is next to ours–is going broke and the residents of it are all pretty much already broke as well. There are 431 residents, most of whom are elderly, living in mobile homes and whose income is well below the poverty level. This community, which still has dirt/gravel roads, was founded with the intent of being an affordable place to live, out in the country. In a matter of a few short years, it was surrounded by the development of major, affluent housing developments. The city cannot afford to pay its bills and, according to local papers is headed for bankruptcy or annexation.
We are in the beginning of learning who this neighbor is and how we can be of help. Our first step was to contact the city government to find out if there was any way we could help local residents. We knew that we can’t do anything about the debt of the city, but that we could help some of those who had no electricity, food or adequate housing. The city official provided us with the name of a woman with several children whose husband left her in dire straits. We learned about her situation and set out to see how we could be of help, beginning a relationship with her and helping to meet her need.
This is the first story of how we are stepping out to be a presence of Christ nearby where we live. It is exciting to see our small church, who has always been good at helping the homeless in the inner city of Ft. Worth or to send money to needy children around the world, now at work in our own area, learning how to be missional in the burbs.