Don’t say you are bringing God to the inner city

Just don’t do it, ok?

You know who you are, my self-styled urban missionary peeps. I don’t care what it says on your Facebook profile, I wish we could have a little less talk about your “bringing God to the inner city.”

God has always been in the inner-city – and will be long after you get burned out because you aren’t getting what you want. Because there is no place God is not, and if there is one thing on which the Christian scriptures are clear, it is that if you are on the bottom of the system, God is on your side.

And when you go back to the ‘burbs and resume buying your food at Trader Joe’s, and talk about your time of sacrifice of living in the inner city and how you tried to share the love of God with the people there? God will still be at work here.

It is not for the church to evangelize the poor – because the poor evangelize the church. But they do not exist to be objects for your spiritual transformation, and they are not props in a movie about you.


3 thoughts on “Don’t say you are bringing God to the inner city”

  1. Not sure what rattled your cage but I love your response. I, too, believe that you can’t “put God back” anywhere because He’s always been everywhere. I learned long ago that “if God seems far away, who moved?”

  2. Hi! Glad I caught your post. I’ve been developing a tickle over “urban ministry/outreach.” I’ve done VBS in the poorest county in the United States. I’ve gone door-to-door to do outreach in places where the cops don’t come if they’re called. I even preached my first sermon at an urban store-front church at the corner of OH SHIT and RUN AWAY WHITE BOY (fear of public speaking was nothing compared to my fear of where I was in the North Philly “Badlands”). I think I have some things to learn about confronting my own idols and arrogance in wanting to be a blessing to the “other,” the urban, the marginalized, the poor and…occasionally feel tension with multiple mandates of “bless the poor.”

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