Summer Stories: "Do not be afraid"
Summer Stories with New North is a month-long series featuring people at New North Church who are exemplifying what it means to love and serve those around them.
McKenna, New North Community Life Pastor sits down with our Administrative Director, Crystal Taylor to learn more about her time volunteering with City Impact’s Adopt a Building Program.
"Each Sunday, a group of volunteers commits to visiting the same SRO (single resident occupant) building in the inner city. The goal is to build relationships, not expect anything in return and through that, try to talk about Jesus," Crystal explains.
Here's a snippet from their conversation:
Mckenna: Waltzing into an SRO in the Tenderloin, there are a lot of emotional hurdles to past. What made you want to do this?
Crystal: The catalyst was reading Radical by David Platt. Truly understanding what it looks like to live out your faith. In going into the Tenderloin, you have to understand that serving and loving people in that area is not going to be easy. And there's a lot of spiritual warfare that goes on, there's a lot of second-hand trauma that goes on, and that's just something you have to be ready for. But ultimately, working in that area was one of the best things I could've done for my faith and to truly live out my faith.
McKenna: How has it changed you?
Crystal: Before doing that ministry, I never felt like I fully depended on God… In my life, I've been blessed and things always fell into place, so there was no real need for me to be dependent on God. But in the Tenderloin, you don't have the choice to be dependent on God and you're put into a situation where you have no words and you have to allow God to speak through you. You have to ask for his discernment and for his grace and just understanding. How do you comfort people? How do you help people in the situations that they're in? And I realized I didn't know any of that and so I think it really grew my faith in that I had to fully depend on God in those moments.
McKenna: When our lives are relatively comfortable, our view of God gets smaller and smaller. But when you put yourself into positions where you’re uncomfortable, physically or emotionally, your vision of God opens and you can see what He's doing. What would you tell someone who asks, “I want to love and serve people, I want to be uncomfortable but how do I take this next step?"
Crystal: This is where you start – it’s ok to be uncomfortable… God is greater than our fear. So it’s about remembering that He is bigger than our fears and everything we do for the kingdom will move it forward and that’s our greatest calling. “Do not be afraid” invitation into trust from Jesus. Being uncomfortable is extremely valuable.
McKenna: “In that uncomfortableness, you will find growth. Many times because our life is comfortable, we have to get there in order to grow” in our seasons of discomfort are the seasons where God changes us the most, whether we like it or not.
Learn more about Adopt a Building and how you can serve with New North and City Impact by contacting Hubert here.