EE partners with Detroit, Memphis and New York City area churches to launch Urban Renewal Initiative posted by jwatson on Feb 06, 2013
Eight years ago, God was planting the seed for EE to reach into one of the world’s greatest mission fields – right under my nose.
At our first EE Summit in Ft. Collins, Colorado, I met and prayed with two African-American church leaders to discuss the “integration” of EE. These two – Rev. Tommy Cash and Rev. Keith Hutchings – were EE leaders in their church, but believed that to make an impact in the African-American church EE needed to be more ethnically sensitive.
Then I met Dr. Keith Kearse from New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Kearse’ doctoral work dealt with evangelism and discipleship within the urban church in which he points out all the issues which plague inner city churches: crime, drugs, and poverty. Add to that a culture and prejudice associated with these conditions and you’ve got an environment for ministry most suburban churches can’t imagine. After reading through Dr. Kearse’ work, I couldn’t stop thinking about the conversation I had many years before.
Dr. Kearse agreed to serve on an initial task force with Rev. Cash and me along with Rev. Mimsie Robinson from Harlem, NY, Rev. DeShawn Studavent from Detroit, MI and our US Field Staff Coordinator Rev. Randall Wood.
The first question we addressed was simple: “Why would any pastor want to do EE?” God used Rev. Robinson’s devotion one morning on John 15:16 to answer that question – “…. go and bear fruit that remains.” Pastors are constantly scratching their heads over how to close the revolving “back door”. EE helps address that problem by training solid members who serve. Pastors tell us that those who go through EE at their church tend to be ministry minded, ministry motivated and ministry multipliers. These are the people whom the Lord calls and raises up for leadership, regardless of race, age or denomination.
EE’s materials are timeless and cross-cultural so we aren’t trying to “recreate the wheel” but rather find more effective ways to promote our materials and training. You soon should be seeing stories and resources to illustrate how EE has influenced the African-America church, including a video with testimonies from black pastors and church leaders. We are praying that other people groups soon will follow.
Please pray that US churches will realize the great opportunity the Lord has provided us by bringing the world to our doorstep, especially within the great urban areas. We believe this could be the beginning of another Great Awakening.