God has placed us in Cleveland as spiritual parents. This article, "Raising Black Boys with Hope," hits home both figuratively and literally living and ministering just 1.2 miles (a mere 4 minute drive) from where Tamir Rice was tragically shot and killed 5 years ago this month. I mourn because it could still happen today -  the issues of racism and prejudice are no closer to being reconciled, "solved' or "taken care of" in Cleveland or in our nation than they were on that heartbreaking day in November 2014. Sin still prevails; Christ-centered reconciliation and God-ordained justice is desperately needed. Our heart must always be like that of God's as shown throughout scripture: "Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow's cause" (Isaiah 1:17, HCSB).

Many nights, I look out at our parking lot at dusk and see young, pre-teen and teenage African American boys playing …


We often refer to discipleship (following Jesus together) as the "bread and butter" of the ministry here in Cleveland. Missional living and interpersonal relationships are critical components of living out the Great Commission. Praise God for two teens who asked to enter into intentional, discipleship relationships yesterday. Pray for all in our church family who remain faithful as we count the costs of following Jesus. As one teen said yesterday "the hardest part of following Jesus is hating your family in comparison to Him." I humbly learn from her as she surrenders to the Spirit's work shaping what she loves, thinks, and does. 

Sam Alberry frames discipleship as necessary, responsive, costly, corporate, and missional in his podcast "Discipleship ≠ Following Christ Your Way." The podcast speaks to the importance of Biblical discipleship in our call to be both disciples and disciple makers. Listen and be challenged with us.

Girls' Night

Girls' night last night was a blast - homemade personal pizzas, delicious dessert, and meaningful relationship-building time. This event was planned and executed by two teens who have faithfully attended discipleship the past months. They did nearly everything from creating the menu, planning the activities, praying, and sharing a Bible verse with the group. (Check out Proverbs 28:26 and this Jackie Hill Perry video we discussed). We ended the night with a time of "back to school prayer" as many of our teens and college-aged leaders are preparing to start school, and a toast - a great end to a fun night. 
Integrating teens as leaders pushes back against an "us and them" mentality and instead creates the opportunity for culturally-competent, gospel-centered community. I pray that this night is the first of many as we seek to disciple and build an authentic, Jesus-following community here in Cleveland. 

Continuous Learning

It is our desire to continually learn and grow both in our understanding of God and in how we live out our faith daily. This is especially crucial as it relates to cultural competence and excellence.

For those who want to learn with us, check out some podcasts that we have found helpful in recent months:

We Must Love the Families of Children in Need, The Gospel Coalition

Mes McConnell Church in Hard Places Talks 1/3 and 2/3, The Gospel Coalition Austraila

July 2019 Update

July 2019 Update
God is good!
We all praise and thank Him for 3 recent baptisms, each accompanied by a powerful testimony. Please pray as we search for long-term space downtown though we are content with where He has us now. At the hotel, God is forming in us a missional mindset. Please pray for the international families with which we are connecting and reaching with the gospel.
Bridges have been formed through soccer downtown and basketball on the west side; everyone is outside, and we’ve been blessed to meet several new teens just this month in the parking lot at our house. God has worked through formal and informal outreach and evangelism to bring many new people into the relational culture of our church. Our Thursday night service on W. 65th is growing. We love our church family, and though some fall away, many have persevered in the faith. We’re following Jesus together with 17 teens who are meeting regularly (one-on-one) for discipleship.
Thanks to the generous support our church h…

Raking Coals Podcast

Check out our recent feature on the Raking Coals podcast with CityView member, Josh Fawzy. We are excited about what God is teaching us through His work in Cleveland.

Radical Rescoring

"It can feel like we lose more battles than we win.” A mentor figure had asked about if the ministry is going well. I knew I was called to faithfulness and Spirit dependence, but this was an honest reflection. Rather than offering sympathy, the man wisely counseled me to never speak that way again. His wisdom proved transformative. Keeping score of wins and losses (i.e. dualism) is an oppressive cycle. The call to faithfulness and Spirit dependence can mature into a better framework. What framework? Christ-centered “radical inclusivity,” the realization that everything belongs within the sovereignty of Christ – even if I feel like it’s a loss from my perspective.[1] Though we may get the occasional glimpse into what He is doing, scoring wins and losses is beyond our purview. Our true scorecard is how well we love like He loves.[2] Changing the scorecard changes a church culture. Striving for nearsighted wins, individuals and ministries can undermine the eternal mission with well-m…