SAN ANTONIO, TX, USA
Once a thriving African-American community, East Side San Antonio has experienced decades of decline, leaving it economically depressed. Now the population is almost 95% Hispanic, and about 50% speak only Spanish. Many people in this neighborhood do not attend church, although the area is replete with churches. Some have lost hope that God cares about them in the midst of a culture of poverty and despair. In 2008 our team began a new site in this neighborhood, moving into the neighborhood to build relationships, partner with a local church, and seek to build community and leadership from the neighborhood.
At the beginning of 2015, our team launched a church plant seeking to reach our neighbors. We desire to see them rise up to lead their own expression of church, walking with Jesus in the neighborhood and seeking the transformation of the neighborhood with us. Since then, we have grown from meals together every Sunday evening to a weekly bilingual church service held in a local community center. We want to introduce Jesus and his love and care for our neighbors in a new way which meets them where they are at. We hope to see one-on-one discipleship springing from these relationships, and then disciples rising up to make the church their own.
Our goal is to empower and equip our neighbors to become change agents in their community, so that it will one day become a place that everyone will be proud to call home. Alongside our Sunday services together we have Spanish and English Bible studies that meet in neighbor’s homes. In 2016 we launched a sports program in the neighborhood which seeks to provide a fun space for kids to play soccer and basketball and also an opportunity to build life skills as we mentor them. We are seeking men and women from the neighborhood getting involved in this program as well, both as coaches and mentors to the youth.
We have also launched our first social enterprise business with a neighbor who attends our church. Already we see this business is increasing her confidence and empowering she and her family to new levels of transformation in and around them.
One more new initiative we would like to start in the next two years is an internship for recent college grads, where they would come and live in our neighborhood, partner with our team, while also working a full-time job outside of the community. We are actively recruiting a new team member who would be responsible for leading this internship, along with participating in our ongoing ministry in the neighborhood.
Through all of these structures and through our daily lives in the community we seek to spread the hope and love of Christ with our neighbors, and to empower them to become leaders both in church and community.
We are actively seeking new teammates to serve with us, with specific roles to include Internship Director, Director of Music & Arts (church), Sports Program Coordinator, and Church Plant Team Member. We are looking for people who are spiritually and emotionally mature, love God and have a heart for the poor, and are willing to relocate to an inner city neighborhood.