ECD Pilgrim

I have lived my entire life near either side of the Eastern Continental Divide. And, I am a pilgrim on a road that is narrow and not easy that leads to the Celestial City of God. On my journey, I attempt to live and apply the Gospel in this world that is not my home. These are some of my observations from a Biblical and Reformed perspective.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Church
Mission Outreach

Back in January, two pastors and I met with the President Judge of the 46th Judicial District about a ministry to the drug culture in DuBois, PA. There is an unbelievably high drug use in DuBois; it has one of the highest percentage per capita uses of heroin in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Judge convinced us to go at the problem from two ways…one, meeting with inmates in the county jail who were going to be released back into the general population, and two, by meeting these folks where they are in the community. He had attempted to implement the first idea a couple years ago and received little and no response from the churches in Clearfield County. He was thrilled that Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church was willing to take on this mission.

It is interesting to me how many folks talk about reaching out, but not to those that do not look, think, dress, act or smell like we do. That is why it is always easier to listen to missionaries who come to your church and talk about missions, give benevolences to them to carry on and go back to your own comfortable life. The church in the USA has become quite insular. This work in DuBois is a God sized work. When I met with the chief of police in DuBois, he thought we wanted these people to go to church. They are coming to church until they first come to Christ. Then they will be part of His Church and desire to worship Him!

This Wednesday, we begin the county jail portion of the ministry. We call it ReStart. Being released from jail provides an opportunity for a new start; one that avoids the old ways. The following is the announcement provided to those inmates who will be released within 30 days of our visit:
Announcing: ReStart
ReStart is a faith based ministry outreach to residents of the Clearfield County Jail about to be released at the conclusion of their sentence to the county jail. It is designed to accomplish three goals:
1]Explain to the soon to be released residents of the jail that upon re-entry into the general population they need not return to the life they lived before entering jail. Their lives can be ReStarted as new lives by and through an active faith in the living Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. ReStart is an outreach that aims to see lives changed through the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2]Discuss some practical measures that have to be addressed by every resident as they are released. To help those about to re-enter the general population understand that they must take personal responsibility for the obligations required to pursue a life different from the one that led them to jail. To distribute a resource guide that will assist them in becoming responsible members of society and discharging their particular duties and obligations.
3]Provide information about The ExChange. The ExChange is an outreach to those who want to live a new life apart from the slavery to sin and addictions that plague a life without Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The ExChange is based on 2 Corinthians 5:21, whereby the Bible promises that those who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ will exchange their sin for the righteousness of Christ… ExChange a broken old life for new life in Christ.

ReStart will meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. beginning on Wednesday the 21st of May, 2008. All who will be released from the jail within the next thirty [30] days of each scheduled meeting are welcome to attend. The only requirement is to be cleared by the jail administration to attend and the signing of a registry of attendance for ReStart.

ReStart and ExChange are both ministry outreaches of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church of DuBois, a church of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

The other part of the ministry will begin this weekend. More about that in a future post. All the secular folk we have met with are excited about this because they know programs do not work. Money and methadone will not solve addiction…only a changed life will do that. And, right now, no one wants to come alongside those who do not look, think, dress, act and smell like them, but by God’s Grace that is about to change in DuBois. Soli Deo gloria.


At 8:03 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

Just stopped in on your little spot of Blog- real estate and saw this fascinating and encouraging post! (it is wednesday the 21st at 10PM here in BKK and I just finished praying for the kick off of your ministry this afternoon.) Please keep posting and encouraging the "insular" church of America to get out there and LIVE! May God's many blessings be upon you and others as you venture forth. I will continue to pray for you.


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