Imagine walking out the front door of your house onto your porch, down the steps and onto the sidewalk. You turn down the block, and around the corner, on your way to work, and as you walk, you pass by parents walking their children to the school. These families are of all races and nationalities, they are from every corner of the earth: Nepalese, Congolese, Chin (Burmese), Somali, Sudanese, Karen (Burmese) and more. Not to mention the Puerto Rican, African American, and Italian American families that populated the neighborhood before the refugees began to flood into the city.
You live, work, worship, and play in one of the most diverse places in America; the West Side of Buffalo.
You live in a neighborhood whose recent history is pretty rough, but whose future is bright. The people still live in the grip of poverty; urban poverty that has oppressed generation after generation, and the poverty of the refugee community who escaped their homeland with nothing but their own lives and perhaps (if they were fortunate) some of their family. But development work has hit a tipping point. The neighborhood has seen a consistent effort towards the renovation of old housing stock, the kick starting of new business and economic ventures, the building of playgrounds and children's programs, the hiring of neighborhood youth, the organization of community groups, the development of urban agriculture, and more...
Ministry is often conceived of as something that pastors, worship leaders, small group leaders, and missionaries do. But scripture makes it clear that the leaders of the church are supposed to be equipping the people to do the ministry. That means that ministry is really something that is done by spirit-filled carpenters, teachers, gardeners, businesspeople, doctors, parents, neighbors, and artists.
You are one of those people.
What is more God is doing something strange and exciting here, something that believers have interceded about for centuries. He is bringing unity to His children. While divisions in the church are still real and painful, the Holy Spirit has woven together a network of churches, organizations, business ventures, and individual believers who are working together to glorify God and to bless the city. Your home is a nexus for this unity. You live with believers from many churches and church backgrounds, sharing meals together, praying together, sharing stories, and encouraging one another in ministry.
You live in the BUMP house.
The Buffalo Urban Mission Partnership (BUMP) is a collaborative network of church and parachurch partnerships. The Buffalo Vineyard Church is a founding member. For three years we have hosted dozens of young people in paid, year-long, ministry/service placements here in Buffalo. The BUMP program has three essential facets: paid ministry work 20-30 hours a week, christian community life in a house and in a local church, a weekly class discussing a missiology for the city.
For more information visit:
Pastor Steven Schenk
Buffalo Vineyard Church