Author Archives: Mr. Marker
SafeHouse started out more like a daydream than a dream. It has turned into a dream come true. This ministry arm of Landmark Church has exceeded all expectation. After 8 months, this extended campus ministry is still going strong. To date, we have served over 2000 hot meals and spoken the Good News into the lives of several thousand beautiful people who call the SafeHouse neighborhood home.
We have walked the approximately 50 blocks of this targeted area and met some of the most incredible people in the world. We have found a fertile mission field just minutes away from our church building. Its like we were living into the classic condition of reaching out to the other side of the world, missing the need that was right under our noses the whole time.
We are growing a church (not a building) in a very unconventional manner. We made the conscious choice to not follow organizational and religious protocol. We call it, “doing church upside-down.” The SafeHouse concept is not complicated. The idea is not to build a mega-church but to organically grow a neighborhood church. We are not trying to be like Walmart, rather we are trying to be more like Family Dollar or Fred’s. I might add, we are not sacrificing quality. While it seems Walmart is trying to conquer whole cities, the latter two seem to have adopted the philosophy of simply taking neighborhoods. What I have seen is that Family Dollar and such stores are basically taking communities one neighborhood at a time, thus the SafeHouse mission, “We exist to impact our community for Jesus one neighborhood at a time.”
That’s not the only difference in our approach to growing a church. We have decided we want to be known as a church that is about giving rather than receiving. So, we hit the streets and invited people to our event, enticing them to come with the offer of a hot meal, cold drinks, singing and prayer. Our first event held in December 2013 drew a crowd of over 150 first time guests. We had two 7 minute worship sets, a short 7 minute “Good News” sermon and an opportunity for prayer. To our amazement, the altar area filled up. The Holy Spirit fell on us that day and we knew we were in the will of God.
Since that first experience, things have just gotten better and better. I wish you could meet all our new friends. We have baptized some and several have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Untold miracles and healings have taken place. I’m telling you it is awesome. That first meeting was the smallest. Since then we have never had less than 200 and on Easter Sunday we had over 350 in attendance.
Let me explain a little about the SafeHouse neighborhood. As I mentioned, it is inner city. Drugs can be bought off the street corners. We know because we’ve witnessed the sell go down. Prostitutes ply their trade openly. Poverty is the rule, not the exception. Fear rules the elderly as they sleep in houses with padlocked fences and windows reinforced with wrought iron. Many of the homes have no glass in the windows so they have been boarded up with sheets of plywood. Probably one third of the homes are empty except for the “homesteaders” who sleep there without the benefit of electricity or running water. The crack houses are easily identifiable. I will admit that the first few times we went down the streets it was quite intimidating. Then we met the people. Our “fatal” mistake was when we looked them in the eye and didn’t look away. You see, compassion is born when you look them in the eye.
Now, when we do our SafeHouse neighborhood walk they know who we are. They meet us in their yards. They honk their car horns as they drive by and shout, “Go SafeHouse!” They have welcomed us and made us feel safe. We pray as we walk. We take dominion over a neighborhood hell has owned long enough. As we follow God’s leading, we are winning. The man who was pointed out to us as being the “meanest” man in the neighborhood has been to every event. During one event he asked to volunteer and is now helping us set up and break down. We love him. The pimp who is considered the “neighborhood lord” showed up at our main campus for church a couple Sundays ago. I watched him weep on the back row.
I could go on and on but I know short is the new long when it comes to blogs and I’ve already passed the accepted limit, but I want to thank all the wonderful people of Landmark who have made this ministry possible. Most of all, I want to say, THANK YOU JESUS! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this most amazing opportunity. Thank you for judging me with grace. Thank you for expanding my vision and most of all, thank you for breaking my heart.