The Network at work.
Travis Young ~ | Kilgore/Henderson, TX
Two years ago my friend David and I began meeting in a coffeeshop called MoJoe’s in Henderson, TX to read scripture, pray for the lost, and deepen our friendship through mutual accountability. It was more or less an accident. We didn’t know what we were doing.
We had gone to the same church on the corner and had known each other for a few years, and although we were friends, we had not been integral parts of each other’s lives…there seemed to lack a purpose, a mission that united us. But we did not know that then, no not at all; maybe we sensed it, and didn’t know how to articulate it. Or probably we just thought it would be cool to hang out. We didn’t know that God was sending us to be missionaries to a pocket of people not knocking down the door of our church on the corner, or any church for that matter. Fast forward a year. God moved and built a church through the Life Transformation Group (LTG) David and I started accidentally on purpose in MoJoe’s. We met every Thursday night. We wanted some of our other friends to come and join us. Some did, but most didn’t. That didn’t matter though, because the patrons and employees of MoJoe’s were interested in what we were doing. We just opened the Bible and talked and prayed and had great fellowship and good coffee and other people were drawn to it. Whether they knew or sensed anything at first isn’t really important. God was moving. He was multiplying. Our Thursday night LTG became more than just an LTG. It became LifeHouse. Almost everyone had started their own LTG at another place in the community. But most importantly, God was transforming the lives of people in the community. Somewhere in the period of time that God was forming LifeHouse, I began working for an apartment complex called Northview Apartments in Kilgore, TX. The residents are a curious mix of drug dealers, handicapped/disabled individuals, prostitutes, senior adults, and gang members. A few residents fit into more than one category. The main reason for such a diverse community is the common bond of low income. In fact, most residents have no income that is not illicit. And as I found myself in a community so very different than my own comfort zone, God began to create relationships. They became my friends, and I became theirs. And these people had no connection to Jesus or any church except me. They also had no income and no means to join in an existing community of faith. Which didn’t matter, because they were already living in Northview, the community God had planted them in. And so instead of bringing them to Jesus, we brought Jesus to them. I say “we” because Debbie and Ken who are a part of LifeHouse asked me one day earlier this year, “Why don’t we just start a church at Northview?” Not a bad idea—the thought had honestly not occurred to me. But God had already laid the foundational/relational groundwork, and I already had in Debbie and Ken two people besides myself willing to be used of God as missionaries and serve as Church planters at Northview. We started meeting right away, every other week on Sunday afternoons. LifeHouse bought Bibles. Strong relationships between us and the residents and the residents themselves were formed. God began changing people’s lives. Despite opposition by property management, we began meeting weekly. People studied the word on their own time and talked to their neighbors about what God was doing in their lives. One week B.J. asked Jesus into her heart. Three weeks later, so did her friend and fellow resident Lynn. And one sunny day in October of this year they were both baptized—on property, in the same tough, mean community they continue to live in. B.J. and Lynn are light in darkness. And their story will also be told. God sent a church to build a church in LifeHouse, and He sent LifeHouse to build another church in Northview. Who knows what will happen next?