“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

It’s easy to sit back and criticize what folks should be doing or how they are screwing up what they are doing. It’s easy to complain and be disappointed in folks. It’s another thing to become involved and participate in being a part of the solution. So we at The Dwelling Place Faith Community have encouraged our people to dream big, to try and find ways to be a missional blessing to the world. The strategy is simple: find what you are passionate about, what you are gifted at doing, and then find either what is not being done or not being done enough. For me it meant the on-going experiment known as Creative Space. My sister had other ideas.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

In light of it being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ro Griffin (ne Broaddus) and Laura Garcia found it appropriate to launch The Growing Place. They simply wanted to continue to live out his legacy. Demonstrating more faith than I have, the two quit their day jobs to pursue this endeavor full time. They worked with several families in their careers in the public school system, but saw far to many people falling through the cracks and even more disconnected from the system, but couldn’t find a way within their vocations to do anything about it. Laura put it this way: “God has given me skills and gifts and I want to use them.”

Though they had a dream of one day launching such the kind of ministry they had in mind, the timing never quite worked out. Now, it was time, they said, and their jobs were the final tie they had to cut in order to jump into this. Ro said, “I’m finally listening to God and myself rather than listening to everyone else who said I can’t do it. They want me to be safe, but there are no guarantees in life.”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Growing Place is a multi-faceted ministry that will roll out in several phases. The first phase involves teaching English, Spanish, and offering tutoring. They break up the days with scrap-booking lunches and Saturday nights offering “parents’ night off” babysitting. Then comes the pre-school, GED, and citizenship classes.

They are also working with The Dwelling Place and Outreach Inc, organizing a thrift store/pantry, by being a care package distribution point on the northwest side of the city. Pure and simple, there are a lot of poor families in our community and not enough laborers. These ladies continue to impress me.

“Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.” Martin Luther King, Jr., The Measures of Man, 1959.

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