Where would Jesus Live?
Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourself.
Who is my neighbor?
The parable of the Good Samaritan continues to serve as an uncomfortable exhortation today, just as it did for the lawyer in Jesus’ day. Jesus ends the parable by asking, “Which of these three proved to be a neighbor?” The parable really isn’t about defining neighbors -- Jesus didn’t come that they might have definitions and have them abundantly -- it’s about our heart. Jesus wants our heart to be alert for the needs of those who are hurting. Even if, and especially if, those involved are people in need of reconciliation.
We are called to care for the disenfranchised. For American doctors that means caring for people who are very different than ourselves socioeconomically, perhaps racially, and in so many other ways. Stepping beyond the exam room and into our patients’ communities allows us to have more fruitful ministry. But perhaps even more importantly, God uses the experience to deeply change us. We might say we have a heart for the marginalized, but “a heart” often won’t long be sustained without relationships. And living in community with our patient population leads to beautiful relationships, which leads to sustainable ministry. This principle holds true overseas as well. While incredibly messy, living among and enjoying spending time with those to whom we’re called to minister, whether internationally or domestically, is an incredible blessing.
When considering a residency, oftentimes a student will consider not only the program and the people, but also the environment in which the residency exists. For instance, someone might want to train in a residency in the mountains. Or near the beach. Or in Alaska. Well we like to think, perhaps because we live in Memphis where there are few awe-inspiring natural vistas, that our beautiful-environment-equivalent is our beautiful and unique community. The word community traces its roots back to various words that all pertain to common or commonality. The word has evolved over the years and now has many meanings and nuances. Likewise our community is complex and multifaceted, but is is anything but common. Please explore below to find out more.
Relocation, Reconciliation, Redistribution
A man named John Perkins was born in rural Mississippi in 1930. He was black. So was his brother, and for that reason his brother was senselessly murdered by the town marshal. John fled to California at age 17. Then in 1957 he began to follow Jesus. He received a call from the Lord to return back to Mississippi. There he founded the roots of what became the Christian Community Development Association and the Christian Community Health Fellowship. He established the tenets of Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution as essential to community development.
What does this really look like?
Oftentimes it’s easier to say what we want it to look like while acknowledging it’s not what we want it to look like. It looks like beautiful times of Bible study fellowship with kids from our neighborhoods. And it looks like being awoken yet again in the middle of the night by yelling or loud music or gunshots. It looks like a neighbor who has minimal material resources always dropping off food for you, just because. And it looks like failing yet again to connect with the folks across the street. It looks like your neighbors asking you to pray over them. And it looks like your neighbors calling at 11pm asking you to help them get out of jail. You get the idea. There are bullets and there is beauty. And all the while, God is working to redeem it all.
Is it safe?
“‘Course He isn’t safe. But He is good.” The “Is it safe?” question is the wrong question. Satan uses the idea of safety against the church. The world values safety. Our parents value safety. We value safety, too! But we don’t look at the world through safety-colored glasses. We don’t use safety as the metric to determine value. We use our Kingdom-colored glasses to look at the world. From that perspective safety is just another factor to be managed, not the main priority. Jesus was pretty clear about the need to not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. And we know nothing bad will happen to us or our families any sooner than God allows. This is true both now and in the future works to which God will call us, both internationally and domestically. Learning to loosen yourself from the idol of safety now will facilitate easier transitions into future missions.
We church so hard.
What is the Church?
an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting
a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake
those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body
the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth
the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven
from BlueLetterBible https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1577&t=ESV
The church is not a building. The church is people. And not just people on Sundays. The church is a community of disciples on mission together 7 days a week. Our culture has lost the idea of being the church and reduced it to a name for a building. The philosophy of our church is that we live in community together, we are on mission together and we gather together weekly in houses, as described in the New Testament: “The church that meets at their house” (Rom 16:5), “the church that meets at their house” (1 Cor. 16:19), “the church that meets in your home.” (Philemon 1:2) Churches meeting in homes was a regular way of life in the early church. It is also a regular way of life among the persecuted church. There is nothing magical about meeting in someone’s home. But there is nothing abnormal about it either (quite the contrary).
Starting in the 90’s, folks from the original clinics in Memphis began to relocate to the neighborhoods in which their patients lived. Pockets of physicians and nurses and patients all lived and worshipped together. That legacy has continued, and our residents and faculty and otherstaff now intentionally live in the
Many incredibly faith-based organizations call Memphis home. We work and live alongside many folks from these organizations, and as a result God has us, as a community, seeking to love our neighbors using our various passions and talents.
Binghampton Development Corporation - The mission of the BDC is to improve the quality of life in the Binghampton Community. As a community-oriented and faith backed entity, the Binghampton Development Corporation (BDC) is working to be an instrument of God’s love to reach those in economic oppression.
Christ Community Health Services - Providing high quality healthcare to the underserved in the context of distinctively Christian service. We recognize that Jesus Christ is the true healer of individuals and their communities and the source of our ability to serve.
Christian Community Health Fellowship, national headquarters - Mission to encourage, engage and equip Christians to live out the gospel through healthcare among the poor and marginalized.
Memphis Teacher Residency - As a response to the gospel mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves, MTR will partner to provide students in Memphis neighborhoods with the same, or better, quality of education as is available to any student in Memphis by recruiting, training and supporting effective teachers within a Christian context.
Service over Self (“SOS”) - SOS exists to glorify God by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in underserved neighborhoods through home repair and leadership development.