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Birmingham’s Rehoboth Church reaches out to inner citycomment (0)

December 3, 2009

By Brittany N. Howerton

In an effort to combat what Pastor John L. Adams Sr. calls an “inner-city crisis,” Rehoboth Christian Community Church, Birmingham, has upped the ante for evangelism in the Inglenook community surrounding its building.

“The spirituality of our community has to be lifted,” Adams said. “Really the community is just dying, and if the church doesn’t come alive, then the community is just gone.”

So the Birmingham Baptist Association church got to work. In August, it began holding special meetings each Saturday during which church members head out to community members’ homes to minister. In September, the church hosted Tuesday movie nights for four consecutive weeks.

But Adams knew the congregation needed to take its outreach a step further.

“Not only is there a spiritual deficiency, there is also one of physical needs,” John Adams said. “Some of the children don’t have adequate clothing or supplies for school, for starters.”

So Adams and his son Toussaint, who serves as Rehoboth’s youth pastor, gathered some resources, cooked up some food and made plans for a two-phase outreach effort to share Christ, meet needs and have a little fun while doing it.

At its first block party in October, the church’s main project was distribution of school supplies. On Nov. 7, it distributed school supplies, backpacks, winter coats and shoes.

“We need to reach out to the community in terms of the basic needs,” John Adams said. “It is highly populated … and we really need to get out there and try to make a difference in the lives of those people.”

The church made a good start that sunny November day as more than 50 men, women and children gathered on the church grounds for a hot dog/hamburger lunch and a good dose of Toussaint Adams’ hip-hop.

But this is only the beginning John Adams said, as the churchhopes to eventually establish an after-school program and maybe even a day care center.

“By doing so, we will show the light of God by meeting spiritual needs (and by) aiding kids in becoming not just any type of student but a student and an individual who stands for Christ in a day and age where it’s obsolete. ... We believe Christians should be people of character and integrity. If we can put out into the world a generation of people like that, our communities worldwide will benefit.”

The only payback John Adams is looking for from his community is for it to begin to see his church as a place where healing can begin.

“If we don’t see a revival, we at least want to see a spiritual renewal where people become aware of the fact that we are there,” he said. “We’re willing to do anything we need to do to reach the lost.”

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