UBA is about to undertake one of the greatest initiatives in her history, and it’s called Loving Houston. Loving Houston will be a three-year initiative involving three major components. The first part is now behind us. It was the Transforming a City Conference featuring Eric Swanson and Sam Williams. If you missed it, we will post some videos online so you can get a sense of what we did.
The second part is scheduled for February 24-25, 2013. It will be a Loving Houston Mobilization Extravaganza, starting with a city-wide Sunday night service hosted by Second Baptist Church followed by conferences the following day. The purpose of the conferences will be to better equip us to take on lostness and to prepare us for a major initiative next June … our Loving Houston: Crossover 2013 Initiative.
Let me tell you about Loving Houston: Crossover 2013. The Southern Baptist Convention will be meeting here next June (2013). As part of their meetings, volunteers come from across the country to share the love of Christ in word and deed with folks in the host city. The North American Mission Board of the SBC asked if we could organize opportunities for them to serve while they are here. We went way beyond that!
Next June we want to mobilize our churches (and volunteers who come into our city to help us) to love on our city!
Once, after Jesus had been teaching all day, he saw that folks were hungry and had no food. He told the disciples to feed them. How?, they objected. We don’t have any food. You know that story. It’s commonly called the feeding of the 5,000 (though actually there were many more there than that if you read the story closely). Jesus told them to gather what resources they had, small amounts of bread and fish, blessed it and used it to feed the people.
In that same vein, as we look around our city we see lots of needs … areas of our city that need beautification, homes that need to be fixed, widows and widowers that need to be cared for, folks that need medical and dental assistance … the list goes on and on. We want to do something to help them, to meet their needs. We won’t be doing it so they become Christians so much as we’ll be doing it because we are Christians, Christians who want to show the love of Christ in deed and word to our city.
We will have some fun along the way … sports clinics, fun runs, three-on-three basketball tournaments … and we will use events like that to build relationships, share the gospel and raise money to fund the projects. We will invite Baptist Builders, Disaster Relief teams, student teams from across the country and a host of others to help us. But the heart of it all will be the participation of our UBA churches.
It’s going to be exciting, fun and rewarding in so many ways. My hope, when all is said and done, is that lots will be said and done to show Christ real and the church relevant to our city.