A few weeks ago, I was riding around Detroit’s inner city with Tyler St Clair, pastor of Cornerstone Church. After passing through multiple city blocks, I was not only struck by the boarded-up, repossessed homes but also the prevalence of cheap-looking motels. I naively asked Tyler, “Why are there so many motels in this part of town?” He replied with two chilling words, “sex trafficking.”

My heart began to beat faster in my chest, and I felt ill as I was confronted, once again, by the tragic reality of life in America’s poorest places. Abuse, crime, and poverty aren’t just inner-city problems. Life in rural America can be just as dark and traumatizing. Yet, in the most remote places, people often lack access to the resources and the help they need. 

We believe Jesus loves the hard places, and he wants to extend hope and healing to the people who live in them. Click To Tweet

Living in America’s poorest communities is difficult. For some, it’s hard to get a job, gain access to decent schools, and find good housing. And for many, it’s desperately hard to find help, hope, and healing amid the many challenges. This isn’t just an American problem. This is a global reality. But we believe Jesus loves the hard places, and he wants to extend hope and healing to the people who live in them. 

The means Jesus established to make known his love and to provide that healing is through the gospel, which is being faithfully declared and displayed by healthy local churches. Churches that shine the brightest light amid the deepest darkness. 

That’s why Acts 29 is committed to seeing healthy churches planted in hard places. Our Church in Hard Places initiative seeks to equip and coach pastors, church planters, and church leaders engaging our poorest communities. We provide training, coaching, and resources for those ministering in hard places and for churches thinking about how to engage the poor in their cities. 

Our Church in Hard Places initiative seeks to equip and coach pastors, church planters, and church leaders engaging our poorest communities. Click To Tweet

Do you have a plan for engaging the poor in your own city? Perhaps your church would host a Church in Hard Places workshop. Or maybe you desire to plant a church in an area of deep poverty or a remote context. If you do, consider joining one of our Church in Hard Places cohorts for ongoing training and coaching. We want to stand with you as your church seeks to stand with the poor, the marginalized, and the abused in your communities so the light of the gospel might bring hope in the midst of the darkness.

Check out this video about God’s eternally significant work through Acts 29’s Church in Hard Places. Hear how God is transforming lives through the bold witness of healthy, multiplying churches in the world’s poorest communities.

Matthew Spandler-Davison
Written by: Matthew Spandler-Davison on abril 18, 2022

Matthew is originally from Stonehaven, Scotland. He is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and was awarded a doctorate by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Matthew is married to Tracy and has two daughters. He is the vice president for global outreach for Acts 29, a church planter, and the pastor of Redeemer Fellowship Church in Bardstown, KY.

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