Kendon is planting Unity Christian Fellowship (UCF) in Arlington, Texas. He described his church’s journey from serving an affluent upper class group to being a church of and for the poor.
Two things he said really stuck out to me about their ministry to and with the poor:
1. “I don’t know what the poor need.” Kendon and UCF have stopped making assumptions about how they can help their poor neighbors and started asking them instead for the answers. One woman they served told them: “I’ve got a shelter to go to at night, but those guys over at the park – they don’t have anything. You should help them.” That comment led to some breakthrough for UCF after they started taking cold bottled water to the homeless people who lived around the local park and hanging out with them. Several of the friends they made at the park have become part of UCF group as a result.
2. “I want to be treated like a human, not a baby,” a woman in poverty once told Kendon. Kendon shared with me how that inspired him to empower his friends in poverty to make contributions to their church community, not just be served by it. For instance, some of their poor neighbors create “spoken psalms” (like “spoken word”) that they share during a special time in UCF’s worship services.
There are a lot of churches that value justice and ministry to the poor as an aspiration, I’m sure. My sense is that fewer actually roll up their sleeves, dive into relationship with the poor, and welcome them as full members of their community. UCF is one church that is walking the talk.
Please pray for Kendon’s family: his wife Davetta was recently diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer; and their son Kameron has a congenital heart defect and has just been put on a heart transplant list. Pray for their provision, healing and protection!