{Guest Post}: I Never Imagined – Inner City KidMin (Part 3)

February 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

Note from Kathie:  I met Colleen Smith at an Orange-sponsored Chick-fil-A meet up last year and I was so fascinated by her story.  I knew that one day, I’d love to share her story with others.  Colleen shares additional insight into her story of inner city Children’s Ministry today in the last of 3 parts.  You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  I pray you’ll be both blessed and inspired.

Kathie Phillips:  Thank you so much for sharing your incredible story with us.  Can you share a little bit more about the ministry that you do through your church directly in your neighborhood?

Colleen Smith:  The ministry that takes place consistently within my neighborhood is a Wednesday evening kids program called Kids Club.  We meet every Wednesday evening from 6:45-8:30 with anywhere from 20-50 kids, depending on the night.  We have a service (complete with worship), a time of teaching and small group time. This is the place where the kids get to hear about Jesus, hang out in a safe place, and watch the lives of other Christ-followers.  They also get to ask questions and explore what having Christ in their lives can and will look like.  I also host various winter break, spring break and summer camps along with the help of missions teams that come to Baltimore to partner with us in ministry.

There is a lot of unplanned ministry that happens as well, such as coffee with neighbors, lunch with neighborhood moms, Bible study with local teen and young adult girls, and dinners with Ms. Colleen at least twice a month.  Almost weekly, my house becomes a revolving door of kids around 3 p.m.everyday, whether it’s to play basketball, chat or just hang out. Other ministries that I do include homeless outreach and a street outreach to prostitutes.

KP:  Can you share how you, a Caucasian, have been received in your primarily African-American neighborhood?

CS:  At first moving into the neighborhood was an adjustment for both myself and my neighbors.  The kids warmed up quickly, but the parents had a difficult time at first.  It’s hard when people think that you’re just moving into the neighborhood to change the world, but once they realized that was not my motive at all, they became my family. They realized that I was moving in to live life with them, to love them through the hard times and celebrate with them in the good times. I have also gained more grandparents, older brothers (aka: BODY GUARDS) and friends than I could have ever imagined. I get invited to family reunions, birthday parties and family events. Last year when I had my accident and spent months recovering from a head injury, I was taken care of by the people in my community. Quite honestly, I’ve been humbled and have learned more from them than I could probably ever teach them.

KP:  What scripture verses have encouraged you when you feel down about the circumstances around you?

CS:  Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

These are just a few of the verses I lean into that have gotten me through some of the toughest times personally and in ministry!

KP:  What advice would you give to those who feel God may be calling them to serve in inner city kidmin but may be afraid to do so?

CS:  I would tell them to be open to what God wants them to do, but also spend lots of time in prayer.  I spent years in prayer before God ever made any moves in my life.  Don’t be scared about the plans God has for your life.  He always knows what’s best for you!  Also, find local inner city ministries and spend some time getting to know the ministries, volunteering and praying about what God would have for you.

Many thanks to Colleen Smith for sharing about the great work she is doing in Baltimore, Maryland, which by the way is home to our Super Bowl XLVII Champions, the Baltimore Ravens. 🙂

Is God asking you to step outside of your comfort zone in a particular area?  What can you take away from Colleen’s story that might help you do that?

Colleen Smith headshotOriginally from Wichita, Kansas Colleen Smith moved to Baltimore in 2001 to become a nanny. In 2003, she accepted Christ and her heart for the inner city began to develop. Over the past few years she’s quit her full-time job and raised support as a missionary to Baltimore City. These days you can find her living and serving in East Baltimore as the local missionary for Captivate Church (captivatechurch.com)  She can be found online at www.colleensamantha.org as well as Facebook & Twitter.  If you’d like more information on her ministry she can be contacted via email colleen@captivatechurch.com

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