Forbes.com just released their list of the top ten “Fastest-Dying Cities in America.” Four of the cities are in Ohio: Dayton, Cleveland, Youngstown and . . . you guessed it . . . Canton.
There was a time when I would rail at God for placing me in such a depressed area to be a Pastor. “Why am I stuck in an area that is declining rather than exploding with growth and opportunity?”
But in the past several years God has been dramatically changing my heart.
It is in the darkness that God’s light shines the brightest. It is in times of greatest need that God uses His church to meet those needs. When things are at their worst, the followers of Jesus must be at their best!
Rather than be discouraged by the fact that four cities in Ohio have made a list on which no-one wants to be included, we need to be encouraged that it is one of the greatest opportunites for those of us who follow Jesus to lift others up, to be involved with God in community transformation, to bring hope where hope may be hard for many to find.
I, for one, am glad that God has called me to live and to love (in His name) in the great state of Ohio!
Rick McKinley would call those cities “Sacred Spaces.” He says God is into restoring life to areas that seem to be dying. It is a part of God’s character to transform lives, churches and cities. We just have to be willing to allow His Spirit lead us to help with the restoration.
This is our chance and our oppertunity to make a difference in Christ’s name and pursue His will in the places people are hurting the most.
It is, ultimately, our responsibility as Christ’s body to show up for those people and serve them.
Your willingness to lead us in doing that is refreshing Greg, thank you.
This is the time where we as Christians can make a difference in someone’s life, right here in our Canton, Ohio. Let them know how much God loves them and lead them to a transformed life through Jesus Christ. I have been volunteering down at the Coleman Center this summer and have met children and youth who have been in 5 different foster care homes, who basically have given up on their dreams for life if they ever had one to begin with. My friends think I am nuts for going down in the S.E. section each week, I say then who will tell them of Christ’s love for them and they too can have the joy, peace that surpasses all understanding. When Christ said to “Go make disciples of all nations”, pretty sure he meant all nations, our world, country, community, and our state. Praise be to God for the opportunity to be a beacon in the dark times for Canton.