Faithful Neighboring - Reflections from the Neighborhood Rehab Project
Once, in Wellspring’s history, we were offered an amazing deal on a great facility in a nice neighborhood in Denver. We said no.
We didn’t want a great facility in a nice neighborhood. God had called us to Englewood. As a result, through God’s provision, we ended up at 4300 S. Lincoln St.
Just a few blocks to the west of this location is a house owned by an elderly lady named Jan. She has lived in this house for sixteen years, and has been alone for the past several. Two years ago, a surgical operation left her unable to keep up with the maintenance of her house. Without any family in the area, her property began to deteriorate. Weeds began to grow in the backyard, her grass went un-mowed, the paint on the house began to chip, her bushes grew too high, and she struggled to keep up. Jan found herself in need of a neighbor.
Last year, a team led by folks from Wellspring helped Jan with some yard work during the Neighborhood Rehab Project. They pulled her weeds, cleared out her yard, and painted the trim of her house. This year, I volunteered to be a project manager for the event and was assigned to lead a project at Jan’s house. When I showed up to plan our work, her biggest needs were some of the same that had been taken care of last year. Jan’s health had still prevented her from keeping up with her property. So, this past Saturday, I led a team to pull her weeds, clear out her yard, mow her lawn, and paint more of the trim on her house. Next year, we just might do the same thing.
I firmly believe that God has us in Englewood for the sake of people like Jan - people in need of neighbors who are willing to be faithful, year after year, caring for their needs, serving them, and demonstrating to them that they are loved by our community and by the God we represent. His call on us is to embrace the messiness of faithful presence in our city, because doing so keeps us in close proximity to people with real, genuine need. The Neighborhood Rehab Project is a focused, tangible expression of this call. Yet the overall goal of the event is not just to take care of our neighbors’ needs one day out of the year. It is to inspire us to model this love throughout our lives, constantly seeking to give of ourselves for the benefit of others. In the same way that we served our neighbors around our city last Saturday, may we all begin to seek out opportunities to care for our neighbors on a consistent basis, demonstrating through word and deed that there is a God who loves them and wants to be in relationship with them.
Mike Sandgren in the Director of Compassion Ministry at Wellspring Church in Englewood, CO. In this role, he has the opportunity to live and work amongst those experiencing poverty and homelessness in the Denver Metro area. It is his joy to see dignity and flourishing replace poverty.