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More Dance, Less Evil

Coury Deeb is a good friend of mine and member of Sojourn, who lives at the intersection of art and justice. And now the film production company Coury founded, Nadus Films, is premiering one of the coolest events of June in our city.

Next week, June 21st, Nadus is hosting the More Dance – Less Hate tour here in Louisville, KY, in promotion of their latest movie BBOY for LIFE, which tells the story of gang life and breakdancing in Guatemala. BBOY for LIFE asks the question, “How can someone born into a world of violence and death find hope for a better world?”

This event includes the following:

– Meet b-boy Cheez and b-boy Gato from the film BBOY for LIFE and see them compete
– See regional b-boy crews battle on stage for a cash prize of $1,000.00
– Watch the film BBOY for LIFE w/ the central characters and engage in a panel discussion with the cast after the screening
– Enjoy a live music performance from Louisville rap artist Jalin Roze
– Enjoy family activities such as free dance lessons for kids
– Eat from some yummy food trucks

The More Dance – Less Hate tour kickoff is June 21st from 3pm – 11pm (free) at the Tim Faulkner Gallery (1512 Portland Ave, Louisville, KY 40203).

The first 100 people who arrive at 3pm get a free BBOY for LIFE soundtrack. And Nadus will be filming that day, so you stand a good chance of being in the promo video for their tour. I hope that all Sojourners and our neighbors in Louisville will consider attending. You won’t regret it!

Join Me In Louisville At The Hope Conference

hope_conference_simmons_collegeFor three days next month, I’m excited to have Sojourn Community Church partner with faith, community, business, and political leaders across Louisville for a conference called HOPE (Having Only Positive Expectations) 2014: Renewing Urban America.

HOPE was conceived by Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen Church and president of Simmons College of Kentucky. It’s about experiencing and championing hope in the face of disgusting racism, despairing poverty and distressed neighborhoods. This conference will:

“address and offer practical, life-altering solutions to the critical issues felt within urban communities. Urban communities, more than ever, are feeling the plight of abandonment, social isolation, disinvestment, and neglect. Dr. Cosby and his team of dreamers and visionaries were convinced that this needed to change, and the groups to change it were faith-based.”

Kevin Cosby is a pioneer in bold declaration, whose heart bleeds for the west end in particular and Louisville at large. I’ll be leading a workshop on faithful presence and, and preaching on Friday. And our Midtown Worship Pastor Brooks Ritter will be mixing it up with St. Stephens Worship Leader Jason Clayborn.

It’s an honor to be invited to participate. Join us June 12 – 14 at St Stephen Church. Come to this conference if you care about the inner-city, if you care about poverty, if you care about seeing the end to racism and it’s effects on the Church, neighborhoods, and the city. Come if you want to be challenged and inspired to step into the mess of holistic ministry, a ministry that we are called to as ambassadors of Christ. Register here.

Rediscover The Forgotten Joys Of Christmas Caroling

photo 3People often debate the merits of modern Christmas traditions, but there is one tradition that, while less common than in past years, is alive and well among Sojourners: Christmas caroling.

Sojourners love getting together in groups, walking around our neighborhoods and singing of our savior’s birth. And it may surprise you to learn that many of these neighbors love it too! Here are a few testimonies from this past Wednesday’s Sojourn caroling, around the Midtown Campus neighborhoods:

• At least three groups had folks come out of their homes and finish the caroling routes with them, to sing to their neighbors. A couple even came back to the church building and hung out with us as we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate.

• A neighborhood lady who we’ve struck up a relationship with came to sing with us. Despite intense back pain, she walked the whole route and joyfully sang every note with us. She said she “wouldn’t have missed it.” She also knew many of the folks we were singing to, including her brother, who began to call the rest of their family and tell them what was happening.

• According to one Shelby Park Sojourner, one of her neighbors was literally jumping for joy when they started caroling.

• One elderly woman told a group, with tears in her eyes, that she hadn’t seen anything like this in 40 years.

These stories are just a few of the reasons why I’m glad that caroling is a yearly tradition at all of our campuses. We certainly have enough community group leaders and families to cover some serious ground.

Tips for caroling:

  • Be friendly, Christmas is a time of celebration and these songs are to enjoyed.
  • Go as a good-sized group (6-15) that’s not overwhelming. Showing community like this is attractive and gives opportunity to show God’s love in relationship.
  • Have a short practice session indoors beforehand with copies of music lyrics available so everyone can learn together and also get to know each other.
  • Communicate with the houses you carol at clearly. If they enjoyed your group, have something to leave with them about your church, service times, location, contact information, etc. Our Christmas Eve invites (available each Sunday at the Welcome Table) will work great.
  • Write down address and names after your time caroling. Hopefully, you will have further interactions if they are your neighbors. Remembering names is great way to show compassion and intentionally.

What are some of your ideas or best practices in caroling? Any stories of how God has used caroling in your life or neighborhood?

A Call To The City


Today I invited Pastor Nathan Ivey, founder of our Seed ministry, to tell you about one of the new things I’m most excited about in 2013: Sojourn Urban Experience:

In the summer of 2013, Sojourn will begin equipping the next generation of church-led community developers through an innovative Leadership Development Program called the Urban Experience. God’s given us a picture of where he’s taking us. It’s not just an idea, and it’s not just some kind of fantasy. It’s rooted in solid conviction: a conviction that God’s glory, God’s beauty, and God’s mercy must advance. We believe this advancement begins right here in our backyard in the neighborhood of Shelby Park.

The Urban Experience is an opportunity for individuals to commit a year of their life to relocating into this community, training to live in the city, and effect spiritual change that produces social change. A once thriving place to live, Shelby Park has in recent decades experienced increased crime, home dilapidation, broken family & single parents households, resident transience, and drug and gang presence. We believe that the hope for this neighborhood is the gospel, proclaimed through the local church: men and women who are being shaped, formed and fueled by the good news of Jesus Christ.

This is a call for 6 men and 4 women to join us in the physical and spiritual revitalization of inner-city Louisville by moving into renovated houses, living missionally among the marginalized, and training in Biblical leadership. Participants of the Urban Experience will be developed in a 45 hour per week program including 15 hours of training and 30 hours on the front lines of the church’s effort to fight homelessness and the sex industry. These leaders will catalyze neighborhood renewal not just through practical ministry but also through being equipped to mobilize the church and local residents into action.

We encourage and challenge you to apply for this opportunity: you can do so at sojournurbanexperience.com by March 15th. For additional information, or to sign up to attend one of our Exploration Weekends on February 2nd-3rd,16th-17th, & 23rd-24th contact us here.

All the Single, Married, Working Ladies

This Saturday women have the opportunity to gather together for the 2012 Sojourn Women’s Conference and think through what it means to be a woman in three different places: the workplace, the home, and the church. Preachers usually don’t have a hard time teaching about the role of women in the home or the church, but for some reason women in the workplace are left out.

One of the best reasons to attend is to hear Carolyn McCulley, who will talk about women in the workplace. Caryolyn is a biblical, church-based, and provocative woman. Here is a preview of her thoughts on what it means to be a working woman:

As I research my current book project on women, work, and the gospel, I’m struck by how little we discuss some of the most obvious passages about women’s work in the Bible. Childbearing is definitely a major component of the dominion mandate given in Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” But it has only been within the last 200 years that we have separated other forms of productivity and industry away from the household and its child-rearing activities. For most of history, women worked very hard at two important tasks in addition to bearing children: providing food and textiles. These were not shopping expeditions. These were complex tasks that involved much skill and many people, often providing various amounts of household income in addition to whatever the family needed for its own consumption.

From her blog post, Success and the Single Woman

Are you single? Are you married? Do you have kids? Great! God has something for all of you this Saturday. Scripture has little to say to women in singleness, but much to say about working women.

It’s not too late to sign up for Sojourn’s Women’s Conference this Saturday. Click here to register. We hope to see you there!

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