Impacting the world around us

Posted: 2011 09 29 by Chris Goforth in Authentic Man, Biblical manhood, Challenge, Discipleship, Hardcore Christian Men, manhood, masculine, masculinity

I don’t know how many people actually believe they can make a difference in the world.  I believe that one person can in fact make a difference and can change the world.  Think about history and all the people who have had a dream or vision and followed their heart to have that become a reality.  Where would we be today without these folks?

As an adult for many years I wrestled with caring for people vs. being selfish and only concerned with myself.  As I would walk around town I would see people and my heartstrings would be pulled.  The neighborhood my wife and I moved into was certainly not my first choice. Standing in line at the grocery store or any place where people tried to engage me in a conversation and quite the opposite was true.  I didn’t care and I wanted nothing to do with them.  Just leave me alone and let me be.

Somewhere into my early 30’s God grabbed me, shook me up and changed my outlook.  I was working a job in Social Work and volunteering as a Youth Pastor in an inner city church when my outlook on life began to change.  I began seeing people as individuals; I saw them as a person, not just a nuisance.  My neighborhood took on a different look; the school my kids were attending began looking differently.  The city I was living in now came clearer in focus.

Since that time I have purposely been engaging with the world and those that live in it.  About 4 years ago we were going to be part of a church plant and made the decision to move into the area the church was to be planted.  We moved into a part of Portland lovingly referred to as “Felony Flats”.  The house we own is one I fell in love with the first time we looked at it, even it had no real beauty from the outside as it sat vacant and overgrown by weeds.  The neighborhood is diverse, the cops are always around and I’ve had some difficult situations with our neighbors that I haven’t handled well. Yet despite that I see beauty in all of it.  I see the hand of God at work in all of it.

This past year we felt God calling us to leave the church we had been in and invest in our neighborhood.  We found a church about 5 minutes from our house and are getting plugged in.  We transferred schools with one of our daughters so she could be in our neighborhood school.  Our youngest two are enrolled in a Head Start program that is attached to that school.   We’ve been in our neighborhood for almost 4 years and while there have been days I have doubted if it was the right choice.  Just up over the hill is an affluent neighborhood, predominantly white and with big cars and houses.  It looks appealing and on days when things aren’t going so great in our neck of the woods, it calls to me.  The reality is I don’t want to live in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood.   I want the diversity, I want things edgy, and I don’t want it to always be safe.  It’s messy, but the kind of messy I want for my life and family.

Since summer I have been trying to figure out ways to become more involved in my community and really impact things.  I’m making connections at church and walking through life with a couple of men.  I will continue to volunteer at my kid’s school on Fridays and reach out and build deeper relationships with my neighbors.  We are working on trying to have a small group meet on a weekly basis in our house comprised of neighbors and folks from our church.

My wife has been building relationships with the other moms at school and is hoping when our youngest two are in school all day she can actually get a job working in the school to have an even greater impact.  The last couple of weeks my wife has shared with me how the school is culturally diverse and economically very poor.  There is minimal parental involvement and the presence of Dads/men is even lower.  This past week they were going to shut down the PTA due to lack of involvement.  She urged me to consider going to the meeting and getting involved.  Last night I went to the meeting and it was the largest turn out of people they have ever had with approximately 30 people attending.   Sitting in the meeting and looking around their were 5 other men their besides me.  As I sat and listened I was reminded of what I had contemplated.  I saw it as an opportunity to step up and lead, to impact the community.  I took on the role of PTA President.  While I have a lot of work a head of me, I see God’s people and his land needing hope and most importantly love.

As a man, husband and Papa I want to be an example to these children.  I want to live out what is possible for them to attain.  I want my neighbors and community to see that getting involved does matter, getting your hands dirty and messy means you care.  Am I some great man, nope.  I am just a regular simple guy who has experienced life both good and bad and believes that God has placed me where I am at to impact those around me for his glory.  It has nothing to do with me but to be used as a conduit by God.

  1. Kevin says:

    I really enjoyed this blog. I commend you for finding the need and stepping up this is inspirational. I am looking to grow each day and thoughts of what do I do or can I do go through my mind regularly.

    • Keep pushing into that as I believe God will show you what he wants. Just a thought, but you might consider doing some personality profiles and other things of that nature, they have also helped me to understand myself and how I am wired. It has also helped me to see how God has wired and shaped me. I have found it all to be beneficial in my walk and how I operate in life. I would be interested in hearing more from you on how you move forward.

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