One of our objectives is to form a coalition of local ministries in each of America’s 50 largest cities, dedicated to reaching the world without leaving their hometown. Over the last year, we have led the start of our first of these coalitions in Houston, drawing together leaders from churches, parachurches, and city-wide networks such as Molly Raney (Houston Welcomes Refugees), Jerry Wiles (International Orality Network), Charles Anderson (Crosswalk Prison Ministries), Lonnie Gonzales (LINC), Tom Victor (Great Commission Coalition), Don Waybright (SugarCreek Baptist), Rickie Bradshaw (KSBJ Radio), Gustavo Delgado (World Impact), Blake Ackerson (Bridges), and Kevin Greeson (Global Gates). In all we have 30 organizations represented in this growing coalition.
These diverse ministries collaborate to meet the needs of the people groups who moved to Houston from other countries as business/medical professionals, diplomats, international students, refugees, or immigrants (aka diaspora). By reaching Houston’s diaspora, they can use videostreaming to disciple their friends and family in Asia or Africa without leaving Houston. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the Lord can use technology like Zoom. So the end goal of the Houston Diaspora Coalition is to design and execute a city-wide strategy where every people group in Houston has a culturally-conducive church that re-produces a church in their homeland country.
Here’s what’s happened:
#1. In February, the first training session of the Houston Gospel Renewal Project (https://www.houstongospelrenewal.org/) for Christians throughout Houston had opportunity to learn how share their faith and connect with experienced agencies so they could apply what they learned.
#2 We are increasing the traffic into training the core and adding volunteer options for those coming out of the training. For example, a person who completed the Saturday morning training could step into the role of training prisoners for ministry as their way of advancing diaspora coalition goals.
This is crowdsourcing the Great Commission by getting everyone involved: big churches, house churches, Black and Hispanic churches, urban or trafficking ministries. We have created a buffet of 15 options that allows every Christian to participate; from something as simple as inviting an international student to dinner or having coffee dinner at a diaspora-owned shop, to something as complex as serving on a cross-cultural church plant team.
Learning from our Houston experience, this month we started conversations to replicate this model in Minneapolis and Dallas. Please pray for us as we step into these unchartered waters, that the Lord would open doors for the gospel through these three cities and beyond.