san antonio, tx

Sharing the hope of Christ with our neighbors

 

Once a thriving African-American community, East Side San Antonio has experienced decades of decline, leaving it economically depressed.  Now the population is almost 95% Hispanic and about 50% spanish-only speaking. Many people in this neighborhood do not attend church, although the area is replete with churches.  Some have lost hope that God cares about them in the midst of a culture of poverty and despair.  In 2008 our team began a new site in this neighborhood, moving into the neighborhood to build relationships, partner with a local church, and seek to build community and leadership from the neighborhood.  

At the beginning of 2015, our team launched a church plant seeking to reach our neighbors. We desire to see them rise up to lead their own expression of church, walking with Jesus in the neighborhood and seeking the transformation of the neighborhood with us. Since then, we have grown from meals together every Sunday evening to a weekly bilingual church service held at the local YMCA. We want to introduce Jesus and his love and care for our neighbors in a new way which meets them where they are at. We hope to see one-on-one discipleship springing from these relationships, and then disciples rising up to make the church their own.

Our goal is to empower and equip our neighbors to become change agents in their community, so that it will one day become a place that everyone will be proud to call home. Alongside our Sunday services together we have Spanish and English Bible studies that meet in neighbor’s homes. We are also partnering with the local elementary school to provide volunteer tutors in their afterschool program. This provides a much needed outlet for children to have good role models and encouragement in their studies. It also allows us to meet with and get to know their families, most often the mothers who we are always looking to build up and empower to have a voice of their own in the community. In 2016 we launched a sports program in the neighborhood which seeks to provide a fun space for kids to play soccer and basketball and also an opportunity to build life skills as we mentor them. We hope to see men from the neighborhood getting involved in this program as well, both as coaches and possibly with a team of their own.

One more new initiative we would like to start in the next two years is an internship for recent college grads, where they would come and live in our neighborhood, partner with our team, while also working a full-time job outside of the community.  We are actively recruiting a new team member who would be responsible for leading this internship, along with participating in our ongoing ministry in the neighborhood.  

Through all of these structures and through our daily lives in the community we seek to spread the hope and love of Christ with our neighbors, and to empower them to become leaders both in church and community.  

At this time, the team consists of three people, and we are actively seeking new teammates to serve with us, with specific roles to include Internship Director, Director of Music & Arts (church), Sports Program Coordinator, and Church Plant Team Member.  We are looking for people who are spiritually and emotionally mature, love God and have a heart for the poor, and are willing to relocate to an inner city neighborhood.  Contact interim Site Leader Mark Cloherty (mark.cloherty@servantpartners.org) if you would like more information on our ministry or on the roles we are recruiting for.