Pastors Reggie and Ibelsa Stutzman define outreach unconventionally at Real Life Church (RLC) in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx, in New York City. “We show the gospel and go to where people are,” Reggie says. The Stutzmans see God’s unconditional love and grace poured out upon the forgotten and marginalized almost every day. A hub for prostitution, drug deals, and gangs, Hunts Point is noted for the highest violent crime, poverty and unemployment rates in the largest city in the U.S.
“God put a love for the city in my heart and I learned to love people in their mess,” Reggie says. RLC stresses creative outreaches. Opening in 2010, the ministry began with a Thanksgiving service and dinner feeding 500. An annual event now, it has since touched thousands of needy families with food and clothing.
For the past three summers, the church conducted outdoor Vacation Bible Schools ministering to 300 to 500 children each time. Adopting individual apartment buildings is another fresh strategy. The structures usually are run-down, smelly, covered with graffiti, and headquarters for gangs. “God is bringing light into darkness,” Reggie says. “During one building outreach 21 people accepted the Lord. RLC’s next phase is acquiring a permanent home. To this end, the church is eyeing – of all places – a former strip club building available for about $1 million. The Stutzmans are holding out for a miracle.
Source: PE News
BIBLE STUDY: Psalm 85:10-13
PRAISE God that RLC is prepared to take the love of Jesus to one of the most challenging areas of New York.
PRAY that many will respond to Christ.