At The Porch this April we zeroed in on West Dallas, a community of about 24,000 people which is considered to be one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in our nation. The 75212 zip code is an area where 67% of the adult population has less than a 12th grade education. 50% of current students live below the poverty line. And if you happen to have been born there, by your freshman year in high school it’s only 65% likely that you’ll finish through as a senior. And college? That’s reserved for just 2.2% of your neighbors.
For years now, the nation has identified West Dallas as a community in need. And the church has seen it too. Through His people God has been doing beautiful things. Under the direction of 7 ministry partners, Watermark members have been faithfully choosing to love West Dallas well. And things are changing.
ThroughMercy Street, children have been partnered with mentors and given the opportunity for social and emotional growth through after school programming. Through mentoring relationships these students are reminded that someone cares about them and is rooting for them as they navigate through life. As both mentors and mentees begin a mutually beneficial relationship, not only individual children but entire families are impacted for the better. An entire generation of leadership is being raised in West Dallas.
AtThrive Women’s Clinic women in the middle of crisis pregnancies and health concerns have found spiritual and financial support. Girls who believe they can only have a future by ending their child’s are finding other options. And not only are mothers choosing life for their children, but they’re also choosing life for themselves as they commit to walking with Jesus.
Through the ministry ofACT streets and neighborhoods are being physically transformed as justice is brought to homes harboring criminal activities. Residents are learning to take pride in their streets as they stand up for change. Streets are safer for children and community is being built amongst neighbors through homeowner associations. Darkness is physically being pushed back and families and neighborhood advocates are rising up.
Our friends at2nd Saturday are bringing physical and spiritual restoration to the households of senior citizens and low-income families. And as a need for lawn care and repair services arise, men from the inner city are given a chance at honest work. The community is literally and figuratively rebuilt as neighbor begins to help neighbor with caring for their properties.
AtReaders 2 Leaders, children who are often left behind in the classroom now have access to books and tutoring services. Little boys and girls who are traditionally passed from one grade to another for the sake of convenience now have a fighting chance to learn. In homes where books may be few and far between families now have a library the community can take pride in. Students meet volunteers who believe in them and not only individual students, but an entire school is being changed as relationships are built between the church and the leadership atCF Carr.
And the helping hands atBrother Bill’s are providing both nutritional and spiritual support to families needing assistance. As residents of West Dallas find refuge at a place willing to provide for their tangible food, job, and health needs, they also find their emotional and spiritual needs met as volunteers care for them and point them towards Christ.
Big things are happening in West Dallas because God’s people are moving. And we want to be a part of it.
These West Dallas ministry partners joined us after The Porch one night to invite us to serve with them on April 12th. And we did. Hundreds of us were spread all over the 75212 caring for the community through these partners. And again on April 26th we had the chance to return and celebrate a West Dallas Little League game with our friends at Mercy Street. Both Saturdays were fun, joy was shared, and God was glorified.
But imagine with us if an entire zip code were changed. What would it take? While both days of service were a wonderful place for us each to start, on their own they’re not enough. God isn’t asking us to sacrifice a Saturday, after all, He’s asking us to lay our lives down.
What if an entire generation of believers were mobilized to be the church to the community? Stories like these, already happening, would be multiplied tenfold.
So what next steps are you taking to change a community?
Did you join us during April? Are you committing to invest in West Dallas and our city from here on out? Share with us in the comments what next steps you’re taking to be the church in Dallas. Not sure where you should start? Try here.