Over the last few weeks I have been writing about the various means by which the Lighthouse church community has been proclaiming the gospel to San Francisco (see here, here, and here). I emailed the youth pastor, Danny Reyes, asking for more information about their work amongst troubled juveniles. He responded by reminding me that the programs that he was going to discuss are not offered directly through the church as church programs but rather that people from the church have been incarnationally going into programs already established by the local government.
The program of note is the Detention Diversion Advocacy Program “targets the highest risk youth in the juvenile justice system and offers them intensive case management and a comprehensive range of community services.” They note:
Many programs target first time offenders but CJCJ recognizes that 70% of first time offenders never offend again, and therefore considers it more effective to concentrate funding and rehabilitation services on repeat offenders, who generally have more complicated needs and are consequently more difficult to serve. (More here)
Danny tells me, ” [Lighthouse] Members provide weekly mentoring/discipleship sessions at Juvenile Hall; prayer and pastoral counsel to youth awaiting trial or serving out lengthy juvenile hall commitments; monthly worship services to various units within juvenile hall; and support to families of detained youth.”
Danny himself works with youth and their transition from Out of Home Placement. These youth have completed a sentence at a group home or youth facility. It is his job to put together a collaborative and comprehensive plan for “reentry” into the community. He is supported completely by donations.
Kimo Uila, who directs Sunday School for the Lighthouse, also advocates for alternatives to detention; provides intensive case-management to the highest risk youth in the “system”; and connects youth with community based organizations that can provide services based on the youth’s specific needs and interests.
There are others.
Imagine that: a children ministry director and a youth ministry director embedded in the city’s juvenile centers trying to share Christ with those most detached from society. I wonder what fruit will fall from that tree in the years to come. Who knows, but I think this is where we’d find Jesus.
If you’d be interested in supporting Lighthouse you can donate here. If you’d like to know more about how you can partner with them comment or email me at email@example.com.
I love what this church is doing Brian. Have you heard of Tim Chester / Crowded House?
@Craig: Actually yes. He is in the UK, correct?
That is him… he will say to a young person who likes skating.. we will train you to evangelise and you go to the skate park.. that will be your church… very much into empowering and releasing.
Lighthouse’s pastor, Jeff Garner (whom I will always call “my pastor”), is very much the same way. His heart is for the Kingdom and his shepherds his local people. It is a wonderful balance because he is not aiming for celebrity but for care of souls and part of that care is preparing them to go where the Spirit leads.
That is awesome. I have thought about church planting for many years. Reading about this church really stirs my heart up as to the way church really should go. I heard an Australian AOG pastor speak back in 99 / 2000 about how every elder in his church has to be part of a community organisation and if that organisation has something on during a Sunday or other church event; they have to get involved with what that org is doing…
Wow, that’s a bold move. I put a little more emphasis on the worship gathering but I think that is why it is good to have like a Saturday evening, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening so people can do things like that while remaining connected to the community in corporate worship.
That is awesome. Just flat out awesome.
@Jeremy: I agree!
I agree with the importance of being connected. What they have found though is that the church has built great bridges within the community and the community organisations are turning to the church as a source of community help and referral and the church is finding they are becoming more and more accepted within the community as a voice for the community.
I’m very supportive of that idea. I think it is great. I don’t often quote Rob Bell but I remember he one time noted that we must ask ourselves if whether or not our church closed tomorrow if the neighbors would notice. I think a healthy church is known, in part, for its communal impact.
Yeah, this is wonderful stuff. You’re right to reference Bell here. 🙂
@TC: Wonderful indeed. This church more than over achieves. They are Spirit reliant! God has been accomplishing great things through them against mighty intimidating odds.
@ Brian, my brother frm another mama, we keep forgetting your in Oregan, its as if u never left sf, good to hear youll be in city, love n appreciate all u do, praying for laborers!
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