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Moving Toward Shalom: Transforming Lives and Restoring Communities


A friend of mine is a business owner and deacon at a large affluent church. A few years back he started looking around his community and was struck by the amount of economic disparity among his neighbors. At his church, he saw wealth, skills, and business connections. He asked, “How can we leverage our resources so that our neighbors flourish both spiritually and financially?” Today the church runs a ministry that teaches financial and Biblical literacy to their neighbors, with the goal of welcoming them into fellowship. One of their first graduates was hired to run a part of the program.

I share my friend’s story not to propose a model for ministry, but as an example of what happens when we look around. When my friend looked around, he and his team connected resources with opportunities, resulting in shalom (peace) in the community.
When you “look around” in your circle, what resources and opportunities do you see?

This year our Express Grace Conference is titled “Moving Toward Shalom: Transforming Living & Restoring Communities.” We’ll hear from two authors who specialize in economic discipleship: Brian Fikkert (When Helping Hurts) and Michael Rhodes (Practicing the King’s Economy). Our ministry partners (organizations that serve the community) will share how Southwood congregants can get involved through volunteerism and prayer.

More than just a single event, we want to catalyze the conversation about how we get to express grace in our everyday lives, through our individual lives with people around us, or as we serve with our partners. For the past year, our Community Development Team (aka “Comm Dev”) has been talking about how God invites us to express grace in healthy ways:

We get to express grace humbly.
God invites us into the work of restorative justice not because we have all the answers, but because He does. That requires humble listening and learning from the experiences of people who are different.

We get to express grace sacrificially.
The rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27) shows us that following Jesus demands our all. As we follow Him on the pathway toward community renewal, we might be asked to sacrifice our comfort, preferences, time, and money.

We get to express grace as a lifestyle.
God invites us to seek the good of our communities in every phase, at every stage—from the stay-at-home parent building relationships in the park, to the CEO who pays employees a livable wage, to the widower who reads to kids at a school.  Tim Keller says, “Re-weaving shalom means to sacrificially thread, lace, and press your time, goods, power, and resources into the lives and needs of others.” And it’s not that we “have” to do this kind of gospel-advancing work—we get to.

We hope that you’ll join us to kick off the year by learning how you can express grace humbly, sacrificially, and as a lifestyle in Huntsville and beyond.

Conference Schedule

January 26-27 2019


Saturday · 9AM to Noon
Leadership Training with Michael Rhodes. Michael will discuss how we can express grace more intentionally in our daily lives.

5:30PM to 8PM · Family dinner & teaching session with Brian Fikkert
Dr. Fikkert will share principles from his book, When Helping Hurts. Free tickets for the dinner are available.

Sunday · 9:30AM
Worship Service. Dr. Fikkert will preach.

11:00AM · Connect Hour
Local missions partners will join us to share opportunities to be a part of what God is doing in Huntsville.