See the City
Meet three people from very different parts of North Texas who all have one thing in common: each chose to “see their city” and reach out to their neighbors with the love of Christ. This summer we are encouraging you to look beyond your doorstep into the neighborhood and See the City. You can start simply: getting to know your neighbors, serving with one of our ministry partners, or making an intentional effort to learn about the needs of people around you. We have great ways to “give and go” this summer at watermark.org/go, including this summer’s service activities, ideas for serving with your kids, and other how-to guides. We hope you’re inspired by these stories of people who have seen their city in big and small ways.
Ben and Lauren Solomon
“When my wife, Lauren, and I married, we moved to the Lake Highlands area in Dallas. We both had backgrounds in inner-city ministry, so we quickly joined an urban ministry through Young Life focusing on junior high kids who weren’t currently being reached. When it was time to send our daughter to school, through much prayer, we chose to send her to our neighborhood school, Northlake Elementary. About 88% of the students at Northlake are economically disadvantaged. Few believers have invested in the school, and there is minimal parent and community involvement.
“Whether we are helping put together a school carnival, or making sure every teacher feels valued during Teacher Appreciation Week, God has given us so many opportunities to show people Christ’s love. Our daughter now has friends who are refugees from Burma who will be joining us at a neighborhood Vacation Bible School this summer. We’ve met many parents who love their kids so much but are not able to get involved because they are busy trying to make ends meet.
“None of us have to go to Mexico or Burma to minister to a broad range of people. The Lord has brought the world to our doorstep. All Lauren and I had to do was engage with those who were already in our neighborhood. It’s hard sometimes, but the gospel is not about my comfort. There is so much joy and sweetness in just doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do.”
“About three years ago, we saw entitlement creeping into our family, and we decided to make a change and move out to the country in Aledo. We wanted to disciple our children well and also give them chores like feeding the chickens so they could develop a sense of responsibility.
“As our boys moved into public school, I prayed that God would give us opportunities to make Christ’s name famous in our community. Our home is within walking distance of an intermediate school for 5th and 6th graders. God gave me the idea of creating a safe place for kids to come over and play on Friday afternoons. We started by offering food and snacks and letting the kids play around the yard. Then we started passing out Bible verses and having a quick devotional. If the child memorized the verse they would get a treat the next Friday.
“This turned out to be a great way to reach out to both kids and parents. One mom told us that their family had stopped going to church, and at their son’s request, they started going back. This summer we’re hosting a Bible study for moms. It’s neat to build new relationships with parents and see kids grow in their understanding of Christ. All of these things have been a huge blessing to our family.”
“Our heart really is for the city. Although I like all that Dallas has to offer, my hope is that we have something to offer it. My wife, Ally, and I both feel called to minister to people all around downtown, whether that is a young adult in Uptown, a business man in downtown, or someone with one of our ministry partners in South or West Dallas. We wanted to live where we felt called to ministry. So we chose a place near downtown that is very diverse economically and racially. It is probably a better snapshot of Dallas than where we were living before.
“We’ve invited our friends to hang out where we live because we are passionate about having them see parts of the city they may not have been before. Our first night to go to dinner down here, we had the opportunity to engage with our Muslim cab driver and a Russian police officer about their faith. After two very long conversations, Ally and I were excited to see what life would be like down here. Every conversation is different, but we have found that even when people aren’t believers, there’s a vulnerability and openness that has allowed for some great spiritual conversations.
“We didn’t see many healthy, thriving churches in the downtown area, and we want to be part of bringing the church to people. It’s not about a building, but instead building a community where people can find hope. We now have opportunities almost every day to share about Christ or ask people intentional questions. All of the unique stories and people are what makes living in the city so great. That’s the reason I love Dallas.”
Get started with Give & Go: “See the City”