Homeless Church

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

    Flint City Church has no space.  No office.  No place to meet during the week.  We simply rent space every Sunday for our gathering.  And that arrangement has come to end.  Our lease wasn’t renewed, so we found ourselves in the unenviable position of having to find somewhere else to gather.

    It’s a crazy thing.  I have been saying for 20 years that the church is not a building.  That it is people.  But every church I have ever served at has had brick and mortar.  I have always had an office.  Then I come out to Flint town.  And there is no building.  Without an office, I find myself officing in locations with free wi-fi.  The Flint Farmers Market on Tuesday, Starbucks on Wednesday, so on and so forth.  And officing out in the city allows me to meet business owners and employees of many fine establishments.  If I had an office, I would be hidden away all day in my own self-imposed religious ghetto.  Instead I am out in the streets.  And it is great.

    So, as the month goes by, I feel the pressure of finding a place for our young church to gather.  I find myself praying often for peace… trying to lay things down and not allow their weight to burden me down.  I walked around the city meeting building owners and businessmen, looking for a place.  Calls went unreturned.  Men with power scoffed openly at the foolishness of the cross, and said their institutions wanted nothing to do with any people of faith.  And as the days went by, I saw no place.  Nowhere to go.  

    And then, at the eleventh hour, as I was about to lead our people out of the neighborhoods we have labored for so fiercely, I received word from a brother in the city.  That text brought me to Carriage Town Ministries, an organization that I have been friends with for over a decade.  Carriage Town works with the homeless and the hurting.  They are engaged in a myriad of initiatives to give a hand up, not just a hand out.  They love Jesus and are committed to the city of Flint.  They have just renovated their chapel, and after a conversation with many questions and answers, offered us the right hand of fellowship.

    Flint City Church is going to be meeting at Carriage Town Ministries.  Two organizations that are for Jesus, for Flint, and for the Kingdom are entering into partnership.  This Sunday, after a week of revival meetings and outreach initiatives, we begin meeting at this historic mission.  

    So, we still don’t own a building.  We still roll in and roll out our gear every week.  But we have a place to lay our head for this next season.  And we get to walk alongside a great organization.  I am beyond grateful, beyond excited for how God is going to use this partnership, and a little nervous of how God might open up mighty doors as we continue to serve faithfully.  

-Ernesto Alaniz

Flint, June 2016