Most nights 70 – 80 kids show up, probably for the food, but also for the video games and the ping pong table and the pool table. And yes, even for the 20 minute inspirational talk. On rainy evenings even more kids pack into the building.
But when you definitely didn’t eat breakfast, and you probably didn’t eat lunch because your parents forgot (or just weren’t interested enough) to fill out the “free lunch” forms, then you tend to get pretty hungry by the time 5:30 rolls around.
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The first time I met Chuck was outside The Factory, a youth and community center that he runs. I have a feeling he’s older than he looks, but hanging with kids all the time keeps you young. He shook my hand and looked me in the eye. And I liked him. No nonsense. Practical. Holding the course. That’s the feeling I got.
He showed me into The Factory, a renovated house where local, impoverished youth spend their afternoons and evenings. He used to use Bible stories in his talks, or read from scripture. Then one night, during a talk about Adam and Eve, when the blank stares became overwhelming, he asked a question.
“Listen, how many of you guys know the story of Adam and Eve? The Garden of Eden? Original sin?”
Out of the 80 kids there, 3 or 4 raised their hands.
“This generation doesn’t know the old Bible stories,” he said. “And that’s okay. I don’t care. I just want them to understand how much Jesus loves them. I just want them to go to bed with full stomachs. I want them to have a place to go if they need help.”
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Recently one of the kids who is always at The Factory had a parent that died, and the kid vanished. For 24 hours no one knew where he was. He wouldn’t take any of his family’s phone calls or reply to anyone’s texts.
Well, actually, there was one person he sent texts to all day.
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There are no strings attached at The Factory. If you want food, you come and take as much as you want. If you want help finding a job, show up and they’ll walk you through the interview process. If you’ve experienced death in the family, let them know and they’ll connect you with a local church – not because that church will recruit you, but because they will provide you with some meals, and someone to talk to.
Too often we leverage our position and privilege when working with those in poverty. “We’ll give you access to support and programs, but only if you come to church. We’ll provide for you, but only after you listen to us read from the Bible.”
What would my life look like if I lived out my Christianity with no strings attached?
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You can learn more about the awesome things going on at The Factory, inquire about volunteer opportunities, or make a donation HERE.
4 Replies to “Christianity With No Strings Attached”
Love this ministry … love this type of ministry!!! It’s so exciting to see kids faceS … their hearts lifted … when, as a teenager, they FIRST can hear about Jesus : )
I think the Church would be much better off if it actually treated the world with ‘no strings attached’ but just loved them and helped them where they needed help.
Great reminder that we need to seek first to invest in the lives of others. Christ was always taking the time to address peoples needs and to meet them where they are at. We need to do the same.
I grew up hearing about the Factory all the time. But since I lived 2 miles up the road, it was just out of my range.
Though, hearing stories like this make me rather proud of what it is and what’s going on there.
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