Monday, May 24, 2010

NYC Video!

Check out this great video a faithful leader, Stuart Atkins, created during his pre-visit to CSM New York!

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in New York City!

Friday, May 21, 2010

CSM Canadian Partner!

Joe is CSM's Canadian partner - and we are so honored that he'd join us in serving the kingdom together!

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Toronto!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Friends from the Dream Center

Adriana has challenged my expectations. She is a member of the Chicago Dream Center recovery program for women. She is in the third phase of the program, where she is learning job skills by working in the church’s café.
Many of the women that work in the café have been on the streets for countless years. Because of this, one has to be especially patient- frequent repetition, having to thoroughly demonstrate a task, etc. Adriana’s background is no different than any of these other women - she spent 15 years of her life using drugs and living on the streets.
Adriana reminds me that people always have the ability exceed their expectations. I expected to have to carry her through the sandwich making process, but she was an incredible fast learner! Not only did she pick up the skills initially, but her proficiency continues to increase, making her a very helpful partner throughout the day. Working with her day after day reminds me that if you set high expectations for people, you give them the chance to live up to those standards. We should never limit where people can go based on where they’ve been.

Jose is in charge of maintenance at New Life. He grew up in Humboldt Park, and later was involved in a gang at Cabrini Green. He achieved great success as a drug dealer, until God took it all away from him and he found himself in jail. He then entered a recovery program where he was able to earn his Bachelor’s in Social Work. He then began working with the same men that he once ran the streets with! Eventually, God called him to work at the church and he has been there ever since.
Jose has very much become a mentor to me during my time at the church. He has taught me things about marriage, tithing, and other “real life” lessons. But most importantly, Jose has taught me that we all truly have the potential to be people of God’s Kingdom. To think that a former gang member and drug pusher would be a nurturing spiritual father to me is pretty wild- and I think that’s how God likes to work. He brings people together in a way that could only be possible through the Holy Spirit and His grace. Seeing how Jose’s life has turned out really encourages me in my ministry- knowing that every single person truly has the ability to tap into God’s spirit inside them- it helps encourage me, even when ministry becomes trying and painful.

Julie & Shayla:
Working with the girls at the teen center has provided me with many opportunities to teach, and even more chances to learn. Julie and Shayla at two of the girls in the center, and they have both taught me different lessons about working with high-risk teens.
Julie is a tough girl, and she has encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone when interacting with her. She is constantly challenging me to be bold and speak truth to her. It is decidedly easier to tell people what they want to hear, and be “kind” instead of truthful. However, working with Julie has instilled in me that being kind often means speaking painful truth to people. It is more difficult, but my relationship with Julie is more genuine and healthy because she constantly challenges me to keep her accountable and ask tough questions.
Shayla is a constant encouragement to me - and not because she is easy to work with! The first five months that I worked with her, it was like pulling teeth to get her to make even the simplest conversation. She has a lot of trust issues and behind her tough exterior is a very scared girl. Her small strides of initiating conversation, engaging in Bible Study discussions, and coming to me for advice have been so encouraging. Of course, she still has a long way to go before she is completely healed from her damaged past, but God is working! She is always showing me that even a small improvement is a reason to celebrate in the kingdom of God.

Pastor Andres:
In addition to teaching the Bible on Sundays, Pastor Andres has shown me the importance of networking. This man has meetings with everyone from homeless mothers to politicians. Watching him interact with the people of Humboldt Park and the greater Chicago community has shown me the necessity of being relationally flexible. God calls us to have compassion, and to minister to the hurting. That said, God also gives some of the ability to relate to those in power, who can help further God’s work in a more financially supportive way. The incredible thing about Pastor Andres is that he has the ability to treat these varied people as equals, with the same dignity and respect. That is a lesson that I think we can all be constantly learning and relearning, and I’m glad to have a pastor who constantly demonstrates this.

*All names have been changed.

-Mindie, CSM Chicago Apprentice 2009-2010

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Chicago!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food for Thought

"And I think that's what our world is desperately in need of - lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about."
— Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Take on the Beatitudes

TRYAD (To Reconcile You Able Bodied and Disabled) is part of Open Door Ministries in Denver.
This outreach to adults living with disabilities fosters interaction and friendship between different people both with disabilities and without. They encourage seeing beyond our difference to the individual. Listen first hand to the voices of those attending TRYAD!

-Keysha Boggess, CSM Denver City Director

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Denver!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Homeboy Industries Lays Off Majority of Staff

Organizations like Homeboy Industries have made great strides towards gang prevention and has saved hundreds of gang members. Thursday, it was forced to lay off more than 75% of their staff. Read this article from the LA Times...

-Jonathan Liu, CSM Los Angeles City Director

Learn how you can serve with CSM in Los Angeles!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hunting for Rescue Missions

At an economic time where rescue missions are finding it difficult to raise funds for food, and unlikely source steps up to feed the homeless in Los Angeles. Check out this great LA Times article...

-Jonathan Liu, CSM Los Angeles City Director

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


By Monielle Laney, CSM Washington DC Spring 2010 City Host

Spring term
I learned
Everything I thought I kinda knew
I kinda knew…
But Jesus peeped me to something’s that kinda new
Social justice, love of Christ through service pointing to the Gospel
Noticing my heart in particular areas veered on the side of hostile
So costly
But Jesus wrecked shop when He caught me
bought me coffee and then we sat down and had a heart to heart
so it starts
put me in a position to host the city of DC
introduced me to Jason, Tasha & Kristen and invoked my heart to listen
watching closely to see the importance of having quiet time
learning the city, learning its heartbeat, learning the people, learning to pray
being discipled by Kristen in a gentle manner of sorts
learning that a reputation built around Christ is a good report
putting hands to the plow, cooking breakfast, conversation, and feeding the hungry
seeing the picture of Christ in the scriptures feeding His sheep
developing compassion for the lost, not caring about dirty hands and smells
wanting to meet a need and give of my time for no cost at all
forming relationships
developing patience
discovering mission, establishing my position and descriptions of ministry
understanding what it is not
understanding what is is
understanding what it needs to be
seeing smiles, laughter and hugs
giving of myself, unprotected and allowing people in my heart
and noticing where I’m prideful
noticing where I’m weak
noticing where I’m strong
learning to plant the seeds
watching my leaders be an example of how to love
watching my leaders be an example of how to live
watching my leaders and taking their cue that serving is not about you
serving is not about me
serving is outside of me
whatever I’m given, its not for the purpose of keeping it hidden but teaching the younger
to hunger and be in wonder of the grace of our Lord
not looking down on the poor
or turning our heads to the needy
giving the kids our attention
instead of with our affection, being greedy
and keeping it to ourselves
I learned to give it away
I care about these people. I want to see them grow
Through my life see the Savior, so Him they’ll want to know
I’ve learned how to live
A concept I didn’t have a grip on
There’s much more that’s hard to express but…
I’ve learned to keep it simple and the value of selfless friendship
CSM has been a springboard that’s pointed me to our Lord
That’s outside of the stained glass and beyond the Church doors.

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in Washington DC!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Voices of the Streets

Voices of the Streets strives to give a voice to the homeless by sharing their stories. Check out this video that gives a perspective of what it might be like to really walk a mile in someone's shoes.

-Keysha Boggess, CSM Denver City Director

Friday, May 07, 2010

Meeting New Friends in DC

Hey Kids!

I’m exhausted! Hopefully I can write this without fainting.

SO...this morning I had to give my testimony. I have to practice it order to get it down smoothly, it went well. We had devotions on Solitude, Community, and Ministry which was BEAUTIFUL! And then talked a little about how to handle conflict etc. @ our spot/in general.

We went to Bens Chili Bowl (DC Landmark) for lunch. It’s one of the many sites we take our groups to eat during the week. Food was good :)

Then we went for our activity of the day. Natasha and I had to do "Urban Plunge" which meant us going down to Dupont Circle to find a homeless person(s) to share lunch with. All we were given was $2 each and a metro card for the round trip. We were to try to get free food or something within our $4 price range. We decided to walk down to Dupont took us an hour and a half...we coulda just caught the bus but...we couldn’t resist it. ON the way down there we walked through Embassy row, which was dope as all dopeness on 16th street, NW...walked past a gazillion churches that were amazingly built...some other random stuff...eventually Howard University dorms...and then we finally got to Massachusetts Ave and walked down to Dupont.

We came up with a strategy to look for an affordable place to eat first. Everything was so expensive so it was like "Boooooo" lol but eventually we asked to homeless peeps where Mcdonalds was. We then asked their names. Mickey and Nicky surprisingly. lol sounds like a joke but it was real. We introduced ourselves and told them we'd grab them something from Mcdonalds. When we got back they were gone! So we decided to search until we found them. ON our search we met, Warren...he was selling newspapers to raise money for himself. He was a cool dude. The Lord then led us further down the sidewalk where we found Nicky! HA! Look at that!!
She told us Mickey was in the park, but he just had hip replacement surgery so he probably went inside somewhere. We didn’t get to give him his food. :(

Turns out Nicky is a believer. We asked her where she was staying and this started a whole hour long conversation. She told us her life story, how Jesus showed Himself real to her, how He keeps using her to minister to others, and how he loves on her, protects her, feeds her, keeps her, etc. Her story was AMAZING!

One of the best parts was when she started talking about Farrakhan. She said she was in a mosque because she was looking to be a Muslim maybe and...they introduced Farrakhan as "Our brother and the exalted Christ!" and then they asked if there were any questions. LOL! She said she raised her hand and said "What are the dates of you dying, resurrecting and someone being healed from touching the hem of your garment??!" LOL! She said they kicked her out for asking and she told them she's not taking her question back because he is just a man, and she will not bow to NO MAN but God. She was going on and on and it was one of the funniest defenses of our Faith I’ve heard in my life! Then she said her son said to her, "Mom, why’d you say that? They could have smited you." And she said "I wish they WOULD smite me, it’ll be a whole lot of problems up in there!" LOL? (first of you gonna "smite" somebody???!! LOL aww I can’t take it!) lol but yea Nicky was the bomb. She told us so many stories of how the Lord delivered her out of her own nonsense and brung her back to Him.

She's currently staying at shelter in Germantown that cooks for them, keeps her warm etc. That is a blessing from God. I can write about Nicky for another hour...but I won’t. I will say that the peace of God is evident in her life. She reads the Bible, even in her using curse words in her talking at times...the Lords hand on her life, her understanding of scripture upon scripture was SO encouraging to our hearts. We could listen to her talk for another hour. She ministered to us. She had peace and trusted God with her life completely.

One thing she said that stuck with me was, "My son is still Muslim. I’m not gonna yell at him and tell him not to do it, or to do it. The same way the Lord snatched me up when I was in my own sin, He will do the same with my son. He will open his eyes when he's ready."

Beautifully spoken.
We prayed with her and for her. then we hugged her.

Before we left...she pulled out her birth certificate and told us her street name was Nicky.
She told us Jesus told her to tell us her real she told us.


-Monielle, CSM Washington DC Spring 2010 City Host

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Immigration in the Salon

Where's the best place to have a controversial conversation, but still be loved and accepted? At the salon, of course! Check out this recent video from

Want to learn more about a Biblical perspective on immigration? Watch Daniel Carroll's presentation from the 2009 CCDA Conference (10 minutes). Dr. Carroll is the author of Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible.

Learn how YOU can serve with CSM in the city!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nashville Under Water!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Please pray for our CSM Nashville staff, Jes and Kristin, as they begin to evaluate the needs at hand and how to best reach our ministry partners that have been affected.

Update from Nashville: It's a Godsend that we have so many May groups because our ministry sites are asking for help and we are going to be able to give it to them. Our shelters and makeshift shelters are at capacity.

A few articles:

Massive Flood Displaces Displaced Residents of Nashville's Tent Cities

Parts Of Downtown Nashville Under Water

You donate a few ways...
Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to disaster relief fund