In 2007, CSM observed that many short-term missionaries were coming to San Francisco (SF) each Summer to serve and hardly anyone coming to Oakland. There were approximately 30 missionaries per week in Oakland, compared to about 300 in SF. It’s well known throughout the county that there is need in SF, as well as it being an attractive vacation destination spot. SF is still a beautiful destination spot with huge needs.
Oakland was the forgotten land, in the shadow of “The City” that you passed on your way to SF. CSM decided it was time to expand into the East Bay and put down roots in the under-served and overlooked Oakland.
We created a prayer tour to highlight both the needs of Oakland and how God is very much at work in this city. There are incredible organizations we have come alongside to serve in this overlooked area up and down the East Bay.
Oakland is also gaining much popularity as a place to visit. It has become a dinning hotspot and was ranked in the top 10 US destinations in 2015 by Lonely Planet travel guide 2015. Also in 2015 Oakland saw the greatest increase in housing prices in the nation as its popularity has increased. Our Apprentice Micah Wilson wrote the following poem in reflection on living in Oakland during her time working with CSM:
Often times I hear that perception is reality
Knowing that people think this way troubles me
Love and laughter burst through the seams of my city
Although that's not what most outsiders choose to see
Nevertheless, here I found a sense of community
night food trucks
Farmer's markets at the lake
The small relief of catching BART home after a long day
Jack London and art shows, Steph Curry with the three
Despite perception, these things are home and this is my reality.
There is huge need in the Bay Area for service and sharing the gospel. CSM is thrilled to be part of connecting people who want to serve and make a difference with established organizations and churches throughout SF and the East Bay.
Come help us influence the Church and community and honor Christ not only in San Francisco, but also in Oakland and the East Bay.
- Jason and Kim Foster, CSM San Francisco Bay Area City Directors