One of my favorite things to do is create environments where people can connect with God, with each other and with something bigger than themselves. The opportunity to help engineer an experience that is a collision of all those things is so exciting to me!
This past Sunday night, Stretch, the young adult community I co-lead at Cross Point, hosted the first in what will be a series of ART & ACTION events. The vision of the ART & ACTION concept is to design experiences that engage a variety of artistic expressions to create awareness and action around a particular cause. I had been wanting the group to do something like this for awhile, but it just didn’t pan out until now.
For our first ART & ACTION event, we partnered with Atlanta-based Unthinkable, hosting a screening of their documentary, “My Concrete Mattress”, which captures and portrays the lives of four homeless people: John, Dwight, Deborah and Anthron. The goal of the film is to move beyond the stereotypes of homelessness to display the true stories of four people, and educate viewers of lives affected by poverty. We were joined by Unthinkable’s Johnathan Goode and Wes Peters, who created the film. Jonathan shared the vision and heart behind “My Concrete Mattress” and challenged us all to both see and serve the homeless and oppressed through the limitless love of God, not just our own compassion.
Check out the “My Concrete Mattress” trailer:
We were also joined by guests from four local organizations who serve Nashville’s homeless community in a number of unique ways. Representatives from Safe Haven Family Shelter, The Bridge Ministry, Room In The Inn and Nashville Rescue Mission were all on hand to speak after the documentary, sharing the heart and vision of their respective organizations, as well as presenting practical volunteer opportunities for people to immediately get involved in. To move hearts is one thing, to move feet is another.
Between the impactful documentary, the challenging words of Jonathan Goode and hearing the hearts of all our guests, it was indeed a powerful night. It was amazing to see God at work in the room, moving in people’s hearts as they took in all that was presented.
As Stretch is still relatively new, we’re still experimenting with lots of ideas, experiencing lots of firsts and constantly dreaming of unique ways to engage this group and consistently be moving outside our comfort zones together. As such, I was honestly unsure how many people would even show up for something like this. However, I was absolutely overwhelmed at the response of our group, and we had a new record attendance of 141 people on Sunday night. I was blown away, not only by the number of people who came, but by the level at which they engaged and responded. That night was like a spiritual Red Bull that fueled the vision of what we do at Stretch so much more! I believe we successfully executed a beautiful collision of ART & ACTION that is immediately impacting how and why people serve and do outreach. We’re already talking through details for our next ART & ACTION event in May!
It is such an honor to be able to serve, do life and pursue Christ with this amazing community of people we call Stretch.
Below are some pictures from the ART & ACTION event.
Jonathan and Wes are currently on The Unthinkable 2011 American Tour, screening My Concrete Mattress all across the country. For more information about My Concrete Mattress and hosting The Unthinkable Tour and a screening of “My Concrete Mattress” in your city, visit www.beunthinkable.org.
What is a unique way that you are engaging the community around you?