Jackson Heights House
Our microchurch expression began nearly five years ago when we transplanted our family from suburb-living in Temple Terrace to the streets of Jackson Heights. We moved intentionally to experience the presence of God in a deeper, more tangible way. Not trying to be overly spiritual, but just feeling that this was a perfect time to take a risk and be adventurous this side of heaven while dealing a serious blow to our white-centered thinking. Into a place that many call "dangerous”, we are looking for Him in the lives of people that many disregard. We began our journey with many long walks focused on meeting our new neighbors and praying for any expressed needs. With excitement many were invited to our table for dinner and life-sharing. A few large parties have created great opportunities for connecting and sharing Jesus. We have made great friends and several have joined us in our call to intentionally love this neighborhood.
Two years ago my husband, Tom, took on a tree-house building project with the intention of attracting neighborhood kids. This led him into relationship with some high-school age young men who wanted to assist. They loved helping build the structure, and it created a longing in them to return and play. It also gave them ownership in something, and they were sure to tell their friends. In the same season, our next door neighbor grew in friendship with my husband as they discussed following Jesus with their whole lives. Tom and he found a great opportunity to invest in the lives of these young men and so began the Jackson Heights "Boyz Club". They met on Saturday mornings to investigate how God was relevant to their lives. Tom was able to maintain their interest through scout training, games, exercise and adventures. This club only lasted the summer, but has produced significant long-term relationships with these young men. And the respect these guys have for Tom has become infectious to many of the other neighborhood children.
In what we are calling the “Second Season,” we have had several more families and single folks join us on the adventure. We gather weekly to study the Bible, pray, worship, share a meal and our lives. Together we have embraced a similar mission and are calling it “KidZ CluB”. This is the highlight of our micro church! Our mission is simple - to share God's love with each child. Each week we cross the street to meet many at a community field. We engage the children through practical Bible lessons, drama, a mystery box, and by playing games like baseball, kickball, SPUD and Red Rover! They hear about Jesus and His love and purpose for their lives. Our curriculum is focused on building a solid foundation for these kids to know God through the whole of scripture. They play and have fun with people who are praying for them and care about their needs. We aren't super-spiritual. We're just trying to build God's Kingdom one life at a time in our neighborhood.
Our vision continues to grow. It has led us into the homes of these children… into their pain, their craziness, and into the broken lives of many adults. We are intentionally returning often to meet practical needs and to build relationships. Our visits have turned to prayer meetings and Bible discussions. This has become extremely exciting and stirs us to pray for more workers in the harvest field. We wait patiently - yet with great anticipation - for God to bring more of His Kingdom to Jackson Heights!
~ Elyce Tate