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Living in and Serving the Urban Community of Brookside

Written by Sean Warner on

Group Members

Anxious, uncertain, waiting: all of us have been there, but fortunately we have a God who meets us and provides every time. I didn’t expect God would provide for me by calling me to serve at a place that was once coined the attractive name “the swamp.”


The Brookside neighborhood is comprised of approximately 2,500 residents.

  • Racism is still prevalent.
  • Many houses are abandoned, and a myriad of other homes are too decrepit to be inhabited.
  • Many marriages are at best unhealthy for those who have stayed. There are almost no godly father figures influencing the family.
  • Fox 59 reported that Brookside was once “one of the highest crime areas in the city.”
  • Most schools don’t have the resources or the staff to support a healthy learning environment for children.

Now things are turning.

The once lethal, sticky web of generational poverty is breaking because Jesus is setting individuals free. The newfound safety and the peaceful aura of the city is to be attributed to God alone, for only He is able to completely change lives and thus change the community.

Nehemiah Bible Church, Heart Change, Covenant Community Housing, Purposeful Design, and The Oaks Academy are all ministries that College Park partners with to see God’s transformation in Brookside.


Two years ago, Brookside was a neighborhood that I likely drove by on the way to a Pacer’s playoff game, but now it is a place filled with students and neighbors whom I love.

I have a deep heart for Abby. She is a 1st grade student who I am tutoring. God is by His grace is producing a heartfelt compassion in me for the oppression and struggles specific to African-Americans.

One of the things that I noticed Brookside did for me was it revealed sin that I did not know I had. It would be accurate to say that God was bringing me a kind blessing by living in an apartment in Brookside. My role has primarily focused on taking care of other souls, yet being concerned with others’ growth has proved to be the best thing for my own maturity.


Mentors, tutors, Bible study leaders, woodworking teachers, and missionally-minded people who want to love a community that is on the upswing would greatly benefit the citizens of Brookside.

If you are looking for an opportunity to make disciples and invest in men’s and women’s lives, I highly encourage you to sign up to spend a Saturday in Brookside for a Brookside Road Trip. After all, you don’t need to move down to the neighborhood to make an impact. I’m so glad God called me to serve in  “the swamp,” and if the Lord leads you here I know you will be too.



Read more about College Park’s ministry and partnerships in Brookside at the Urban Outreach page.

Sean Warner

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