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Reflections on a Brookside Road Trip

Written by April McClelland on


Last October, my husband Nathan and I, along with our three boys, went on a Brookside Road Trip. While I had known about the Brookside ministries from different handouts; testimonies; and updates through church, seeing it for myself brought those puzzle pieces together.

At first, I wasn’t sure kids were allowed. After a quick email to Pastor Dale Shaw, I learned they are encouraged to come! So, I signed us all up online and marked the calendar. The kids learned that the day included donuts; a fun race; and lunch, so they were sold. As a mom, I was thrilled to find an activity with a planned breakfast and lunch— I was like: “Sign us up for all the tours!”

We started out at The Oaks Academy, with the promised and highly-anticipated donuts. After Pastor Dale informed us about the Brookside ministries and neighborhood, we went to see some of the different areas he spoke about.

We made our first stop and I loved the energy that was among the group as we learned of the significance of the location and prayed for the people who were involved. We toured the outside of The Oaks Academy, Brookside Park (with the optional, but very exciting, race) and Purposeful Design (both the current and future locations). We then visited the Shaws’ home and a home rented by three young ladies who moved to Brookside after a going on a Road Trip. How amazing is that? Lastly, we toured Heart Change Ministries.

It was eye-opening and challenging to learn about the Brookside ministries and the College Parkers living missionally in the neighborhood. For a while, we’ve felt called to pray for bigger things for our family. After experiencing Brookside and the desperate need for the Gospel in this neighborhood – we realize this may be that bigger thing. That might mean moving to Brookside to live missionally, being involved in the ministries, or partnering in prayer. In my 37 years of life, I am continually learning that it’s my heart the Lord wants.

As we wait, we are being challenged to live missionally now, as a result of taking this tour. It is harder in some ways—where we are now, there are no front porches and garage doors can’t go down fast enough it seems— but there are real people behind those doors and they need Jesus too. This will mean stepping out of comfort zones and being bold in our neighborhood. It’s what God calls us to and it must be done.

I challenge you to sign up for an upcoming Brookside Road Trip. Bring your friends or small group. Go, praying that God will change you, that you will be open to his call. Go so you learn more about Brookside and what is happening, so you know how to pray for this desperate area of our city. I know God is doing great things in this area and I believe there are bigger things to come.

 Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

April McClelland

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