My son, Matthew Armstrong, directs a ministry that began over fifteen years ago when a Christian businessman developed a plan to reach children in public schools. He invited my son to lead this effort which is now called Crossroads Kids Club. I am often in awe of this ministry and of my son, not because Matt is my son (which is enough in itself really) but because the ministry is so effective and so powerfully connected to the church and her mission to kids without hope in this world.
Recently Matt sent a letter to friends of the ministry that included the following:
We are in a very interesting place. If things come together in the next few days and weeks, we could have 30+ clubs. Likewise, we could end up losing ground from last year. I am someone who is a doer, and I have done all that I can do. I don’t see anything I could do differently or better, but simply we need God to intervene. Here are some very specific things I would like to ask you to pray about. Some of these will be shared tomorrow with the prayer list, but others will not.
[There are] . . . two Milwaukee schools [that] have Christian principals and are very open to clubs there. We need churches! Our club developer has been working on this for months. Please pray for things to come together and for churches to see the amazing opportunity. I find it so hard to believe that churches would not want to take advantage of the opportunity to share Jesus with children.
It is this final sentence which both astounds me and grieves me. I am not making this up friends – churches do not deeply desire to put aside their programs that do not reach needy children, especially from poorer homes, when they are shown how they can actually reach kids in their own community at very little financial cost. The issue, in other words, is not money or opportunity. The issue is desire and focus. Sadly, desire and focus is generally not present in local congregations.
After sharing about another few clubs Matt then adds:
Speaking of leaders, [another Chicago area school] is wide open. We have had a club there for two years, but the leaders have decided to step aside because of family issues. At this moment, the church behind this club does not have a leader, and there will be no club there. Thus we now have [four] churches that need a leader to step up to take charge of a club in their area.
Another [Chicago area] church was just rejected by the principal at a specific school so we are seeking an opening at another school (a second choice school) so this church can start a Kids Club there.
I feel like things are spiraling out of control. We have open schools with no churches. Then we have churches with no leaders, and we have leaders and a closed school. We need the Lord to move mightily. And so I am pleading with you to pray please. Thank you!
Reading this letter reminded me of how deeply the church needs to recover Christ’s mission to the world, not just to a program to provide for children and people who already come to church. Emil Bruner said, “The church exists for mission as fire exists for burning!” If this is true then why is it that when most churches are shown how they can easily reach into the lives and homes of children right next door to their church, and yet these children are outside their present church family, will not become involved? Thank God some do but why are there so few?
Matt concludes his letter saying: “Trusting that he is good, that he loves the children and has a plan, Matt.”