By Lisa Cannon Green
Conventional wisdom would have told Bow Down Church to hire a children’s pastor right away for its growing kids ministry. Instead, the inner-city church plant in West Palm Beach, Florida, chose a full-time outreach pastor.
“Our church has bought into this paradigm shift,” says pastor Chris Tress, “and that is why we have more people in our outreaches every week than we do on Sunday morning.”
Bow Down ministers to about 500 people every week, dwarfing its Sunday morning attendance of 140 adults and 60-80 children. The church feeds homeless people every Monday; provides free prayer and counseling services; and has bought eight inner-city homes to use for discipleship, staff housing, and a homeownership program.
It conducts an intense 10-month discipleship program in which young adults live in the inner city and serve alongside ministry leaders.
Bow Down also mentors children from its inner-city neighborhood. “We cannot just do Sunday school once a week anymore—these children need more than that,” says Tress. “Our goal is to have every child connected with a mentor who will build a deep relationship with them and walk through life with them.”
This is one of the small church profiles from the cover story, “The Power of Small: Church Size No Barrier to Thinking Big.”
LISA CANNON GREEN (Lisa.Green@LifeWay.com) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.