Actually, I pay a LOT of attention to where I live. I love where I live and I want to love the people right where I live.
This is what is kind of disappointing when it comes to church leaders/pastors. I was talking to a leader new to town and he had been warned off an area near my church because of “the crime.” Statistically, it’s just simply not true. Perceptually… it’s crime ridden.
I wish Christians in general just weren’t that way, but I REALLY wish Christian leaders weren’t that way. We want our “safe” neighborhoods. It really hasn’t occurred to us that our presence there could very well MAKE it safe. I don’t say that of ALL neighborhoods, but I will say I’m tired of watching people fighting not to turn their noses up at me when I mention where I live. They try hard, then probably have to readjust their noses in the mirror when they get home.
I don’t intentionally put myself in harm’s way, nor do I want my family in harm’s way. But neighborhoods can be WONDERFUL places… and let’s just say it: WONDERFULLY DIVERSE PLACES… and I’m going to call my shot right here: Wonderfully diverse doesn’t always sound so pleasing to Christians.
Where I live in my city is the lowest crime rate in the entire city, AND quite lower than many suburbs. But is “feels” different. It’s not “pristine.” It has quirky streets and houses and businesses that aren’t chains. It’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. But to warn someone off by saying it’s “crime ridden” is just dishonest.
I’m no saint. But I do love where I live and I’m not disappointed. As pastors, we could really lead the way better for the saints!