After moving into a poor neighborhood in Richmond, VA Presbyterian minister Corey Widmer got involved in his community. Little did he know how powerful the hand of God would be upon him, his neighborhood, and the work he would help give birth to.
Call it Reverse Church Planting, Corey’s experiment with the East End Fellowship is an amazing example of modern day, domestic missionary activity that is producing the fruit of racial reconciliation sorely needed in our cities today. You’ll be inspired and touched by this great story.
Watch the Full Program
Rather listen? Click here for the Mp3
Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel, yet not often taken as seriously as Corey Widmer takes it. As a Princeton Seminary grad with a good position at Richmond’s prestigiousThird Presbyterian Church, Corey could have taken an easier road in his ministerial career, but he gave up more to get a whole lot more. Here are my notes.
People Not Projects
Corey is adamant about striking up relationships out of love and mutual concern – period. Moving into a neighborhood to love and serve others was the agenda, and could have stopped there. But the Lord used this foundation to build a work that is making a big difference.
Not Just a ‘Cool Church’
Sure, there is a certain attraction to the inner city edginess of worship in an old movie theater with hip music and lots of urban pioneers. However, Corey is adamant that EEF is about seeking God – and seeing how something bigger is happening. 75% of the EEF flock lives in the neighborhood.
The 75% Rule
In a congregation of white, black, rich, poor, CEOs and the homeless, there is bound to be conflict. Corey says if you’re enjoying more than 75% or the service, its being too controlled by one influence.
About Corey Widmer
Corey Widmer is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he met his wife Sarah. He has lived in England, where he worked for John Stott. Corey holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. In June 2005 he moved into inner city Richmond (North Churchill) to join a group of friends there who are committed to the city. He has a deep concern for racial reconciliation in the church and wants to share God’s passion for the renewal and peace of the city and those who live in it (Jer. 29: 7). He joined the staff at Third Presbyterian as the Associate Pastor of Outreach in July 2005. Since February 2008, he has also served as co-pastor, along with Don Coleman, of East End Fellowship, a multi-ethnic neighborhood congregation in Church Hill in the East End of Richmond. He’s grateful that Third considers this work in the city as a vital part of our congregation’s vision.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Church Post – If you are looking to improve your church’s communications you’ve got to check out this great email platform. I’ve found it easy-to-use, reliable, and John, Debra and Kim are great to work with.
Wistia – If you’re still hosting your videos at YouTube or another ‘free’ video sharing site you know the drawbacks. Wistia helps me put out great looking videos and see who’s watching for how long. The Wistia staff is easy to work with and very professional.
The Grow My Church Store – Everything from mugs to pens to fridge magnets, this is a promotional products store aimed at helping churches become closer communities, more hospitable, and welcoming. I started this store and shop there often because I couldn’t find anywhere else to go for these products.