This full-time social service administrator and part time seminary professor and pastor says that when congregations get a deeper vision for the plight of the poor, everybody wins.
In this interview, Jimmy tells us how he helps introduce suburban congregations to the urban poor – and how God does amazing things as a result.
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Born out of a disenchantment with how the institutional church was handling the plight of the poor, this preacher’s kid started The Church Under the Bridge in 1992 with a 5 person Bible Study. Today, more than 300 people attend and the emphasis is decisively on others. Here are my notes from the interview:
Get Out of the Box
Jimmy says some of the best training church leaders can get is to worship with Christians they know very little about – for example Catholics visiting Black Pentecostal churches and Lutherans visiting mega churches – we can learn from one another!
The Other Side of _______(Your City) Tour
One way to get suburban churches involved with the urban plight is to get a bus or van and plan a Saturday guided tour of downtown, including social service agencies and the stories of those whose lives have been transformed through vibrant ministries. What would it take to do this in your town?
Only 8% of Our Churches Are Multi-Cultural
Jimmy laments that this is far below the percentage of other, secular institutions. He says the church must work harder at including those from different cultures in their comm
About Jimmy Dorrell
Jimmy Dorrell is co-founder of Mission Waco/Mission World, a large interdenominational urban ministry focused on empowering the poor and mobilizing middle-class Christians. The ministry offers 15 programs and employs 55 staff members. Jimmy also helped found Church Under the Bridge, a congregation of 300 racially and economically diverse worshippers who meet weekly under the Interstate 35 underpass near Baylor University. Dorrell is also an adjunct professor at Baylor University and George W. Truett Seminary.
Jimmy holds degrees from Baylor, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of three books and several articles and writes regularly for the Waco Tribune Herald. He is on the Advisory Board for Christians Community Development Association and has served on over twenty local boards. The Dorrells have four adult children and four grandchildren.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Are you headed to the Wild Goose festival? Thousands of campers are headed to the beautiful hills of North Carolina June 21-24. Wild Goose is a festival at the intersection of justice, spirituality, and art. Some of this year’s guests are Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, and Shane Claiborne. ChurchNext is a proud sponsor – find out more at wildgoosefestival.org
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.