Damian Williams had a vision for what it means to be the church in an urban setting and today that vision has spawned the Steel City Church in Pittsburgh, PA. See http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06256/721297-51.stm for more about how this unique urban church is trying to live as followers of Jesus Christ in a very real way, right where they should be: where hurts, pain, emptiness and needs are, right on the main Strip of downtown Pittsburgh.
Here are a few thoughts that I grabbed out of the article that really spoke to me about how he envisions what it means to be the church--to live out the gospel.
"If the sermon's about loving one's neighbor as oneself, we might ask 'What does that look like?' 'How am I living that I can make that happen?' "
"The real church is what we do through the week."
"We want to build a community in which none of us can do it on our own."
"[Damian] spent the day after the church debut sitting in Market Square with people who smell bad, who ask for handouts, who sell drugs and sex -- people he said a traditional church would consider 'the unwanted harvest.' "
Jesus did not call us to withdraw from the world, but to be a light in the world. Light shines brightly in the darkness. So, one of the reasons this article really jumped out at me is because I love seeing men and women who are seeking to truly go into the world and be bearers of Christ's love and truth, evidences of His coming kingdom, when all will be restored to the way things should be.
"I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one...As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." -Jesus
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." -Jesus
Here's the Steel City Church website if you are curious about more http://www.steelcitychurch.com/who_mission.aspx