Yesterday the Highland staff and elders gathered at our new facility in east Shelby County. The surburban location is at the edge of the fastest population growth in the region. We prayerfully drove through the 11 major neighborhoods/retail areas within 2 miles of the new facility. My group drove through The Enclave. There were homes in this gated community larger than any I’ve ever personally seen–some as large as small hotels; some that looked like castles. The lots were 3-6 acres, many containing horses grazing. The Enclave is clearly home to some of the wealthiest in metro-Memphis.
Today Highland staff, elders and others gathered at a potential new facility for Memphis Urban Ministry in downtown Memphis. Located on Exchange Street, the facility once housed an urban ministry connected to Independent Christian Churches. The building has been abandoned for several years. It sits in the shadow of 201 Poplar (the downtown jail) and is surrounded by the poor and homeless. In fact, several homeless have broken into the building and are using it as sleeping quarters. Human waste, garbage, and stained clothes littered the rooms. MUM hopes to purchase the facility and turn it into a hub of social and spiritual services for the poor.
Enclave to Exchange. That’s the new boundary of Highland’s ministry. We hope to lead the wealthiest surburbanites and the poorest inner city residents to full and satisfying life in Christ. I believe Jesus loves those in the Enclave. I believe he loves those on Exchange. I believe he’s called Highland to love both as well.