Springfield Missouri is much more than it seems. Outwardly it is a city that is in the buckle of the Bible belt. Churches are everywhere and religious life is part of the landscape. But just below the surface is a more tragic reality: Missouri is the meth capital of the US, Greene County reports more domestic violence cases than any other county in the state by a 2 to 1 margin and poverty is present in tragic ways with food insecurity at a 16% in southwest Missouri. (Considerably higher in families with preschoolers) The unholy trinity of meth, domestic violence and poverty yields a daunting challenge.
There could not be a better place than Springfield (Greene County) Missouri for the ministry that John and Hannah Alarid are preparing to launch. They will plant a church that seeks to reach those in the community whose lives have been ravaged by the “unholy trinity”. The church planting effort will be at the center of their efforts because, without a transformed life, there can be no change in the community. Believing that long-term strategies are also part of the addressing the need, their efforts will also include a Hope Home. This strategy will make sure that those whose lives have been touched by tragedy, that includes prison, will have an opportunity to experience real community following release from prison. The Hope Home will be a place can receive the daily support and discipline to break free from the chains of self-destructive lives and choices.
This entire effort is part of the effective CityReach urban church planting network led by Brian Bolt from Pittsburgh, PA. This proven strategy is strategically creating a network of churches committed to reaching a segment of society that desperately needs a spiritual intervention to break the chains of generational poverty where violence and prison form such a formidable grip on people’s lives. I am thrilled that John and Hannah’s Alarid’s vision is coming into reality and that the CityReach initiative now will be present to meet the critical need here in Springfield.
Byron D. Klaus, President
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary