In this final installment of our “Kingdom Vision” blog series, it is our hope that you have been challenged to further orient your lives according to His ways. I had personally been praying for a healthy church to plant in our new CLDI building since 2016. Dinner Church, and the Brakke’s ministry, have been a direct answer to my prayer! If you haven’t yet been, put it on your calendar to pay them a visit one of these Wednesdays.
DINNER & CHURCH
My name is Hailey Brakke and my husband is David and we’d love to introduce ourselves to you. We are from Seattle, Washington, and moved to Billings, Montana two years ago to start an unconventional church to serve downtown Billings. We gather on Wednesdays at 6:30 and our gatherings revolve around the two best things in the world: Jesus and food! We host the dinner in the CLDI building and it’s called Dinner Church; it’s a party for Jesus every week and we love it!
David and I value living in the community where we serve, so we moved to the South Side. When looking for a place to live, we met a family selling their beautiful home on the South Side, and incredibly – they wanted to move out the same week we wanted to move in! Easy-open door. In all honesty, I was a bit nervous because I’d heard a lot of whispers and gossip about the South Side stereotype. On day one, Jesus gave me the most precious gift of reassurance with a knocking at the door by a bubbly and energetic 7-year-old boy – our first neighbor. He begged us to let him help with our move-in, and he has come over to play in our yard and collect our chicken eggs every day since. When we moved into the house, he moved into our hearts! Does he have a hard life? Yes. But this neighbor boy was obsessed with learning more about Jesus and being a good neighbor and we took him to Dinner Church every Wednesday. One day he hopped in our car and was SO excited for church. I asked him about his day, and he told me he had been sent home from school for lice. Sadly, I told him he couldn’t come to church until his lice were gone and he cried. I thought it was so sweet how much he loved Dinner Church and how important it was in his life, and at the same time, ugh, he sat in my car with a buggy head. A few months later a lady struggling with homelessness flagged me down while on a walk to tell me she wanted to start coming to Dinner Church because that little neighbor boy always told her about Jesus and how much he loves it. What a beautiful picture of God moving mountains in our neighborhood.
We have story after story of Jesus transforming lives in bigger ways than I could have ever imagined and I get to see these miracles firsthand! The man who was standoffish and a bit intimidating has become our best friend. Another man struggling with addiction is being called into ministry. It is amazing to see people of all different backgrounds becoming best friends and sharing life together, such as the woman that struggled with addiction showing our teenagers how to worship through music and read the Bible for the first time.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Too often, we have these preconceived ideas of people and places like the South Side and we let fear stop us from seeing the power of Jesus move in miraculous ways. Could it be that we prefer to be kind to our own kind? Could it be that we prefer to be comfortable and take the easy way out? Could it be that sometimes Christians are so busy attending Bible Studies and Prayer groups that they aren’t connecting with the people who most need to learn of Christ’s love? What about all the people in our city who have no friend to invite them? Are we so busy immersing ourselves with people just like us that we overlook stepping out to meet diverse people where they are? This is one reason why I love living on the South Side. Let me tell ya – it’s diverse, it’s beautiful, and I’ve never been in such a prime spot to witness God moving such huge mountains in peoples’ lives. When I moved here my pride said, “Hailey, they need you.” But God said, “No, you need them, so you can see me more clearly.” Living here and starting Dinner Church has taught me how to sacrificially love people and how to share my faith boldly with my neighbors. Because I said yes, God transformed my heart and love for His people. Now let me challenge you to let God make you uncomfortable, let him stretch you… that’s where you’ll see Him move mountains too.