Yesterday I visited the Grand Rapids MI Kroc Center in preparation of the Mission and Purpose Conference, October 28-30, to be hosted at this newest of six Kroc Center openings in the Midwest.

In the course of our MAP planning Major Marc Johnson and Captain Peter Mount began sharing the vision for the Grand Rapids Kroc.  I tend to think in terms of programs conducted in the Kroc Center.  It’s easy to do so.  A large, well staffed, busy building.  Lots of people coming and going.  Gym, exercise areas, a cafe greeting all who walk in, state of the art auditorium/chapel, etc.  But after listening to Major Johnson and Captain Mount it’s clear that they are thinking in terms of community development.

Major Johnson shared demographics of the 1 mile radius for this southeast area surrounding the Kroc.  Almost evenly Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian.  What should those walking into the Kroc look and sound like?  You figured it out.  And what can be done in the building and programs to make the Kroc a welcoming and meaningful place to participate in its programs?  Right again.

Back to community development.  Captain Mount described a monthly commitment made by the corps of the Kroc Center, the fellowship of Salvation Army officers and soldiers who gather for spiritual formation through worship and discipleship.

The corps opened in October and soon decided to devote one day a month to go out and give to the surrounding neighborhoods of the Kroc Center.  Last fall, raking leaves.  This winter, shoveling sidewalks so children can get to school.  Helping those living on the streeets of southeast Grand Rapids with their needs, hurts, and hopes.  Lawn care for those who can’t, and even those who could but haven’t yet seen what it can do for their home and community.  Captain Peter shared one story of a woman who was so deeply moved at the Kroc crew that she disappeared, returning from the store with refreshments for the crew.  It’s nice when streets and homes are fixed up.  It is glory to see lives touched and a day transformed.

Go and give.  Mission unadorned.  For God so loved the world, that he … for God sent His Son …

MAP weekend?  October 28-30 we may join the corps in its mission while we are at the Grand Rapids Kroc Center.