Greater Charlotte embraces urban mission
David Bosch, in his
1993 essay titled "Toward the 21st Century in Christian Mission,"
said this about the mission of the church: "The mission of the church, as
the mission of Jesus, involves being
sent into the world - to love, to serve, to preach, to teach, to heal, to save,
That mission is
eminent in both the 614 and the War College in Charlotte, N.C. Nothing else is
more important to the leaders - Rob and Heather Dolby - than relational
ministry and lifestyle evangelism. While the War College and 614 are two
separate entities, they coordinate well together because of the values placed
on incarnational ministry and relationship-building.
The 614 in Charlotte is not a building, nor is it a
corps - it's a faith community, a collective group of Salvationists who
live in a predominantly poor, Hispanic, African-American neighborhood. There
they meet for fellowship, Bible study, prayer and to share the gospel with
others. The Dolbys - soldiers who graduated from the War College in Vancouver,
B.C., Canada - have been commissioned as local officer sergeants.
The Dolbys' passion for
incarnational ministry equipped them to move into a neighborhood where they
stood out due to their white skin color. They've been pleased with how
accepting the community has been.
Heather Dolby said that their presence in the neighborhood is bringing
change for people like Nicole. After the Dolbys moved to Charlotte's J.T.
Williams Housing Development, Nicole - a homeless prostitute - visited them.
They prayed for her, but she
quickly left before they could help her further. It was several months later
when they ran into her again. A woman they didn't recognize waved to them.
She came up and said, "Remember me, I'm Nicole." She continued to
tell them that their care for her had opened her eyes to the love of God.
"You guys remembering my name and being nice to me meant so much to me. I
knew God loved me if He sent two white people here." Since her initial
meeting with the Dolbys, Nicole had entered the Center of Hope, Charlotte's
homeless shelter for single women and women with children, and was in a
The War College (Charlotte campus) is a training
ground for Christians who want to make a difference in the lives of people such
as Nicole. With its first session underway, the WC is a welcome new neighbor to
the Southern Territory.
College Facts: Charlotte Campus
purpose: The War College is a ministry born out of the 614 to train
and equip warriors to win the world for
leaders: Rob and Heather Dolby
The duration: one
place: The J.T. Williams Housing Development in Charlotte,
topics: salvation, prophetic ministry, evangelism, Bible study,
preaching, critical thinking and theology
The net: Cell groups of 6 to 8 people
become the open door for neighbors to join the 614, and WC students help
facilitate the groups.
The result: Students at the WC don't just
learn in a classroom; they live out the classroom every day.
inspiration: "William Booth said, ‘Go for souls and go for
the worst,'" said Heather. "Isaiah 61 commissions us to bind up
the broken-hearted...These are the
The application: Go to www.warcollege.com and
click on the Charlotte campus.
The one-year program is divided into
two increments. During the first nine months, students live with the Dolbys and
learn about hearing God, critical thinking and sharing their faith. "We
never teach anything in the War College that you can't use," said
Heather. Throughout their time in Charlotte, students will actively participate
One such ministry
is reaching out to the neighborhood children whose parental supervision is
limited. Besides a backyard Bible club (with activities such as computer
classes and Bible lessons), students can invite youth to the local corps.
There's also a three-month internship for students to apply what
they've learned. Through a sacrificial lifestyle and dedication to serving
others, WC students learn that "just being there" is how relational
ministry impacts lives.
Todd Smith, area commander of Greater Charlotte, said, "I've been
greatly encouraged by the level of commitment of these young people and their
willingness to live that lifestyle to meet people in need."
One such person in need was a
14-year-old boy from the J.T. Williams Housing Development. The boy never went
to school, but the Dolbys noticed that he was fascinated with computers. So in
cooperation with DHQ, the boy's mother and his school guidance counselor,
the Dolbys made a proposition: If the boy agreed to complete makeup work from
his school absences, then the Dolbys would set up a career exploration day for
him. They arranged for him to shadow a member of the IT Department at DHQ. Not
only did the young man learn about computers, but he also gained a mentor.
Heather Dolby said that's
part of their role as well - to help Salvationists who have a desire for
missions but don't know where to start. "We're an in-between
person creating a net to help people get connected to mission. When you're
called to it, it's the most joyful thing in the world."
Heather feels that the WC and the 614
are working together to build a foundation of God's love in the community.
"We're making a platform for [people] to say, ‘God is real.
There is hope for me.'"
Photos, top to botttom, L to R:
Heather Dolby keeps 5-year-old Cameron
warm after day camp water games. Rob Dolby helps a neighborhood boy
who has hurt his ankle. Two day-camp participants are proud of their
crafts.Brothers Bull and Bobby teach their dogs to smile for the
Firecrest missioners take their place in the inner
Firecrest training was discontinued in September 2006. It now makes way for an
even greater emphasis on the SAMS ministry being utilized by many corps across
the territory. However, the two training sessions of Firecrest placed eight
missionaries in the territory:
Doyle Duren - Chattanooga East Lake, Chattanooga,
Shimei Hewitt - Birmingham
614, Birmingham, Ala.
Beshah - Durham, N.C.
Wulfing - Nashville Magneso, Nashville, Tenn.
Ashish Pawar - Nashville Magneso, Nashville,
Jonathan Poff - Greenville,
Nemin Chandler NJ -
David Vaughan -
San Antonio, Texas
In both Chattanooga and Birmingham, Firecrest
missioners and SAMS are working as a team to conduct outreach ministry. A keen
observer would note that the secret to a good team ministry is having
passionate, supportive officers. The Firecrest missioners and SAMS commend the
officers in these six cities for their vision of the communal mission and their
compassion for the lost.Major John Needham
top to bottom:
Ashish Pawar, originally from India,
came to the Southern Territory to serve in an urban area after his parents
attended last year's Urban Forum. "I had this passion for meeting
people and telling them about God," said Pawar. Shown here at a breakfast
for homeless men and women in the Pittsburgh community of Atlanta, Pawar said
he is learning how to communicate God's love through simply being there for
Jonathan Poff, from Ponca City, Okla.,
helps serve food to the homeless. He said his passion is for
"disenfranchised people, the people everyone else has given up on."
While Poff has participated in urban mission overseas, he said, "A lot of
times we forget that we have a mission field right here in the
David Vaughn, a Firecrest missioner,
enjoyed a hug from a friend at a breakfast for the
Nemin Nj talks to a 4-year-old named
Janaya who waited patiently at Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta while her
mother sorted through some donated
Firecrest missioner: Shimei
Name: Shimei Hewitt
Deployment site: Birmingham,
What she does: Works and lives at the shelter for
women and children; disciples them; develops relationships with people in the
community; helps with cell groups.
Why she loves it:
"What I like about what I'm doing is it's developing my personal
Christianity. My faith in God has increased. Before, I believed in healing but
thought you had to have this great anointing for healing."
divine encounter: One day, Hewitt met a woman at the shelter who asked
for prayer for healing from a bleeding disorder. Hewitt prayed, and the next
day the woman returned to say that her bleeding had
Greatest challenges: Being away from family,
communicating effectively and learning how to relate the love of Jesus to
people when they don't do the right thing at the right
Her encouragement: "We don't have to be
limited. There is freedom. Yes, we're in the Army. Yes, we have leaders
above us. But just obey; like the Bible says, do what God tells you to