5 Keys to 5 Years
Sustainability is a hard concept to grasp these days. Our minds seemed to be trained towards the temporary more than ever—towards 140 characters or less, towards quick meals and constant distraction. It is too easy to lose sight of your goal for the day, much less your mission over a lifetime. This seems especially true in ministry.
When ACT began five years ago in West Dallas, the ground was ripe with opportunity. A great injustice was happening on this side of the Trinity River, and the problem was too vast for the city of Dallas to fix. Hundreds of abandoned and run down houses flanked the streets. Injustice had run amuck.
Over the years, many well-intentioned people have made promises to bring aid, and ultimately, for one reason or another, did not stay around long enough to see the promise fulfilled. Reid Porter, president and founder of ACT, did his best to assure them that he was committed, but many residents had heard that promise before.
Because we heard the frustration from those who have come to expect people to forget their promises, we were determined to stay committed to the residents. The last 5 years have been marked with celebrations, setbacks, discouragement and miracles. As a staff, we are humbled to be a part of what God is doing in West Dallas through ACT and are thankful for people like you who invest in our work so that we can be committed for years to come.
What has sustained us all of these years?
First and foremost, faith is what has sustained us. Faith in God is our cornerstone and central to who we are as an organization. We trust that God has called us to this mission and he will guide us and protect us. There are times our faith is tested and there are times our faith is propelled to immeasurable heights. We chose to trust him in both extremes.
We could not be who we are without the people that surround us. By God’s grace we have developed working relationships with the Dallas Police Department, West Dallas residents and leaders, volunteer lawyers, partner ministries, city officials and many residents of Dallas who have a heart for justice. We could not do what we do, without people like you!
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of staying power is “the quality or ability that allows someone to continue to be effective for a long period of time.” One of the single greatest gifts you can give to the people you serve is this promise. Trust leads to change. We are only able to do this because we believe this is the attitude Christ modeled for us.
As a staff, we keep lines of communication open. We have an open concept office and often engage with each other and seek advice throughout the day. Efforts can go rouge quickly if accountability is not present. Not only do we ascribe to the model of accountability with each other, but with God as well.
Prayer (and reflection!)
Daily our staff meets to pray over our casework, clients, stakeholders and day-to-day tasks. This 30-minute timeframe is precious to the staff and is an opportunity to stay focused on all 5 of these aforementioned points. Once a quarter, our staff retreats to reflect on all that has occurred. We course correct when needed and maintain an acknowledgement that darkness lurks in our work. We pray for God uses us to be a shining light in this community.
In a world where emotions are fleeting and viral videos come and go, we desire to live counter-culturally. We love to learn, grow and evolve.
Share your story with us—what do you do that sustains you?