On Saturday, May 4, 405 Center’s President and Executive Director Justin Coffee addressed guests of the 2019 Neighbors Conference.
The conference, hosted by the community faith organization Stronger Together OKC, was an opportunity for local religious leaders to come together and collaborate on ideas to solve the challenges facing the church and Oklahoma City.
The main focus for the conference was to pass along to participants both insights and strategies to address the disparities between social classes, ethnic groups, and cultures in OKC.
Coffee brought his experiences with addiction and homelessness to illuminate the conference’s focus.
“My story is full, full of sin, full of trauma, full of abuse,” Coffee said. “I wound up taking all of those lessons and doing horrible things with them. And I was heavily addicted to drugs. I used needles, wound up homeless for a season of my life.”
Coffee spoke about mobilizing the church in OKC to deal with fellow metro citizens who have or are currently battling similar issues.
“God is a God that transforms and rescues, and I’m a product of that,” Coffee said. “And that’s why it matters that we actually mobilize his body to be on mission in the cities that he’s placed us in, right? Because people are dying. People are enslaved, right? So that’s why this matters.”
While he is fiercely optimistic that real change can be brought to the less fortunate members of the OKC Metro community, he feels it’s not as simple as just volunteering the time or the money.
“We’re immersed in a culture that tells us that volunteerism and philanthropy are the solutions for our friends in the margins,” Coffee said. “It’s my hope that we effectively articulate a third option for the people to engage. This is a solution that involves building relationships of trust with our marginalized friends to leverage equal parts relief and development as we share stories, tables and life.”
Coffee believes that to achieve a true, lasting change, for the betterment and prosperity of our village, it’s going to take a village to see it through.
“It’s going to take more than 20 grants,” Coffee said. “It literally will take us all because there’s so much work to do, right?”
Coffee said that if the Metro invests itself in the spirit of God’s work for our city, that we will all flourish.
“I know God will leverage every ounce of power inside of him to empower us to do his work,” Coffee said. “And we will see transformation. We won’t see seedlings come up. We’ll see fully formed redwoods appear, right? We will. We really will.”
If you’re ready to stop talking and start doing, commit to OKC’s success. Learn more about how you can better empower yourself and your community by visiting 405 Center’s website at 405center.org, or call (405) 600-6611 today.SHARE THIS