Welcome to The Stoop Sessions. Join Stephanie, Joel, and Eric for candid conversations about life and ministry from the stoop in Baltimore, MD. All ministry is hard. Inner city work has its unique challenges. That's what this podcast is all about. ONE HOPE exists to build healthy churches in the inner city.
Use Drugs to Treat Drugs?
In the previous episode, Stephanie, Joel, and Eric define addiction from a Biblical perspective. Recognizing what it is, what can we do about it? What are some practical ways to care and help the addicted? In this episode, a question arises on the use of Methadone and Suboxone.. How should we think of using drugs to treat drugs? The team makes a random phone call to Dr. Mark Plaster who shares his own insight. At its peak, a single methadone clinic in Baltimore can see 3,000 patients a day, from within only a 2-3 mile radius. Accessing help from a clinic often requires the patient to remain within a community of drug culture, often lacking support for addressing root causes, preventing relapse, and rebuilding lives. How can the church and the medical community work in tandem to see individuals freed from the slavery of addiction?
Addiction: Slavery or Rebellion
When the subject of addiction enters a conversation, it is easy to deflect and downplay its gravity. It is easy to dehumanize those caught in substance abuse, failing to recognize their worth; people made in the image of God. Addiction is both willful rebellion and simultaneously held in bondage to a substance. It devastates, not only the individual, but families and communities. Substances can alter the mind and mute suffering, but suffering plays an important purpose in our lives.
This episode seeks to define addiction and humanize the addict. It looks at the hard realties, necessary humility, and hope of a savior for the addict. Jesus knew the pain of living in a world broken by sin, and took on suffering greater than any of us face. Jesus is the only hope that offers an eternity free from the bondage of all sin.
Mez McConnell Moved into the Neighborhood
In 2007, Mez McConnell was hired as a pastor for an outreach post in a Scottish scheme. As a scheme is similar to any project or inner city neighborhood, few members of this “mission” actually lived in the neighborhood. Mez, himself, was encouraged to live elsewhere by those who hired him. Listen to our conversation with Mez on how he moved into this neighborhood, re-planted a church, and now leads a congregation who lives there. In this episode we discuss living near your church in poor communities, safety issues, the idolatry of family, and why Mez tells Christians who live elsewhere to find a church where they live.
What's The Goal?
Intentionally living in a poor neighborhood for ministry might appear spiritually uprigh, but it can easily give root to gentrification and a savior mentality. In the third episode on intentional living, conversation centers on how to love your neighbors and be witnesses, without the goal of fixing a neighborhood to fit your preferences. How the wrong approach, the wrong hope, brings about despair, but the revitalization all are in need of, is only through the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.
Darkness is potent in many neighborhoods of Baltimore, where violence, poverty, addiction, and corruption, is an everyday reality that can weigh heavily on the soul.
In this second episode on the theme of intentional living, Joel, Eric, and Stephanie, share some of the reasons why they have come, committed to, and continued to counter darkness in a Christ-like manner. In having hearts grieved by sin, there is opportunity to trust that God is the only one who ultimately saves and redeems. There is a privilege in praying for the souls of those forgotten by others, in being reminded that we are all in need of the same savior. Also discussed is how being on mission together, fosters humility, combats individualism, and forces us to acknowledge that God is for radical grace, not personal ease.
Intentional Living: Beyond the Buzzword
“Intentional” may be a buzzword of contemporary Christianity, but what does it tangibly look like for the church to be living with intention?
Joel Kurz, Eric Hill, and Stephanie Greer discuss the benefits and difficulties of intentionally living in the same neighborhood they serve. In a city like Baltimore, where many might see only a ministry “project,” they have seen a home and how a constant presence, and investment, extends the scope of evangelism.
In this episode, we hear what shaped their decision to be planted in the uncertainty of violence, and how intentional community helps the church fulfill the commands of Jesus, to love, encourage, and bear the burdens of one another.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Keep these things coming!
I love what y’all are doing here! I’m from Dallas TX, and I am working towards moving to Baltimore with my wife and daughter to spread hope, and This is such a helpful tool to prepare both mentally and spiritually before we get there.
I also like how the things you talk about can be applied anywhere, not just in one city.
I love y’all’s heart for your city, and for God’s people. Keep up the good work! I’m praying for y’all as you continuo with your ministry!