SAN DIEGO - What happens when Christians get out of their comfort zones and really start serving their communities? In San Diego--it's happening.
Members of The Rock Church are taking part in a "Do Something" challenge and it's changing their city. But they don't want to stop there.
San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in America -- the refreshing ocean breeze and sunshine draw tourists from around the world.
But at night, it's a different world.
Believe it or not -- this is where a few members of San Diego's The Rock Church hang out. They're known as "JC's Girls" and they minister to the women in the strip clubs.
"We actually go into the clubs and bring the girls gifts," one of the girls named Sherry said. "This is an example of one of our gifts: lotions, a pink Bible, a candle, lip gloss and a love letter that really lets them know that God loves them...What's their reaction? "They're usually blown away and they want to know how much it costs and we say it's free, we just want you to know that we love you and God loves you as well..."
"How many girls have you rescued from the stripper clubs here in SD?"
"Me none, God several," she answered "He is doing things beyond our comprehension. For example, there's one club we weren't even allowed to get into. But we left the gifts and two months later a girl shows up at our Bible study. She ended up getting saved that Sunday at church."
Then there's the homeless ministry. About 30 members of The Rock come out every Saturday to minister to those who've fallen on hard times.
"We bring the church to the homeless - a lot of times they come toward us and we have just a regular church service," Rock member Danny Deddeh said. "Today since it was really pouring down rain a lot of people are mainly under bridges like this, just any type of cover, and so we in turn, whatever resources we have for today, water, coffee, food, we ended up just packing up our stuff and bringing it out here."
Pastor Miles McPherson, who once played football for the San Diego Chargers, is now leading the "Do Something" charge at The Rock Church. He recently wrote a book about it.
"So, is the purpose of this campaign to make your congregation uncomfortable sitting in the pews?" CBN News asked him.
"Jesus said in John 14:12 that if we believe in Him, the things He did, that we would do even greater works - people don't believe that," McPherson explained. "So, if we believe in Him..we're supposed to go do something, go preach the Gospel, go be a witness, go make disciples. Those are all verbs..so sitting in church, that's only part of what He's saying."
Among the church's more than 100 outreaches is a ministry called Cancer Care, where volunteers help people going through the trauma of cancer with a wide range of services, including prayer.
"We do things like house keeping, taking care of the children while you're recovering. People needs meals when they couldn't cook for themselves," participant Tamela explained.
Serving to San Diego
In 2009, members of The Rock Church gave the city of San Diego more than 166,000 hours of community service as part of their "Do Something" campaign. That equated to about $2.6 million for the city.
"We cleaned up parks, we painted park tables and benches, we planted trees, we painted rec centers, we mentored kids," McPherson said. "Our church went out every week, every day and did something on behalf of our city.
Now Pastor McPherson is challenging other churches across the country to do the same in their cities.
"Because if churches united to serve their communities based on what their community's needs were we would be seen as a very practical help," he said. "Jesus is a very practical God, He comes into our lives and addresses very practical needs in our lives so why shouldn't we address practical needs in the cities' lives?"
But how do you know which ministry is right for you? For many people, it's born out of their own experiences. For example, Vicky learned sign language because her best friend's son was deaf. Now, she runs a foster home for hearing impaired children. She has even adopted a deaf child.
Who Will Go?
McPherson often asks, as God's children, if we don't go, who will? And who will reach people like Mindy, who cried out to God one night in the strip club for God to send her a sign.
"About five minutes later, JC's Girls walked into the club and that was the answer to my prayer," she said.
"And what did they do?"
"...told me that God loves me," she said. "I was shocked - you don't usually associate church women with strip clubs, but I needed to hear that because the industry will destroy you."
Today Mindy volunteers with the JC's Girls to help other women find their way out of the strip clubs and the simple truth that God loves them.
McPherson says that's what the "Do Something" campaign is really all about.