Everywhere you turn at Stone Ridge, you hear a story. If you listen carefully, most of the stories are about how God has rescued us from the brokenness of our past. People have come out of abuse, out of addictions, out of broken relationships. Some of us were so squeezed by rigid, man-made religious rules that we had trouble at first really believing in the love of God. Most of us have painful things in our past that we know we escaped only by the grace of God. Little by little, we just keep uncovering how much God loves us. That love is so overwhelming that we joyfully leave our past behind. Our desire to know Him and to serve Him comes from that brokenness in us: WE ARE NOTHING WITHOUT HIM.
What are the problems that we naturally lean into?
Because we have all experienced so much brokenness, we naturally lean into the problems that seem to bring people down.
*We’re broken over stories like the children in the Dominican who are social outcasts. They live in a neighborhood near a large, public school, but they can’t attend that school because they are from poorer families. A few years ago, Stone Ridge people and Small Groups began stepping up to the plate to provide the resources for those kids to attend the Christian school run by our partner church there.
*Last year we were broken by the overwhelming needs in an impoverished neighborhood near us. Taking VBS on the road, our people jumped at the chance to bring the hope of Christ to these families. Prayer teams stepped up to pray. Our Cars Ministry discovered and met the needs of people whose cars needed repairs. Construction teams helped repair homes. Then, a number of our leaders began going every week, creating an after-school program for the kids. Then again, even more leaders stepped up when we were ready to start a Small Group there.
*When some of our families made us aware of the orphan dilemma close to home and far away, our hearts broke. More and more families began exploring foster care and adoption as part of their ministry lives.
*A few of our leaders were broken into action over the need that exists because of so many teen moms who are trying to finish school and raise babies. They stepped into it with a teen mom’s group called “Baby Mamas” that is rapidly growing.
Who are the people we find it natural to love in Jesus’ name?
Because so many of us must admit our own broken backgrounds, we naturally love those who are broken like we were. It’s not just that we accept people, warts and all. Instead, we seem to look for the warts that often cause others to shy away. We run toward those needs.
Once we were able to identify who we are, what problems we naturally lean into, and the people we most naturally love,
our focus… our vision became quite clear:
Stone Ridge is a church of broken people for broken people.