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Prayer meetings set off a light bulb for members of First Reformed Church in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

A group of Iowa youth traded in a relaxing weekend to take the plunge, the Urban Plunge—48 hours of working with people in the inner city: feeding the homeless, visiting the elderly, sorting clothing, and serving, serving, serving.

The group, from First Reformed Church in Rock Rapids, Iowa, stepped out of their suburban bubble to discover what life is like for many people who are less fortunate in and around their own community.

"A lot of the main mojo of our church was creating a community where people could process the claims of the Christian faith in an intelligible way," says Jared Ayers, pastor of Liberti, a newly organized RCA church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"We wanted to start a community that would be hospitable for people to be able to investigate the Christian faith, while not assuming they had any background or prior knowledge, or that they would assume large parts of the Christian story were true."

To be a "multi-everything church." That's the hope of three planters of a new church in Long Beach, California.

Their passion is to gather and disciple people of all ages from a variety of socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

What's remarkable about this camp is that while other camps were building zip-bang-boom and buying jet-skis and ramping up technology, Fowler was scaling back. Fowler was committed to leaving a smaller footprint and stripping away all that clutters. It challenged the assumptions about camp programming for kids and stiff-armed a high-energy, high-tech, high-demand, high-passion, high-pressure youth ministry assault—in the name of Jesus.

"Razor wire and prison bars do nothing to stop the grace of God," writes prison ministry pastor Jason Wiersma on the ministry's website, livingstoneprisonchurch.org.

An old ash tree came down in a storm and fell across my fence, smashing through the top and bottom rails. I trudged out through the snow with the dogs—sleek, black Gordon Setters—to inspect the damage. Surveying the wreckage, I noticed that the top six inches of the fence post, where the top rail had been nailed, had been shaved with a wood plane. You could still see the marks. 

“The youth in our community really have no place to call a safe haven,” says Patricia Sealy, pastor of Mott Haven Reformed Church in the Bronx, New York. “It’s been a burning desire of mine to have that happen again at our church.”

Since the 1960s, the neighborhood of Highbridge in the Bronx, New York, has been without a middle school. That changed when Highbridge Community Church and its pastor, Cora Taitt, joined with other churches and organizations in the neighborhood to convince New York City’s Board of Education of the need for a new school.

A new Hispanic ministry has given a daycare center a fresh start, and its leaders hope the center

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