Chrissy settled into her usual spot on the couch and laid her Bible in her lap. But she couldn’t bring herself to open the pages. Instead, she sat quietly watching the steam rise from her coffee mug. The living room rested in silence, but her mind was filled with thoughts and memories of years past.
After growing up in the comfort of rural living, Chrissy couldn’t imagine a life anywhere else, especially when raising a young family. So the fear quickly settled in when her husband, Jake, shared with her one evening that he felt they were being called to pursue inner-city ministry.
She knew nothing about living in a city. Yet, she quickly found herself in a new house in an area filled with people she didn’t know. Her mind filled with doubt. How would she make friends? Would she ever feel safe raising her children in the city?
But she was overcome with God’s peace as she witnessed her husband’s passion for their budding ministry. To be planted in the middle of a neighborhood where they could be a demonstration of hope and light — forming real friendships with their new neighbors and sharing God’s love for them.
Unsure of where to begin, Chrissy spent afternoons with her kids at a nearby park where she met and played with many of the neighborhood kids. It soon became a favorite spot for connecting with other families.
An Introduction to City Ministry
With a heart for campus ministry, they also led a Campus Ambassadors community at nearby Monroe Community College.
Chrissy and Jake met in high school and developed a love for ministry during their years as students with Campus Ambassadors in college. There they both discovered the joy and fulfillment found in their faith, and it was something they wanted to pass down to the students at Monroe.
“I want to see them grow and have a stronger desire for the things of God’s heart — things like social justice and compassion,” says Chrissy. “And that they would eagerly pursue those because they want to, not out of obligation.”
Chrissy and Jake also desired to instill in their students a love for the city. Students spent many nights at their house in the city enjoying meals, playing games and studying God’s word. With many of them commuting from the surrounding suburbs, they were unfamiliar with the city. And often fearful, much like Chrissy had felt in the beginning. They involved the students in their neighborhood with service projects and activities, including Super Bowl parties and annual Christmas caroling outings.
“The more we are fearful about something we don’t know about, the more we perpetuate that fear,” says Chrissy. “We wanted to teach the students to love the city, despite cultural differences or fear. And how to be used in a hands-on way to show God’s love.”
Comfort Found in Community
Chrissy watched the fears of her own disappear as she developed a love for her new community. But it wasn’t until the sudden death of her husband that she truly realized the depth of those new relationships.
“When Jake passed away, a lot of our neighbors showed up. A lot of people who I didn’t even know were showing up at our house, knowing our names and telling stories of Jake or one of our students mowing their lawn or helping around the house. It was then that I felt that I was truly a part of this community. I love these people.”
As her thoughts made their way back to the quiet living room, she was reminded of the words of the song “Beautiful Feet” by LeCrae: “We need leaders and believers to help carry it on / But who would minister in a sinister part of town / I pray if Jesus is calling you that you would be found.”
After a break from ministry, she knew God wasn’t finished writing her story — that her life and ministry with Jake was only the beginning.
Your support of missionaries like Chrissy Baxter enables Missions Door and Campus Ambassadors to reach students on college campuses, as well as inner-city families, with the hope and life found Christ.