San Francisco's Tenderloin district houses 37,000 people in 586 apartment buildings—all in just one square mile. San Francisco City Impact dreams of planting churches in those apartment buildings—in every single one of them.
Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, is working with the team, called Adopt a Building. SFCI is on mission to “holistically heal and transform” the San Francisco community through urgent relief works and preventive works.
The urgent relief works provide food, clothing, healing housing and rescuing for those in crisis; the preventive works of educating, counseling, training and spiritual discipleship exist to make sure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.
The Adopt a Building method will pick an apartment building and assemble a prayer team to pray for those residents. Then a “grace team” will go door to door, visiting each unit in the building.
The grace team will ask residents if there is anything they need—food, medical or school supplies, prayer. The grace team members are there to say, “We don't want anything from you, we just want to give,” Francis Chan explains.
The grace team will compile a list of needs and prayers for residents and return the next week to deliver what was requested. This allows the teams to continue conversation they started the week before and ask if prayer requests were answered.
Chan says if a residents' prayer requests are answered, the grace team can ask if they'd like to know about God. The ministry would then bring in a discipleship team, which teach the residents how to study the Bible and know God for themselves.
“Our ultimate goal is that we would train some of these people and teach these people so well that eventually there would be a leader in that building who would gather the other believers together and even be the pastor of that apartment building,” Chan explains. “And our goal is to go to every single building and plant a church.
“I know that sounds a little far-fetched or maybe crazy to you, but we believe it can be done and we believe this is something God wants to do.”
Christian Huang, operations director for Adopt a Building, says the team will use a discipleship curriculum Chan is working on to train the pastors.
The ministry had a launch meeting Sunday night with 65 volunteers. They are currently working in four buildings, but hoping to add more in the near future.
“We believe God is gonna answer the prayers of his people and He's gonna show His power,” Chan says. “We believe for His church to be established down here.”