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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Planting a New Tree

During the summer of 2012 I planted a seed in Memphis. In four years this seed has grown into a tree, blossomed, and branched out. A lot of you know exactly what I am talking about. This is a metaphor for the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry. When I planted that seed I had no idea that it would grow into the ministry it is today. I thought it would be a fun project for a small circle of friends. For years we would meet at one of the local pubs that offered 3-dollar pints on Wednesday nights. I never meant to stop doing that; I just thought a short bike ride around town with a mission would be a good way to start the night.

Initially, I was hesitant to tell any one of this idea I had. I wanted to ride my bike around Memphis and deliver food to people in need. I also wanted to meet and make friends with those affected by homelessness. But, I knew if I told my friends and family of this plan they would ask too many questions and potentially discourage me. So, I decided to try it alone and not tell anyone. It was a Wednesday night that my friends and I opted to not hit up the pint night. I made 15 bean and rice burritos in my kitchen; I ate one for myself and rolled out on my fixed gear. I was able to ride from my midtown duplex to the river, about a ten mile roundtrip. With the stops and interactions it took about an hour. After I arrived back at my house and sat down on my couch, a feeling came over me that I have never experienced. I don't have a way to explain it but I knew that it was good and I couldn't wait to do it again. The next day I told my friends about the ride and they were enthusiastic. Some of them wanted to join me on the next ride. The following week there were five of us and we delivered twice as many burritos. From then on, it started to grow. More and more people became involved until it blossomed into a ministry. It is now a legitimate non-profit organization. It has been over four years since that first ride and the project continues to grow and gain publicity.

Though, I planted the seed for this tree to grow, I cannot take credit for where it is today. Numerous people have come along with unique and specific gifts and talents; they have applied their ideas to make it what it is today. My role in all of this has been the creation of a conduit for people to witness a need for their unique gift and apply it. I believe every human creation of God has a specific gift to use for serving God. 1 Peter 4:10 speaks a little bit about this, as does several other excerpts of the text. Though, I am not certain that all people use their gift to serve or use their gift at all. The idea with UBFM has evolved from a simple platform for acts of kindness to a conduit for individuals to use their gifts to serve God through serving their neighbors.

I have since moved on from UBFM Memphis and allowed other people to continue to nurture and grow the organization. Due to that, it has continued to blossom and broaden its reach. I am constantly taken aback by the wonderful things God continues to do with that ministry and its many disciples. But, now I have taken the initiative to plant another seed. Since moving to middle Tennessee the idea of UBFM Nashville has been on my mind. Last summer I began working on it. I have worked out most of the logistics and the time has come to spread it out. I have reached the obstacle of not having enough help. Not only am I looking for more riders but I am also looking for various contributors.

The primary focus of this new project is not just to help our neighbors affected by homelessness and poverty, but rather to create a conduit for individuals to use their unique gifts to help people that are in need. This year I will be searching for churches, clubs, and various organizations that will allow me the opportunity to present and guest speak about UBFM Nashville and applying unique gifts and talents to help people in need.

If you are interested in joining me in growing and nurturing this new plant, we meet to ride at Green Street Church in Nashville, on Mondays at 6:00pm. If you are interested in having me as a guest speaker, I am taking requests. If you are interested in contributing in other various ways or have any questions email me, tgclark@memphisseminary.edu

There is a light that shines on us all; let us allow that light to reflect back onto the world.

Peace,

Tommy  

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