7 Amazing Ways To Give Back in SE Baltimore

Whether you are new or old to Southeast Baltimore there is always space to give back. There are some amazing initiatives happening on a weekly basis. Here are seven that you should consider:

  1. Thread - Thread is doing an amazing job of working with kids who are struggling academically. Their numbers do not lie. Check them out here.

  2. City Spring Elementary and Middle School - They have a partners meeting quarterly and there is a huge variety of opportunities to serve. If you want to help, contact the school and ask for Mr. Collick.

  3. The Compassion Center - This is a relief center that distributes food, clothing and household items into the community. They always can use volunteers.

  4. Friends of Patterson Park - If you want to make Patterson Park a better place this is the place to volunteer.

  5. BARCS - If you want to work with animals in Baltimore then BARCS is where you need to be.

  6. Reading Partners Baltimore - This is another youth focused volunteer opportunity. Helping a kid learn to read is an amazing way to contribute to our future.

  7. Casey Cares - They do a lot of work with families facing critical illness situations. And they are looking for volunteers.

You can find an exhaustive list of volunteer opportunities here.

One Year Anniversary

It has been an amazing year watching God work…

Prayer following our first public gathering

Prayer following our first public gathering

For the first two months we averaged 17 adults per week. We ended our year averaging 38 people per week.  

We launched Small Groups in September and have seen relationships go deep in these settings.

We added interns: Derek Hogg, Nick, Zukey Bastien and Scotty Borgert.  

On Sunday mornings our worship was tracks played through the system. But God gave us Nick to lead.


Joe has lead our hospitality team and the breakfasts have been a huge hit.

We hosted three outreach cookouts at the Compassion Center over the summer.  

City Spring Elementary

We love City Spring Elementary/Middle school. We had a number of opportunities to serve the school. Here’s some of the highlights.

  • We sponsored a teacher appreciation breakfast and coffee

  • We sponsored the 4-8th graders to go and watch Black Panther

  • We gave the school 817 backpacks full of school supplies


The Compassion Center

  • Feeding Families on Fridays (approximately 800 lbs of food per week) 

  • New management under Derek Hogg

  • Expanded hours under Derek’s leadership

We started a prayer meeting on Wednesday mornings.

Wednesday morning prayer

Wednesday morning prayer

We began to engage the community through the I Love Humans podcast

  • The food access initiative spun off of that

  • I was given the opportunity to pray for the opening of the City council meeting

We projected $22k in internal giving, actual giving was $25k… “You gave as if we were 65 people.”

Thanks for an amazing first year!

Preparing Our Hearts for the Cross

Tomorrow morning we will gather at 10 AM to worship Jesus and yield to his leadership in our life. He is the wellspring of our purpose, meaning and identify. And as we place our focus on the story of the Cross we will encounter him afresh in those ways. 

I’ve composed this email as guide to prepare your heart for corporate worship. 

We will examine the Cross from Luke 23:26-43. Go ahead and refresh yourself on this text so you are ready for the study tomorrow. The kids will continue their study out of Ruth. 

Here are the worship songs we will sing tomorrow morning with links to YouTube: 

Check out this video about atonement and sacrifice:

A quote to meditate on:

“From the bruised heel of Genesis to the reigning lamb of Revelation, the Bible is a redemptive story of a crucified Messiah who will accomplish a royal victory through atoning suffering.” Jeremy Treat, Crucified King

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • How do I presently experience the historic Cross of Jesus? What meaning does it inject into my life today? 

  • How does the Cross of Jesus shape my self-perception and identity? 

If you would like to go deeper on the study of atonement and the Cross you may want to read:

Finally, remember that God wants to use you tomorrow as much as he wants you to receive his work in your life. God wants to pour his love out on other people through your gracious words and listening ear. Come with a heart prepared to serve and love the body of Christ. And be listening for what God wants to say to you in this time.

Christmas Toy Giveaway

Dear Neighbors,

We would like to help you with your kids Christmas presents this year.

Haven City Church received two large boxes of new/unopened toys on Saturday. These boxes contain about 100 toys for kids between the ages of 3 - 7.

We will make all the toys available tomorrow morning follow our church service. Numbered tickets will be given out starting at 9:40 AM and recipients must stay through the church service to participate in the giveaway.

Families will receive one ticket per child and the child must be present to receive a ticket.

Once the service ends we will let families go through and select one toy per child. The order for selection will follow the sequential numbers on the tickets.

Address: 710 S. Ann St. Baltimore, MD 21231

Please contact us with any questions you may have.


The Immerse Bible Reading Experience

This Sunday we will begin the Immerse Bible Reading Experience. This is an 8 week program for us all to read through the New Testament.

Here is a quick summary of Immerse

Here are the four things you will need to do to participate:

First: Commit to reading the Immerse Reading Bible as you would any other book, from start to finish. The first goal here is to experience the different books of the Bible as complete and unique writings. The more books you read, the more you will see the overall story emerging. The point is to have a fresh experience of the Bible in this simple, natural format. You can pick up your copy this Sunday at church.

Secondly: Read the assigned readings each day. Don’t skip the book introductions; they help set the stage for your reading. Many people say reading and listening to the audio version at the same time is very helpful. Try to make your reading a part of your daily schedule. See it as an opportunity and not a task.

Third: As you read, think about the questions that you will use to begin your discussion. You can find these at the bottom of the Quick Start Guide that comes inside your book. Feel free to make notes in the book or in a separate journal. Write down your observations, questions, and reactions.

Fourth: Meet once a week in community groups to talk about what you’ve read. Treat these gatherings more like a book club—open, honest conversations about your reactions to that week’s reading.

Our small groups will be meeting in Fed Hill, Butcher's Hill, and The Compassion Center. We are also attempting to start a women's group that will meet in Perkins Homes. We will have sign up sheets on Sunday for these small groups.

Backpacks for City Spring School

The start of a new school year reminds us that the best way to secure a better future for Baltimore City is for us to make certain our children receive a good education. And one way we can help in that effort, right now, is to equip the students with the tools they need to succeed.

We are asking for your help in supplying the students of City Springs Elementary/Middle School with the tools they need to make the most of the coming school year. City Springs is among the poorest schools in the city, with 98% of its students coming from low income households. Your generous donation of needed school supplies will be a solid investment in their future.

Our church has acquired backpacks for each of the school’s 775 students. Now we must fill them with the supplies needed to get these fine young people off to the best start when their academic year begins Tuesday, August 28th. Yes, as part of the Baltimore Curriculum Project, City Springs School will open a week earlier than other City public schools, and we must make certain these children are prepared.

I have asked members of our church to volunteer on this project, and assist me in gathering the needed notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, folders and more from retailers and other businesses throughout our community, all of whom share a vested interest in our children’s success. 

Haven City Church is an established 501c-3 organization and will provide contributors with proper documentation of any tax-deductible contribution. Linked here is a list of the supplies we need most at this time

There are three ways that you can contribute: 

  1. Purchase via an Amazon Wishlist and ship to the Compassion Center
  2. Buy the stuff locally and drop it off at the Compassion Center
  3. Donate finances so that we can purchase the supplies

All of us at Haven City Church, and at City Springs Elementary/Middle School, thank you most sincerely for joining our effort to make this the best school year yet for the highly valuable young people of Baltimore City, and City Springs School.

"I'm scared to follow Jesus"

You aren't the only one. Even some of those who watched Jesus perform amazing miracles just couldn't commit their life to him. They couldn't let go of their life in exchange for what God had for them. 

Luke 9:61-62 gives us one of these stories "Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.' Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'

Jesus wants a 100%, total commitment to him. 

This past Sunday I gave our congregation five great reasons Jesus is worth our total commitment. It is my hope that these reasons will remove the excuses you may have used to resist God's call on your life. 

  1. It is Rational
    If Jesus created the world and knows the end from the beginning it makes sense to follow him. He knows more then we do and he does things well. 
  2. It is Safe
    If Jesus died for on a cross so that we could be rescued from damnation then he must have a good plan for us. 
  3. It Reveals Triumph
    If Jesus defeated Satan on the cross and overcame the curse of sin then the battle has already been won. As we follow Jesus we are walking out the work He already finished. 
  4. It is Wholistic
    If Jesus is the creator of all things  then we will discover greater and greater unity and relatedness between the diverse pieces of our life. He puts the pieces together as a unified whole. (This is in contrast to the priorities of the world and their competing interests.)
  5. It is Glorious 
    If God sent his Son into the World with a plan that would ultimately bring him glory, our obedience to Jesus brings about a glorious end.

Now I understand that there are a whole lot of presuppositions in those statements. But if you have studied Luke up to chapter 9:56 you know that there is a basis for believing the premises that are stated above. You obviously have to be convinced on your own. 

I think when these five things are considered it becomes clear that a person who doesn't follow Jesus could have the inverse of the five: irrationality, danger, risk of loss, fragmentation and dullness. (I didn't mean for that to sound insulting, but logically those are the inverse realities.)

Jim Elliot so famously said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

I pray that you would be convinced of God's reliability and that you would trust him with your life... everything that is going on... all your junk and the relationships and the brokenness. And that you would grab ahold of him wholeheartedly. 


Baltimore Flooding... In Ellicott City

We have received a lot of concerned messages about the flooding in Ellicott City. We are grateful that so many people care about our safey. The devastating flood that took place was actually a repeat of a flash flood that happened in 2016. Unfortunately, the design of the city and surrounding development has made this type of flooding more probable. 

As in 2016, there is not a lot that can be done in terms of relief. A majority of the damage is to local businesses on Main St. The whole area is shut down as the structures are examined and debris is removed.

I'm sure there will be a rebuilding process and those businesses would appreciate your patronage. If you haven't been to Main St. Ellicott City then you are missing out. It is a great old town on the East Coast. 

Again, thanks for caring about us from afar. And don't forget to pray for Baltimore. While the devastation of this flood is spectacular to look at, please remember our our city is being decimated by homicide, poverty, corrupt government, drugs and injustice. These issues represent the loss of thousands of lives. And as a church we are committed to a transformational work over a long period of time. 

Food Drive for the Homeless

Hey Neighbors, 

This Sunday we will be collecting canned items for the Compassion Center food pantry. If you have items you wish to donate you can bring them to 710 S. Ann St. between 9:30 - 11:30 AM. 

The current items that are needed include: 

  • proteins - tuna, chicken, beef
  • pasta sauce
  • canned beans
  • greens - beans, spinach, 
  • canned corn

There is also a need for pasta and noodles. 


The Compassion Center feeds between 10-15 individuals (many who are homeless) in Southeast Baltimore on a weekly basis. Individuals are given clothing and a 30 lb bag of food on Wednesday mornings at 10 AM. The Center’s address is 1706 Eastern Ave, but this is not the location for drop-offs this Sunday. The food program is open to anyone in need in the immediate area and has been in operation for the past 50 years.

Thanks in advance for everything that will be contributed. 

If you have any questions just leave a comment below and we will try to follow up. 

Missions Team Trip from MS Recap

This past week Pine Grove Baptist Church was with us for a missions trip. Pastor Cody Warren brought six individuals up from Mississippi to pray for the city and serving local residents. Four of the team members were high school students on their Spring Break.  

The team arrived on Monday night and shared a excellent Italian dinner in Little Italy

Tuesday morning we headed out for a prayer walk through Southeast Baltimore. You can view the walking rout here. 

Here the team is praying for City Spring Elementary and Perkins Housing Project.

On Tuesday afternoon we headed up to Douglass Homes to help the service coordinator pass out paperwork to parents. The housing project is installing a new playground and they had an upcoming event for kids and parents to give input on the design. We knocked on doors and passed out the paperwork.  

Wednesday morning the team spent the day in the Compassion Center cleaning, organizing and processing donations. They also assisted with the chapel service in the morning. 

Here are some of the guys processing donated items in the Compassion Center

Here are some of the guys processing donated items in the Compassion Center

Thursday morning we did our Bus Stop Outreach. This is where we hand out free coffee at the bus stop and look to have gospel conversations with people as they walk by. After about an hour the crowd thinned out and we decided to move the free coffee four blocks North to the local drug rehab block. There are always large groups of people standing on the street. It can look like an intimidating crowd but once in a conversation you quickly realize that these guys are broken and trying to kick their addiction. 

We are very grateful to have Pine Grove Baptist Church's partnership. Their team was awesome.