During a panel discussion at the first Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC) Large Group Gathering at California's EPIC Church, San Francisco City Impact Director Christian Huang, YWAM San Francisco director Ruthie Kim, and San Francisco Giants General Manager Bobby Evans shared words of encouragement for those hoping to bring the love of Jesus to their local communities.
Co-founded by Pat Gelsinger, TBC is a coalition of business leaders, venture capitalists, pastors, and nonprofit leaders, focused on helping to develop a grass roots activity that will transform the Bay Area through social compassion and service.
After sharing her testimony, Ruthie Kim revealed that change is what animates her ministry: "It's the slow and steady work of God in people's lives and seeing the small moments of people stepping into who they were meant to be in Christ...how God brings that shift in people to where they discover who they were designed to be," she said.
Kim, who works closely with women in the Muslim community in the Bay Area, opened up about some of the challenges she faces: "Dealing with change...the Bay Area is so shifting, and the needs of communities are always shifting. The needs of my own family, the needs of my team...as a leader, it's important to be sensitive that. We need to step back and realize that...and think, 'What do we look at? What can we do differently?'"
She added that it is sometimes difficult to show the larger church community that the work YWAM does is long-term and not just a few weeks long.
"Encouraging people to understand that if you want to jump in and work with us, it's a long-term commitment," she said. "Please don't give up because you don't see these radical stories. It's a constant challenge -- encouraging people to stick with us; don't give up and walk away."
Christian Huang then opened up about his ministry, San Francisco City Impact, an inner-city outreach ministry and church started by his father 31 years ago that mobilizes people to intervene through multiple ministries, including five major departments --including a school, rescue mission, and health and wellness center -- and 16 weekly programs.
"My dad met Jesus through Jimmy Swaggart on TV, and his first response was frustration, 'Why did the Christians not come and tell me?'" Huang said. "And so, everything we do at City Impact is not, 'Sit here and listen,' it's 'Go and tell."
He added, "Our largest ministry is our food program...food is a language...You show up at someone's door just start talking, they won't give you the time of day, but if you show up with a burrito...(laughs). We're a family to these people that we're ministering to, our staff has adopted six of the kids in the last four years."
"We just can't dream big enough, or keep up with God, but we can try," Kim added of what's possible for those who are hoping to transform their local communities. "This is my first [TBC] meeting, and looking around this room and just having met some of the people and seeing...what God has given you and the dreams that you have, I would just really encourage you to keep going."
She contended that as someone who has worked in the Bay Area for many years, she knows what it's like to feel discouraged and defeated at times.
"It's encouraging at this meeting, because [the Biblical prophet Elijah] said 'I'm the only one left,' and God said, 'Heck no!'" Kim said. "But hopefully we can leave with that 'Heck no!' and keep going ... I encourage all of us in whatever we're doing ... that we're not alone and that God is for us and not against us. Keep dreaming, keep going after those big dreams, and I think that we'll be amazed at what God's gonna do because He loves the Bay Area."
"I would just encourage everyone that really the miracle is in the monotony," added Huang. "Everyone wants to walk on water like Jesus, but if you look at the Bible, you know, 91% of His life is unaccounted for. What happened to the days when Jesus just...was exhausted and went to bed. I think about that all the time..Jesus had some days, and people quit so easily, but the miracle is in the monotony. There's some fruit you can only bear through longevity."
He quoted 2nd Samuel 23:11-12, which reads, " And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory."
"Find your bean field and work in it, faithfully," Huang explained. "If there's a patch of beans somewhere, stay put and keep fighting."
San Francisco Giants GM Bobby Evans also shared some words of wisdom, calling to mind the story found in Matthew 14:13-21, which Jesus feeds 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.
"As I look around daily in my life, I like for the five loaves and two fish," he said. "What little do I have that I can give to God that He can use to magnify His power and His presence?...Every day, we should look at what little we have and ask God to turn it into something bigger. We worship a big God. The same Jesus that multiplied five loaves and two fish, will multiply whatever you offer."