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Rooted in My City

Rooted in My City

My name is Bernard Emerson, and I am a World Impact Associate. I serve as a bi-vocational church planter in Oakland, California. A few years ago the vision to plant The Way Church was engraved in the hearts of my wife Kim and I. We both grew up in Oakland and we love our city. While many cities around the world need new churches, we felt led to Oakland. Our goal is simple: we want to make much of Christ. We do not want any fanfare or drama; we just want to work together with loving, compassionate, and approachable community partners.

Our partnership with World Impact helps and affords us many opportunities. Through World Impact, our church has been able to serve without the burden of financial worry or lack of resources. Because we are an urban church for the poor and of the poor, this is a big deal. Our partnership with World Impact helps us better serve our community.

Oakland is different from anywhere else in the world. It’s not big but you can find yourself lost here. It’s a place where you can get caught up knowing the wrong people, and a place where knowing the right people could save your life. It is a city ripe for Christ and the good news of His person and work. People actually call my city Sodom. I read a book once where they author asked the question, “Can a city like Sodom be saved?” Yes! We can save a city like Sodom! But for that to happen, God’s people need to stay in cities like Sodom to preserve like salt and reveal like light. We need to stay to help the poor and warn the rich. God needs committed followers to be rooted in our cities.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a pastor. We talked about the city with all of its brokenness, despair, hurt and depression. He asked me, “Bernard, are you a tribal chief?” I didn’t understand his question, and he asked me again, “are you a tribal chief?” Before I could answer he explained what he meant. “A tribal chief plants roots, is grounded, stays around for generations, and is a cornerstone of a community. That is what is needed in our cities – someone people can depend on because they know they won’t leave for any reason.” Those words have echoed in my mind ever since and that is what I am called to. I am planting roots in Oakland.

Click here to read more about our Associates program.


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