Helping Families by Tearing Down Walls

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Case Studies

Austin Christian Fellowship & Greater Mount Zion Teach Walls

The Walls Project Austin Christian Fellowship

 

  

When Pastor and author Will Davis chose to participate in the Walls Project, his motives went beyond just helping parents. Will wanted to partner with other congregations in Austin to see walls come down in the individual lives of every member of his church, between his church and their community, and between other congregations in Austin.  And while those prayer requests were answered in amazing ways, another blessing came as an extra bonus: the Faith Breakthroughs concepts (those spiritual tools that equip people to tear down Walls) had a huge impact on the families of those who participated. 

 

Will and Austin Christian Fellowship elected to preach The Walls Project’s four weeks of messages and then followed with an additional four weeks of small group study.  Choosing this option allowed him to promote the study for an entire month from the pulpit while helping members and guests grasp the main ideas and concepts of Faith Breakthroughs.

 

 During those first few weeks, volunteers constructed an actual, enormous wall at the entrance to their main auditorium – reminding everyone of the reality of the spiritual barriers that held them back.  Everyone was then invited to write on the wall – answering the question, “What is YOUR Wall?” People began to write, in their own words and with their own hands, simple revelations about their own unhealthy mindsets. Words like “guilt.” And “shame.” And “fear.”  All generations – from the oldest among them to those barely old enough to write – found common ground in confessing these Walls in their own handwriting.  This physical structure not only made the invisible Walls more real, it also brought families together as they recognized the impact that these strongholds were having on each other. 

 

By the time the small group studies began, people were anxious to do whatever it took to move beyond the Walls to the victory of a Faith Breakthrough.  By this time, the realization of how much the Walls were hurting home life was obvious – and discussion turned naturally to the application of God’s promises in parenting.  Moms and dads, husbands and wives, children and teens, and those living alone found new hope and expectation.  Conversation moved from, “What’s your wall?” to “Let me tell you how my Faith Breakthrough impacted dinnertime last night!” 

 

On the final Sunday of the small group study and the culmination of the Walls Project at ACF, the leadership planned for a special evening celebration, including a moving observance of the Lord’s Supper as they recognized how God had “removed the dividing wall of separation” between them (Ephesians 2).  Following the time of Communion, participants were invited, as a family, to take a sledgehammer and physically destroy the portion of the wall where they had written several weeks prior. 

 

Those present that evening speak of something they will never forget.  And the pictures were of more than hammers striking brick: they told the story of mothers and fathers side-by-side with their children – tearing down their Walls together. 

Breakthroughs in the Urban Church

Greater Mount Zion Church is one of the fastest growing congregations in Central Texas. The impact of this one predominantly African-American congregation in Austin is immeasurable; they actively work among the poor and in schools to promote healthy living and stem drug abuse. These tireless efforts have built bridges that give them an unprecedented credibility with their community.  They have used their platform to offer the hope of Jesus Christ, and thousands have heard the Good News over the past decade. 

Pastor Gaylon Clarke, their pastor of twelve years, is especially devoted to one key area of urban life: the family.  “At every turn in African American culture, families are broken and hurting. This epidemic is contributing to poverty, crime, and hopelessness at an epidemic level. It will only be by divine intervention that the tide is turned.”

In the spring of 2011, Pastor Clarke began introducing the concepts of Faith Breakthroughs to his congregation – first by leading the entire church through The Walls Project, and then strategically implementing the principles specifically into his ministry to parents and mentors. He has found that the most significant work involves rebuilding a proper image of God among the men in his congregation and his community.

Faith Breakthroughs is largely built on the answer to the question, “Who is God?” – and question that often is first answered by a child’s image of his or her father. This image can be either uplifting or destructive in faith development. In a culture in which the majority of children are raised without a father, an entire generation of men have developed an unclear or destructive picture of manhood – and in turn, an incomplete picture of the God who loves them and has a plan for their lives.

Gaylon followed the fall 2011 “Walls Project” sermon series with a series devoted completely to defining biblical manhood. This happened in conjunction with a renewed effort toward training parents and mentors to raise a new generation who will embrace God’s promises – and are fully equipped to tear down the Walls they face.

As news of changed lives and transformed households continues to flow out of Greater Mount Zion, they continue to provide a model for other congregations who had nearly given up on the family. You can discover more about the ongoing strategy of Greater Mount Zion – and visit one of their incredible Sunday services!– by checking out www.gmzaustin.org.

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The spiritual barriers people face are countless, but they can be categorized into Eight Primary Walls. These walls correlate with the 8 primary breakthroughs that everyone needs.
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1 of 48
I have too many of my own problems to deal with the problems of others.
2 of 48
I am intentionally seeking to grow in my relationships with others.
3 of 48
I try to avoid temptations that would bring me harm.
4 of 48
I feel strong relationships are hard, but worth it.
5 of 48
I am grateful for the things I have been given.
6 of 48
I am confident God has forgiven me for my past.
7 of 48
It troubles me that God has not answered my prayers.
8 of 48
When bad things happen, I wonder if God can make things better.
9 of 48
When looking back on my life, I tend to focus on all of the things I did wrong.
10 of 48
I think that God will meet all my needs.
11 of 48
I feel compelled to make the world around me better.
12 of 48
I believe God is willing and able to answer my prayers.
13 of 48
I feel there is a disconnect between who I really am and how I act in front of other people.
14 of 48
I have witnessed things that make me wonder if God is in control.
15 of 48
I worry that God is angry with me.
16 of 48
I am so busy that I find myself ignoring the most important things in my life.
17 of 48
I question why God allowed certain things to happen in my life.
18 of 48
I believe God is loving and kind.
19 of 48
I worry about the problems that the future holds.
20 of 48
When I am facing a difficult situation, I feel like I can solve problems on my own.
21 of 48
I observe things that make me wonder if I should believe the Bible.
22 of 48
People who have hurt me in the past cause me to avoid some relationships today.
23 of 48
I think God cares about the details of my life.
24 of 48
I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
25 of 48
I find myself drawn to things I know are bad for me.
26 of 48
I feel with God's help, I can face any situation.
27 of 48
I don't believe anyone can ever know what is absolutely true.
28 of 48
I feel I can turn to God for direction.
29 of 48
I am willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for something better down the road.
30 of 48
I am willing to serve others for nothing in return.
31 of 48
People would describe me as a giving person.
32 of 48
I tend to expect the worst to happen.
33 of 48
I believe the Bible has answers for today's circumstances.
34 of 48
I know a lot of people, but don't feel very close to many people.
35 of 48
I believe God wants what is best for me.
36 of 48
I believe truth is the same for everyone.
37 of 48
I spend too much of my energy pursuing material things.
38 of 48
It humbles me to think I can know God.
39 of 48
I look forward to good things in my future.
40 of 48
I believe God loves me in spite of who I am.
41 of 48
I am amazed at God's power.
42 of 48
When bad things happen, I feel like I am getting what I deserve.
43 of 48
I have a hard time trusting people.
44 of 48
My faith practices are more about routine than relationship.
45 of 48
I have been wronged in the past in a way I cannot get over.
46 of 48
The possibility of gaining a good friend is worth the risk.
47 of 48
I find myself more focused on the things I don't have but wish I did.
48 of 48
I have to guard against judging people when I learn they are dealing with tough circumstances.
Great you have finished the evaluation.
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