Taken straight from our newly update ABOUT page, we wanted to share this update as a feature on the blog, giving testimony to what God has done and continues to do in our midst. ENJOY!
In 2005, the Stockbridge Boiler Room was birthed out of a prayer meeting on a front porch in the West Side of Grand Rapids. The Tendero family had been inspired to pray and listen to God’s leading after reading the book Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig, which tells the story of the 24-7 Prayer international movement that started in the Fall of 1999 and the monastic communities and missional initiatives that it catalyzed. This led them to move into a neighborhood that was uncharted territory to them at the time. Its zip code had one of the highest rates of domestic disturbances in the state—and homelessness, substance-abuse, and prostitution, among other things, were prevalent.
They began befriending their neighbors and hosting simple prayer gatherings. The first breakthrough happened when their neighbor across the street encountered Jesus---then the Spirit continued to move, and many new friends of theirs living on and off the streets became acquainted with the love of Jesus as well, and began following him.
A house across the alley was a hub for crack deals and prostitution. With their back window as a box seat view to all the action coming in and out of it, they began praying that God would move in that duplex house. Before long, the house was purchased by some friends, given to the cause, and repurposed as a community hub for prayer and hospitality! Neighbors came together to gut and renovate the home for interns and new believers off the streets alike to share life and meals together, being discipled into the ways of Jesus. The three-stall garage behind it was set aside for regular community prayer gatherings individual prayer times to refuel and recenter. This was the beginning of the Stockbridge Boiler Room.
“THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE STOCKBRIDGE BOILER ROOM.”
Before long the Love Feast, a regular midweek community meal, outgrew the yard and we began using the Polish Hall two doors down to gather the neighborhood community to celebrate Father’s Love and receive it afresh around the table together.
“OUR STORY IS A TESTAMENT TO WHAT GOD CAN DO WHEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE OPEN THEIR HEARTS TO HIM, ASK HIM TO LEAD THEM TO LOVE OTHERS, AND THEN ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES IN RESPONSE TO HIS ANSWER.”
Over the years, this ragtag group of friends and spiritual family continued to pray and dream together about what it means to be God’s family here and experiment with all kinds of initiatives and partnerships from a bike shop kid mentoring program to basketball camps, and even partnering with churches around the city to mobilize 24-7 Prayer in the garage and in various locations around the city.
Our story is a testament to what God can do when a group of people open their hands to Him, ask Him to lead them to love others, and then roll up their sleeves in response to His answer.
“TODAY, WE ARE STEPPING INTO A NEW ERA.”
Today, we are stepping into a new era. We’ve discovered a load of friends, like-minded communities, and prayer movements in our city and the region, and have been invited to grow up into a hub of prayer and relationship for West Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. God is breathing freshly in these places and we are discovering a new grace to strengthen existing prayer movements and communities by hosting gatherings, growing friendships, offering resources, catalyzing shared prayer initiatives, and sharing stories to spark new prayer movements where there are none.
In the early days as the Stockbridge Boiler Room, we focused our efforts on loving our underserved neighborhood where there were few resources and church communities. We are excited about the surge of wonderful new church plants in the West Side and revitalization efforts in our neighborhood. We see this as an invitation from the Lord to embrace an expanded mission field in the city and region. We have been and always will be the Stockbridge Boiler Room, but we’ve found that the name of our wider 24-7 Prayer movement fits our new mission so much better in this season, so we are adopting 24-7 Prayer Grand Rapids as our new moniker for this leg of the journey. We continue to be rooted in our West Side neighborhood with the Prayer Garage and Community House as our anchored hub. No matter where you live, we invite you to join us in this mad mission to REVIVE THE CHURCH and REWIRE THE CULTURE.
PRACTICAL NOTE: Our LEGAL NAME with the government as a nonprofit REMAINS Stockbridge Boiler Room. For the purpose of writing check donations, you may still make checks out to Stockbridge Boiler Room. Beginning January 2020, we will change over our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to the new name 24-7 Prayer Grand Rapids as well, but for the Fall we will simply change the logos of these accounts to help ease people into the name change.
To find out more about what all this means and looks like in this season, visit the Vision and Mission page.