When many Denver inner city churches are closing their doors and turning into residential lofts, Sloan’s Lake Community Church is more alive than ever. Maybe it’s because this Denver church hasn’t forgotten about what is important to God, feeding and clothing the homeless in our society. Many churches are also moving from the city and relocating in the suburbs, but several years ago they made the decision to stay in the city and grow where they were originally planted. Little did they know, but that decision would evolve into a significant ministry to the poor, broken and disenfranchised people of northwest Denver.
Meet the Pastor
Pastor Ed Nelson has been the Senior Pastor at Sloan's Lake Community Church for 14 years. He and the church decided they needed to minister to the diverse population around them and bloom were they were planted. Pastor Ed describes SLCC as an urban church “that puts boots on the ground for missions.” So what kind of missions is this Northwest Denver church involved with?
Currently, this congregation of only 220 worshippers serves breakfast every Sunday morning to 40-60 homeless men and women who live in the Sloan’s Lake area. On Sundays, they offer not only a great hot breakfast but also showers, bags of groceries, clothing and a brief worship service to those who arrive for the breakfast. Occasionally, haircuts will be offered free of charge by some beauticians from the neighborhood.
A church who cares for the needy
Last year the ministry at SLCC took another natural step in caring for the needy. After one of the homeless men they had befriended froze to death on the winter streets, they decided that they could not allow that to happen again. Because of this crisis, they began to investigate how to become a Severe Weather Shelter for the homeless. Soon they discovered that the Jefferson County Power of Partnership had developed a Severe Weather Initiative and they joined forces with them in February of 2013. They became the first church in the city of Denver to have the homeless stay in their building when the temperature was below 32 degrees and wet; or below 20 degrees and dry. This winter, three other churches joined them in housing the homeless as a Severe Weather Shelter.
SLCC also has a ministry to families, teens and children in need. The church partners with Family Promise in housing up to five homeless families in their building for one week, every three months. They also partner with Whiz Kids and members of their church offer tutoring to students from nearby Brown Elementary School. The Northwest Denver church provides meals for Urban Peak, a ministry to homeless teens in Denver. They partner with Mean Street Ministries who also cares for and assists the homeless and working poor.
Why does this Denver church reach out and meet needs beyond the walls of their church? They are seeking to live out their Mission Statement which states: “We are a people sent to bring relief, redemption and restoration.” Pastor Ed Nelson says that one of the most wonderful, unexpected blessings that has come from the church’s outreach ministry is the partnership with other believers from other churches in the Denver Metro area.
Ten other congregations have joined with SLCC in one way or another to care for the homeless and underprivileged. The denominational barriers have melted away as believers have joined hands and hearts to minister to “the least of these.” As a result, Christ’s prayer “that they all may be one” is becoming a reality in Northwest Denver.
When many other Mile High Denver churches are closing their doors and being converted to condos or single-family dwellings, Sloan’s Lake Community Church is alive and well because they care about the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, broken and disenfranchised people of northwest Denver. For more information on SLCC, visit their website http://sloanslakecommunitychurch.com/Index.php