Sidewalk Ministries has been an integral part of Emerge Missions for the past 7 years. Sidewalk is an inner city children’s ministry that takes the gospel into some of the poorest barrios in South Manila. What began as a small outreach program with just a handful of kids has grown into something great.
12 years ago, when Joann Luciano (founder) walked into the slums for the first time, 13 kids came out to listen to her tell stories and learn about Jesus. Today, 10,000 kids are engaged and discipled every week.
The ministry is all about:
- Loving and serving children born into poverty: This ministry has a burden for the poor and the outcast. Joann coordinates teams of teachers who travel to over 100 sites scattered throughout the slums of south Manila. They walk into these places, find a big clear space and have Sunday school with the kids who come out. They sing songs, play games, do crafts, tell bible stories.
- Taking the gospel to dark places: Every single week, for the past 12 years, these teams have bravely taken the gospel into some of the most dangerous places in the Philippines. Why? Because no one else will. They go to the places everyone else avoids, walking into the lives of those whom everyone else has rejected and cast aside and they bring with them truth, life, laughter and hope for a better future. Romans 10 says this “How can they call on the one they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear unless someone tells them?…. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
- Raising up leaders from within: The leaders of this ministry, the ones who show up every weekend to teach, are all kids who come from these same slums. Local kids modeling leadership and modeling Christ – that’s the key ingredient that makes this ministry so powerful. It’s not just some missionary or even a local youth group going into these rough neighborhoods. The leaders of Sidewalk all live just down the street from the kids they teach. They live the same reality. When they talk about love, change and hope it carries weight because they face the same struggles, hardships and challenges these kids experience every day.
- Giving the underprivileged opportunities for a better future: If all this ministry was about was taking the gospel to the poor and to the outcast, that would be enough, but they also know that these kids need practical tools to help their family rise out of the generational poverty they have been stuck in for decades. Sidewalk has a mentorship/scholar program that helps sponsor the discipleship, leadership development and education of their leaders. Today, over 30 Barrio kids have become the first in their family’s history, to not only graduate high school, but also get a college degree. Eleven are presently studying in college, and hundreds more will join them. Our goal is to support 1,000 kids from the barrio through college.
- Far-reaching impact: This month, Sidewalk is breaking new ground and launching its first site ever in Myanmar. Myanmar is slowly opening it’s doors to Christianity. Just three years ago it was illegal to worship Jesus openly. Joann has lead a team to raise up a new batch of leaders who will be the first teachers to launch Sidewalk Ministries in Myanmar. Just look at the impact this ministry has had in the lives of countless children in the Philippines! Can you imagine what could happen in Myanmar in the next 12 years?
In just the first two days that they went to demonstrate Sidewalk to the new teachers 147 kids showed up! Learn more on how you can be involved in Sidewalk Ministries here on the emerge missions.org website.