By RUTH SCHENK | rschenk@secc.og

With just a few days left until the launch of SE Beechmont, a Community Campus of Southeast Christian Church, Campus Pastor Matt Robison looks beyond carpet stretchers, paint cans and vacuums. These days, he’s thinking more about who will sit in chairs when the campus holds its first service at Hope Place Sunday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.

Many faces will be familiar from outreach at Hope Place, a community center in South Louisville where Matt’s wife, Kristy, is the program director. Others will be key volunteers who have been prayer walking and taking flyers and Popsicles door to door throughout the community with personal invitations to visit the church at 5007 Southside Drive.

And still others will be complete strangers.

Robison can’t wait to meet new neighbors, those who have little or no experience with church and those who come from different faith backgrounds and know little about Jesus.

SE Beechmont joins SE Multination as a church with many cultures and languages. In Beechmont, countless languages are spoken within a few blocks. It is a first-stop community for many refugees and immigrants.

Neighbors come from 60 countries, including Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Cuba and Vietnam.

Worship at the new campus will include music as well as Scripture read in Swahili, English, Spanish, Kirundi, Pashto and more. Robison will preach from Southeast Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman’s sermon, adding relevant stories and illustrations from the neighborhood. Worship will be led by Bertin Maroy, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and has been a pastor and worship leader.

“I am so excited that we can gather at SE Beechmont,” Maroy said. “We will gather so many tribes and nations together to worship God. As immigrants and refugees, all we want to do is worship.”

Southeast members JC and Carla Williams live in Beechmont and will attend the new campus.

“Beechmont has its own resilience, generosity and courage—and the most delicious food in Louisville,” Carla Williams said. “We love the multicultural diversity of life and now church there.”

Matt and Kristy Robison and their four children settled in Beechmont when they moved to Louisville four years ago.

At that time, launching a multicultural campus never crossed their minds.

“If you had told me that one day I’d be pastoring a Southeast campus in the middle of a city, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Robison said. “I never dreamed we’d live in a city or in a community with 100 languages three blocks from my home. Only God.”

Robison’s big dream reaches beyond church walls.

“We don’t just want to have church in Beechmont, we want to be the church,” he said. “We believe as we share the Gospel here, other family members and friends around the world will hear it, too.”

Dennis Brooks, who works with community campuses at Southeast, said SE Beechmont is simply catching the wind of the Holy Spirit where it is already blowing.

“We are simply joining what God is already doing in the community,” Brooks said. “Cultural challenges, language and transportation make it difficult for those in Beechmont to come to an existing campus, so we will go to them. We will create an environment where people are loved and can learn about Jesus.”

One piece of Robison’s dream for the church is to see an empty parking lot on Sundays.

“I’m excited for the day the building will be full and the parking lot will be empty because people in our community are walking to church,” he said. “When that happens, we will be meeting needs in our own community.”

Robison knows challenges are ahead. Many in the neighborhood come from different faith backgrounds and know little about Jesus.

Last week, the Robisons invited three Somali boys to watch a movie at their home. Following Muslim tradition, they were fasting for a religious holiday. Throughout the evening, they asked a lot of questions about Hope Place, the church, about Jesus.

Others are indifferent or even hostile.

One woman walked back and forth on the sidewalk in front of the church, muttering words no one could quite understand.

Robison called out, “Hello.” She kept walking.

“We know Mary,” he said. “She doesn’t love us yet. There are others like her. For those who don’t love us, we’ll love them until they do.”

Robison said the countdown to launch is a little like a countdown to a wedding.

“I’m excited, happy, nervous, ready for the wedding to be over and the marriage to begin,” he said.

Volunteers needed

Beechmont Children’s Ministry needs volunteers to help for seven Sunday evenings from Sept. 13 to Nov. 25 from 5:30 to 7:30. There will be a short training session before the first evening of service.

Dennis Brooks is looking for volunteers who want to be involved with the community.

“Since the goal is to build strong relationships with these kids, we’re asking volunteers to commit to the first three weeks in September or the four weeks in October or better yet, all seven weeks,” he said. “We want people to come because they care about the community.”

Proper social distancing will be in place. Masks are required for volunteers.

Volunteers must be active members of Southeast for at least six months and have security clearance to serve in Children’s Ministry.

Sign up at secc.servicereef.com.

For questions, contact Kristy Greene at kgreene@secc.org or (502) 253-8731.