Don’t just sit in those pews

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Don’t just sit in those pews (reporting from Arlington, Texas): In the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth, a once-shrinking congregation finds revival as it serves its community. 

ARLINGTON, Texas — It’s a Tuesday after school, and basketballs are flying at the North Davis Church of Christ family life center.

Welcome to “The Rec,” as the banner outside declares.

Two afternoons per week, the 600-member church opens its doors for up to 120 students from nearby Lamar High School to hang out, shoot hoops and enjoy free snacks and beverages.

“It’s a good thing,” said Christian Retana, 15. “It gets kids out of trouble.”

“This is a good environment,” agreed Deshaun Lowry, 17. “Nobody’s ever fighting, especially in a church. Everybody gets along here.”

A few years ago, dozens of Lamar High teens congregating in a Walgreens store parking lot after school drew complaints of violence, thefts and illegal drug activity.

That’s when the North Davis church decided to partner with Arlington police and school officials to offer an alternative.

“We said, ‘Let’s give them something better,’” said Darrell Lanford, youth family minister.

This story appears in the August 2014 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.