WXTX Special Report: Take the City

Published: Feb. 8, 2016 at 5:06 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2016 at 11:28 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - There is a powerful movement growing in our area that's energizing people and strengthening neighborhoods.

Imagine what could happen if hundreds of churches and organizations across the Chattahoochee Valley come together to love, serve and pray for their region.

You don't have to imagine it because it's happening right here in Columbus.

It's called Take The City, and Fox 54's Cheryl Renee shows us how the group is transforming people and places throughout the city.

There's a powerful movement sweeping our area that's energizing people and strengthening communities.

"I really felt like we were to call this Take the City," said Andrew Chalmers.

Three years ago, Chalmers had a vision. Having just moved to Columbus, he wanted to start a ministry, unlike anything else in the area.

"Go out and live like Christ did," Chalmers said.  

So they're taking the church to the streets.

We caught up with this group at a trailer park on Victory Drive in Columbus.

Becca Lee has been evangelizing with Take the City for about two years.

"I have a relationship with the Lord and because of that it just makes me want to go out and help people," Lee said.
Even on days when it's cold, the group goes from trailer to trailer passing out snacks and asking people if they need prayer or help.

"A lot of these people here are struggling with addiction, things that are above them and so they want help they just don't have the means to get help, so we're here to say we're here for you and we want to be here for you and want to help you," Lee said.

It's that compassion for people that drives this ministry. One Saturday a month, more than 100 people from all denominations come together in a spirit of unity and praise, then head out in teams to target locations across the area to share the gospel and build lasting relationships.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, team members passed out 300 bags of foods at the Wilson Homes off Veterans Parkway in Columbus. The mission of helping to unify and revitalized the city is catching on.

"Not only are we going to make a difference but other people that are in that community are now deciding I want to make a difference too," Chalmers said.

Like Tonya Clements, who remembers when Take the City walked through her neighborhood.

"My daughter got taken from me, kinda going through a really tough time," Clements said. "They came up and offered me some gifts and they wanted to talk to me."

That was the beginning of her transformation. Now she talks the talk and walks the walk, spreading the word with the team on Victory Drive.

"Instead of waiting for them to come to us we have an opportunity to go to them to help them," Chalmers said.

And help arrived.

A group is braving the cold to clean the yard of 87-year-old Vera Bristow of Columbus after months of neglect.

"It means the world to me because I have cancer," Bristow said. "I can't go outside anymore."

So she relies on Andrew, her neighbor and his team. It's a key part of their mission.

"To love our neighbors and to do things for them," Chalmers said.

"That's what he does best, being a Christian," Bristow said.

Take the City has about a dozen neighborhoods around the Chattahoochee Valley it has adopted, talking to people, finding out how they can help them, trying to make a difference.

Over time they believe the transforming power of God's love will change families, neighborhoods and cities forever.

The next Take The City event is Friday, Feb. 26. For more information, visit their website at this link.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #TakeTheCity.

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