Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
City Impact exists to intervene on behalf of the people in the inner city of San Francisco. They are a Christ-centered organization that provides relief programs such as feeding, health care, and social services while breaking unhealthy cycles through education, leadership training, and spiritual transformation.
Welcome Roger Huang, founder of City Impact, to Dreams Coming True! Tell us a little about yourself, Roger.
When did this creative dream begin?
We started out in 1984 by stumbling in a incident that changed my life. It was about 20 minutes.
How did the idea for City Impact get started?
I saw this boy getting beat by a group of older boys, and I didn’t help. God reminded me, What if that was your son? So I came back the next day with 50 sandwiches.
What makes your ministry stand out from the crowd?
We are nothing special. We were called by God to a desolated place. We focus on relationships instead of programs. Changing One Life at a Time.
What are the goals and intentions of City Impact?
We hope to reach the Tenderloin community and make it a Christian community where we love each other. It’s been changing over the years for the better.
How does City Impact create community?
Love of God. We don’t focus on weaknesses or rumors. We speak love and serve.
Many have creative ideas but have trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly . . . but then enthusiasm drizzles off?
Stay low, and don’t shoot for the star. Don’t dream big or look for accomplishment to elevate your status. Just do the work and serve and pray to God to show you and help you every step.
Describe the behind-the-scenes effort of your project. Where do the ideas come from? How many are involved in the process? Does each contributer have a specific role?
We find a need and meet it. The idea is in the people we serve. If they need food, then we create a dining room. If they need clothing, then we start a thrift store. If they need education, then we start a school. If they need a grocery, then we start food bank. Etc.
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
Waiting. God usually sends people and money, but he wants to test our character and mold us for that moment. Integrity. Honesty.
What have you learned?
You can do the most loving work, but remembering no one owes you anything. It’s all grace.
Have there been any unexpected surprises?
How slow God moves. Then again, I realize it’s how slow I am stuck in my own way.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about?
They think it’s easy. They want it now. We can’t do anything apart from God and His Spirit.
What are some ways you promote City Impact?
We seek for volunteers to come and help us. We can’t do it alone.
Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?
I didn’t like marketing. I don’t believe in asking. At the end of day we have to pray and fast, and God will do the rest.
We don’t work with a marketing company, and we don’t want to be on the spot light because it’s not doing us any good. We are not that good and that sharp if we had to compete with so many great organizations. We just serve and pray, and when time is right, then we ask.
Any marketing mistakes you would avoid?
Working with marketing company. They will charge you a lot. You will end up working for them.
What social network has worked best for you?
Those that people are using: Facebook, blogging. Constant Contact, and things like that.
What advice would you give someone else who has a creative dream like yours?
Fall in love with God first, and then ask God for your dream to come true. Unless we fall in love, we are unlikely to stay committed. Like a marriage.
Where do you see City Impact in five years?
Same as always. Nothing big, nothing flashy. Just one life at a time.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your creative dream, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
What does it really take before you see your return or profit?
It will take as long as it needs to be. Stay the course because pioneer takes a different kind of personality. The profit will come, but then again, that is not why we started the dream. It is never about money.
How can we find your creative dream come true?
[Tweet “@sfcityimpact is changing one life at a time. Check out Roger Huang’s interview with @suzannewfisher”]
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