This week we wanted to share a little with you all about why we at Sparks House give and support this nonprofit. Over the last year we have grown, struggled, and learned, but this is a mission and a community that we so strongly believe has a place and a purpose in the great city of Pittsburgh. We encourage you after reading our reasons why we give to evaluate if Sparks House is something you'd like to give to. But before you give to something, you should know why you're giving. So here are our whys to help get you started!
why i give to sparks house.
I have known for fifty years that a song well crafted and well delivered has an extraordinary power to actually change a human being. sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. I decided forty years ago that whatever gift GOD channeled through me, I would use it for the good; GOD'S glorious good.
Greg and I receive letters, emails, messages from people all over the world every single week relaying thanks to Jesus through us for how a song of ours, a song often written and recorded decades ago(!), changed their life.
I give to Sparks House because I believe that same life changing power of GOD is expressed not only through music, but also through the written word, the spoken word, the meal well prepared, the welcoming home, the dance, the painting or drawing or print or sculpture or clay pot....you get the drift.
the faith-filled are not familiar enough with finding the face of Jesus in those artful expressions, therefore not looking to cultivate those gifts in themselves or even see the value in why the gifts should be nurtured in others!
those not yet walking in faith with Jesus are not familiar with followers of Christ who are passionate about expressing the gospel through the arts, therefore having little to zero exposure to a gospel message that is warm, inviting, authentic, and accessible to their daily frame.
Sparks House is opening new doors!
I see us bringing people together through artful, gospel-filled expressions. Just consider the people who walked through the doors of our October and November events! In this diverse togetherness WE FIND EACH OTHER.
Although we arrive from very different pasts,
we desire a future destination
that brings new heights of
who wouldn't want to give to build that house?
- Rebecca Sparks (Founder)
Too often I lose sight of the fact that everything I have, everything I’ve been given, and all earthly things that I’ll gain in the future are not mine at all. Isn’t it interesting that the sermon I heard on Sunday was about generosity and it had nothing to do with tithing. I give because God calls us to give generously out of obedience to His will. I give with the understanding that what I have already belongs to the kingdom. I give as an act of obedience. It’s an act faith but blesses me with the opportunity to trust that God will provide for all of my needs. Through giving God allows me to play a small part in how He provides for the needs of others.
- Carol Nelson (President)
I believe in Sparks House for two important reasons:
“The Kingdom of God is like this…”
Whenever Jesus wanted to talk about the Kingdom of God, he didn’t give a theory or write a
dissertation, he told parables – stories, little pieces of prose, pieces of art. Stories about a Father who waited eagerly for his wayward son to come home so he could shower him with blessings. Stories about how a King wanted to fill his banquet table and sent out his servants to find the lowliest, the neediest, the not-put- together to join his party. Stories about farmers needing workers to bring in the bountiful harvest. Sparks House is where these stories continue to be written, told, and lived. Acted out in song and dance, images and words; celebrated with meals together in a foretaste of the King’s banquet table.
“We will find rest”
We are called to walk in humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in
love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit. We are called to be at home, at peace, at rest,
with one another. Already we have seen in each event, in each gathering, this feeling of
togetherness, this unity, this family resemblance that crosses our merely natural differences. My teenaged son recognizes it right away as the same family resemblance he knows from his youth group, our church family. He is blessed to have several such communities in his life. Sparks House is there to establish this community broadly, including to those who do not have or want (or maybe have been hurt by) traditional churches in our post-modern world.
Quote from NT Wright
“If God’s world of justice and mercy and beauty has already been inaugurated, then those who believe in Jesus’ resurrection must be – and it’s not just a little imperative tacked on at the end; must, in the sense of must logically be – people who do justice and mercy in the present. People who together with other brothers and sisters in the body of Christ work for God’s healing love in creation. People who do beauty, people who celebrate art because art and music and other things that go with those like dance and drama are ways in which we can pierce through the imagination which gets stuck in the old creation, and can help people to imagine what it might be like that there might actually be a new creation in which the bullies and the wicked empires of the world are not in charge and in which Jesus is in charge.”
- Jim Charron (Vice President)
Generally, I have a very science oriented brain. Everything has its place, everything has a cause and effect, everything works and has an explanation. While I find all of these things to be true, I have always made it a point to be invested in things deemed stereotypically more creative. I never let a semester go by without an art class and two of my biggest hobbies are generally unscientific. Why? Because science and art, logic and creativity, and reason and ingenuity are not mutually exclusive. I serve a God who is both the judge and the creator. That’s the reason why I give, because this community gives me the opportunity to exercise the creativity I was made to have. This community is a reflection of the kingdom.
- Danny Santoro (Board Member)
In a time and place where I can feel more divided and more different from others around me than ever, Sparks House and the community it creates fills the gap in between. In between ages, between races, between different genders, personalities, and world views. When I'm at a Sparks House event I feel connected to all of the different humans around me. It creates a common bond between people who are all showing up for different reasons. They may be trying to find something, trying to support someone involved, or got dragged along by someone who also has no idea why they're there. But in that space we connect. We discuss. We discover how are differences are more alike than we could have ever imagined.
But why give?
Again, in a time and place where myself and others feel more divided and more different from others around them more than ever, this type of community shows us the kingdom. What it's supposed to look like. What we're supposed to be seeking. In a very under the radar kind of way, the way that people know without having to say, this community is different. The difference is Jesus. And by creating places and spaces where people can come as they are and honestly and unabashedly just be, we're creating room for relationships that have the potential to go deeper. To show Jesus and His love. To show the city of Pittsburgh and the world a little bit of wholeness in a world that seems so broken. But here we are making great attempts to put it back together, for His glory, in His name.
- Bri Santoro (Creative Director)
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying,and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
This passage. Every line. Is what SparksHouse takes on. I've watched the founder of this baby organization live this and teach me too. Greg and Rebecca Sparks are two people who have taken me under their wing since I moved to PA in 2013 and really have made it a part of their life to be concerned about my development as a Christian and a musician.
I remember the time I meet Greg Sparks. It was during setup for church and he said "hey do you play an instrument?" And I said "no but I sing". He then invited me to become a part of the worship team just like that! It was that kind of unconditional acceptance that I really began to understand Christ in a deeper way. I didn't have to audition or prove myself to have a place in that worship team, in the lives of the Sparks family, or as a part of this growing organization. I believe in the mission of the founders of Sparks House because they've shown me who they really are.
Nothing would make me happier than to see this grow. For the sake of others who are lost and just need to know the love of Jesus. This isn't a get rich scheme here. Investing in it is actually more of a stay poor scheme. No seriously, we are doing what God has commanded from us and we won't stop. Join us in this joy. This is the good stuff.
- Kenny Stockard (Board Member)
As long as I’ve known Greg & Rebecca - which at this point is over 20 years - I have witnessed their passion for not only music, but their evangelism to the “least of these.” They fill their home with anyone who wants to join them, regardless of anything and they love each and every one. They have seen many trials & tribulations but know full well that God will see them through & it’s evident in their ministry. When Jim [my husband] & I went to breakfast with them one morning, we witnessed another passion - to start a non-profit in the arts. And though that day was somewhat somber (for other reasons) you could see and hear their cry for something that went beyond Greg & Rebecca the musicians, but put forth by God to Greg & Rebecca the missionaries, evangelists & artists. To form something that quite frankly, is new & different than anything in our Christian world, was that “spark” (no pun intended!) that spoke to me & said, “get on board.” So even though when Rebecca called asking for one of us to be on the board - I kind of needled my way on to it along with Jim. :)
I am excited to see where God leads us!
-Heather Charron (Board Member)
The oppressed have always used the arts as a mirror to their lives. The oppressed have always found an ally in God. The arts speak for the oppressed when they often can’t. The duty of a Christian, to me, is to advocate for the voiceless.
God is a creator. God created us. Jesus was a griot. The Bible, to many, is the greatest story ever told. Paul was a writer. We all have a story. And through the arts, we tell it in many different forms. To bring glory to God. To lead others to Christ.
We create for change. We create for the Kingdom. We were created to make change. We were created to add to the Kingdom. God is a creator and so are we.
- Ciara Todd (Secretary)
We ask for your support in any way that you are able; prayer, attending events, financially, or just spreading the word about what we're up to! We are overwhelmingly appreciative of all of your support so far in this journey!
- Sparks House