From the Sanctuary to the Streets

My first book, From the Sanctuary to the Streets: How the Dreams of One City’s Homeless Sparked a Faith Revolution and Transformed a Community, is now in print!

Below is a summary of From the Sanctuary to the Streets

Many Christians find themselves at a crossroads. Cultural shifts and growing ethnic and religious diversity are causing Christians to question the essence of the Christian faith. Is it an hour on Sunday spent inside a building with people who look, think, and act much as we do, or is it something more incarnational that seeks out those who are different, the ones living in the margins?

In 2004, I felt called to venture outside the church walls and into the world. Through a series of encounters with homeless, impoverished, and incarcerated individuals, I experienced the mysterious power of Christian hospitality that turns strangers into family. My encounter with a young homeless mother led to the formation of a ministry that mobilizes wealthy and impoverished neighbors to care for one another.

Though Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you,” in our world the poor and the wealthy are often separated by circumstance and intention. In a city divided by racial tension and economic injustice, Embrace Richmond’s unique ministry is a counter-cultural experiment in the practice of Christian hospitality– hospitality that not only recognizes and responds to the needs of the stranger, but also accepts the gifts the stranger bears.

For centuries Christians have gotten it backwards; we have presumed that we are to take the gospel to the poor. Instead, I invite you to receive the gospel from the poor. These true stories of the least, the lost, and the forgotten will bring you face to face with the Good News in the midst of poverty and injustice in a way that inspires you to join the fight for justice.

With our eyes opened to the needs and gifts of our impoverished neighbors, we can begin to dream God-sized dreams for a hurting world and make them reality. And as we pray “thy kingdom come on earth,” we can live in such a way as to make it happen in our own neighborhoods.

Join me on this journey of discovery to the intersection of poverty and prosperity where God’s desires meet the needs and callings of God’s people.

What others are saying about From the Sanctuary to the Streets

“From the Sanctuary to the Streets is the story of how one person began to help others—the broken of our world—dream and realize those dreams. She invites us into her world and introduces us to her friends. It is through this eye-opening account of Wendy’s story and the individual stories of her friends that we get a glimpse of God’s power to heal and mend the broken and transform them into a community of dreamers.”
—Eric Swanson
co-author of The Externally Focused Church

“McCaig’s vision of Christian hospitality involves opening ourselves to the most vulnerable-the abused wife, the drug addict, the ex-felon, the abandoned elderly-and discovering there the presence of God. Friendships with those close at home-family and neighbors-as well as with those across racial and class lines illustrate how ‘God never works alone.’ This beautifully written book is a call to all of us to embrace our dreams, whether large and small, and in so doing respond to God’s call to be Christ’s body for the world.”
—Elizabeth Newman
author of Untamed Hospitality: Welcoming God and Other Strangers

“This is one of the best, most challenging, and hope-filled books I’ve read in a long time. What makes From the Sanctuary to the Streets so different from other books on the subject is it’s narrative quality—it reads like a novel, chalk-full of personal stories and wisdom born of experience. McCaig has captured qualities of holiness and hope that blossom in some of the most desolate corners of the inner city.”
—Stephen Brachlow
Professor of Spirituality at Baptist Theological Seminary

“Years ago, God gave Joseph an unpopular but ultimately redemptive dream that altered the course of his nation. Today, God has spoken a dream of the same fabric to my friend and courageous leader Wendy McCaig. Those who are wise enough to listen to this dreamer will become a part of a movement of the Church Distributed and will touch their communities with grace and hope.”
—John P. Chandler
author of Courageous Church Leadership: Conversations with Effective Practitioners


15 responses to “From the Sanctuary to the Streets

  1. By the way – your book is well-written!

  2. Heather Shears


    I was only able to read a few chapters in your book, I have to get off the computer to fix my kids breakfast. I wanted to leave you a little note before I signed off though. I LOVE reading your story!!

    It’s nice to put a story with your face. I have listened to you several times in the encourager class and always wondered your full story… I know that you helped a woman named Shannon and that’s what Embrace is founded on. Also, that you are from Texas because you said, ” Heather, where are you from? You sound like me with your country accent”. I wanted to know more though. I don’t know if it was just noisiness or if I didn’t understand how could a woman poor out her heart wholeheartedly and trust so openly.

    I have enjoyed reading about you and can’t wait to get to the next chapter!! You have a HUGE heart and I know that God is so VERY proud of you!! You have alot to give and we ALL could learn so much from you.

    Heather Shears

    • wmccaig

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for taking the time to read the chapters. It has been a wild ride over the past four years and it has been a real joy to be able to write down some of what I have seen and learned and profile the amazing people I have met. I hope you enjoy the rest of the chapters. I have a publisher for the book but it will likely be a year before I finish it and it is avaible. Let me know what you think of the other chapters.

  3. Joe

    I just wanted to let you know that even though I know these guys and know their stories you have really brought them to life for me . I just have to say wow , I can not wait to read the rest of the story and be a part of God’s unfolding plan. Well done.


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