21-hauntingly-beautiful-photos-of-deserted-shopping-mallsIt’s not what you think. I met a friend at a local mall the other day. He lives quite a distance away and we were going a meeting together. I suggested it as sort of a half way point, though I haven’t been there in years. I arrived a little early and decided to go in and have a quick look around. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. It was nearly empty. Most of the shops were gone. It’s happening everywhere. That vast bastion of capitalism, the local mall, is dying, replaced by Amazon and eBay and a bunch of other stuff. It’s kind of sad really but there is something sadder.

At the same time these huge properties are sitting empty, many people are out of work, cities are falling apart, we’re in a general mess. What would happen if one could help the other? After all, we’re all about creative solutions here. What if, rather than letting these massive structures rot or meet the wrecking ball, wasting tons of resources, someone got innovative? What if we turned these spaces into business incubators? What is we somehow offered these spaces for rent to entrepreneurs who have a vision for creating jobs, and helping people out. What if we partnered with them, giving lowered rents in exchange for a percentage of profits? What if we helped people to make their dreams come true? What if we offered more hand-ups and less hand-outs? What if, rather than lamenting the way things are, we began to imagine a better world and began to do the work of making it happen?Abandoned-Malls-02-685x454

I know there are many problems to be overcome in an idea like this. I know, often the owners of these spaces would rather let the spaces rot than take less money for their space, (trying to start a storefront church years ago opened my eyes to this reality) but surely there is someone out there with enough vision to see the possibilities of such a venture.

Imagine walking into a converted mall, filled with artisans and entrepreneurs working to make the world a better place, a culture and arts venue, people turning mom’s best recipe into a household name, people meeting needs, a place where people were creating beauty, educating children, and in the process making their dreams come true. Can I stack one more thing on top of this. What if the people to take this on, were a church? Worshipping in part, serving others in the rest, glorifying God in the whole thing.

I would love to be part of a project like this. Who’s with me?

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