It’s kind of fitting that we have this blog – the whole reason we created this space is because back in 2008 God had brought us to a place of saying “yes.” God had presented us with an opportunity to go to Nepal in late April of 2008, and in late July we were on our way to a foreign country unlike anything we’d ever experienced. Unbeknownst to us this would be more than a trip to Nepal, it would be a starting point in many ways, down a road that would lead us to a life on mission. 4 years later we are at a transition point in our lives. We sense God calling us to minister as missionaries. We are preparing to join NieuCommunities down in San Diego to grow, to develop, and prepare for ministry overseas. God has brought us a long way.
The past five years have been especially exciting for us! I’ve graduated from Corban University School of Ministry with a Masters of Divinity, while Jenifer taught Kindergarten and 2nd grade in the Tacoma Public School District. All the while both of us served in various roles at our church; I as Pastor of Ministry and Discipleship and Jenifer as Children’s Ministry Director. It has been a period of much growth and stretching as well as preparation, capped off by the birth of our first child, Emerson this past April!! When we look back at this past season in our lives we are overwhelmed by God’s provision and faithfulness in our lives.
As God developed us and prepared us for this next phase in our lives one thing both Jenifer and I became increasingly more aware of is the reality that more than half of all Christian teens and twentysomethings leave active involvement in church. The reality is that today more than ever there is an urgent need for young leaders to be raised up and trained to impact their world for Jesus. That’s where NieuCommunities comes in.
Through much prayer and exploration God directed us to a mission organization called Church Resource Ministries. This organization’s mission is to develop leaders who will strengthen and multiply the Church around the world. As both Jenifer and I have developed as leaders over the past five years at our home church CenterPoint, God has really impassioned us to develop young leaders who will go on to lead churches and communities all around the world. NieuCommunities is one of many ministries under the CRM umbrella. NieuCommunities is a collection of mentoring and sending communities, exclusively focused on the development of younger leaders and communities. The whole purpose of NieuCommunities is to train leaders who hunger to bring the gospel to their communities and beyond. These young people need someone to invest in them and help them step into their God-given calling. We will have the opportunity to come alongside these potential leaders in order that they might be sent out to minister with depth, wholeness, and power.
The next step in that process for us to go on staff with CRM is to enter into what they call an apprenticeship. This apprenticeship is a year long process of learning, serving, and being stretched so as to be prepared to eventually lead our own Community. It begins in October and it takes place in San Diego, which means we will head down there in September. There we will be personally mentored, trained and developed as a Nieucommunity leader as well as have multiple opportunities to serve within our community. The community we will live in in San Diego is shaped by many elements: a vibrant arts culture, a transient military population, large refugee neighborhoods from all over the world, a large homeless and recovering addict-community, and a rich heritage of those who represent several generations of life. Needless to say there are many ways we can serve our community throughout the time of training and learning there. This will give us a very thorough understanding and preparation for future ministry overseas with Nieucommunities, as part of the training is to discover where God has specifically gifted us and where we can best put those giftings to use. Through much prayer and many discussions with CenterPoint leadership, our friends, and families, we feel this is the next step that we need to take.
And so we look back with great joy and thankful hearts for how God has used these past few years to shape us for ministry and we look forward with great eagerness and anticipation to see how God will use us and continue to grow us so that we may be faithful to what he is called us to. This morning I was reading through Matthew and was reminded yet again of what God has called each one of us to:
“’You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’” (Mt 5:13–16)
May that ring true of us – wherever we find ourselves.