Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Students of the Neighborhood

This past Sunday night's worship gathering stirred up both hope and conviction within me.  We laid out a large piece of cardboard and drew out the grid of our neighborhood, Golden Hill.  This neighborhood represents the unique soil in which we have been called to be a community that reflects and embodies the Good News of Jesus.

As we began to each draw out places of significance (neighbors homes, the community center, half-way homes, corners where our homeless friends live, etc...) we could begin to get a glimpse at what God is already doing in this neighborhood.  It was a beautiful practice of celebrating the faithful work of God and his acknowledgement of the Thin Places - places where heaven and earth are only thinly separated.

Further, it was seeing all of our neighborhood, even the places that we often overlook, as places that have potential to reflect the goodness of God's Kingdom.  While God's good work is unfolding in Golden Hill, his dreams for this place and its inhabitants are only just beginning.

May we, God's People, not be paralyzed by the pain, brokenness, segregation, hopelessness and poverty that surround us.  Instead, may we take on new eyes...eyes that see reconciliation, restoration and redemption as a tangible reality we are called to represent in every interaction of everyday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mentoring and Sending: What It's All About

This is a beautiful story written by one of our fellow Nieucommunities' staff down here in Golden Hill, Matt Chapman. It is these stories of radical transformation in the lives of local leaders that affirm time and time again the role God has called us into with Nieucommunities.

Well worth the read. (Click HERE to read)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walking Alongside Leaders in the Neighborhood

This is an exciting season for our NC team down here in San Diego. As a result of deep engagement in the relational fabric of our neighborhood we are seeing new faces exposed to the radical call of following Jesus and its implications for their role on mission.

Life Compass is one of the main tools we use in NieuCommunities to develop leaders for the Kingdom. It is a process that explores spiritual gifts, passions, skills and seeks to align them with one's specific role in advancing God's Mission. It has been radically transformative as it has given many of our leaders and apprentices the clarity and conviction to be released on mission out of their unique gifts and calling.

We are thrilled that our living rooms are now full of not only our current apprentices, but local leaders from our neighborhood who are seeking to more faithfully follow Jesus and advance his Kingdom. Not only do we host a weekly training, but each participant is being personally coached through the process by one of our staff.

There is something very tangible about offering these relationships and tools to our neighborhoods. I believe this is one clear way we are seeking and succeeding at being Good News in the neighborhood. We pray that these leaders will be developed in a way that the Church extends to bring about God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NieuCommunities Nieghborhood Christmas Party

Hey friends,

Here is a post a just wrote on my personal blog about the dynamic ways God's Story is unfolding in our neighborhood as was experienced at our NieuCommunities' Christmas party a few weeks ago.

Happy New Year! jon, jan and ruby

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mentoring Teenagers Through Shared Life

While I worked at the Golden Hill Farmer's Market this morning (which has become an incredible context for building new and deeper relationships), Janny hosted a house of teenage girls for brunch. Along with 4 other women from NieuCommunities, Janny has committed to mentoring local teenage girls through a program called Uplift in our neighborhood. Most of the teenagers are low income, come from broken homes and some live in local homeless shelters.

It has been an amazing experience to hear stories of these teenagers being invited into the lives of women who deeply care about them and whose examples are introducing these girls to Jesus for the first time.

I'm so proud of Janny, her huge heart and her endless pursuit of loving those who otherwise wouldn't get to experience it.

These relationships not only reflect central values to our NC apprenticeship, but continue to remind us that God's Kingdom is being made real all around us...and often in the places and lives of the most unexpected.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quick Prayer Request: Envisioning Retreat

We are headed out the door on the way to Mexico for a NieuCommunities weekend Envisioning Retreat and felt especially compelled to seek your prayer support during this time.

NieuCommunities is at a very exciting place in our corporate ministry internationally and specifically in our site here in San Diego. We currently have seen much fruit and life transformation come as a result of our role in creating a place (through our intensive 1-2 year Apprenticeship) for young leaders to navigate/discern their calling and Kingdom contributions. A few things have come up (all good things!) at this stage in NC San Diego:

1. There are a significant number of young leaders who have completed our NC apprenticeship that feel called to start or partner in starting other ministries similar to what we are doing with NieuCommunities (Spiritual Formation and Missional Life).

2. We are having to frequently turn people down who would like to move to San Diego and go through our Apprentice/Formation process because we are currently at our maximum capacity. This is also true of our other sites in Vancouver and South Africa.

3. Our NieuCommunities founder and SD Site Directors, Rob and Lauri Yackley, are taking a 6 month sabbatical starting in January after 27 years as missionaries. This will create a need for restructuring some of our leadership dynamics.

All that being said, we leave for our retreat this weekend with hope, excitement and a divine curiosity at what God might have in store for our SD community and global ministry. We need the Spirit's presence to rest upon us this weekend as we fervently listen and seek discernment in the road ahead.

Although NC hosts an apprenticeship process, we all understand our primary vocation as being apprentices of Jesus. An apprentice is one that not only knows the ways of their teacher, but one who faithfully steps into those ways. May we step faithfully into the ways our Teacher has in store for our future.

Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Love, jon, jan and ruby