“SURELY WE CAN CHANGE SOMETHING…
To participate in the Story of God is to be God’s redemptive act in creation. We must endeavor to discern what it means and looks like to love our neighbors and to manage this good earth that we have been entrusted. WE MUST LIVE DECISIVELY” (David Crowder).
My Dear Community of Family and Friends,
The above quote by David Crowder has wrecked my life! Last fall I found myself waiting in a concert line outside the House of Blues Anaheim with hundreds of others, anticipating singing a few familiar songs, when I was handed a piece of paper describing a small redemptive effort Crowder and his band was attempting throughout the course of their tour, seeking to collect towels and socks for local homeless shelters in every city in which they played. Stopped cold by the vision that gatherings of Christians should result in the forgotten and broken being touched with loving care, they sought to do something now beyond playing concerts. My heart had been rumbling and restless for months, and this idea penetrated the soil that God had been softening for months, crystallizing the call that He had been whispering in my heart for years: It’s time to leap, Chris. You were made for more than this. My world is huge, and so is your heart. What if the two were joined together?
Fast forward a year, and my story is this: I have just turned 29(!), am graduating in December 2008 with a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from seminary, have served as a Chaplain (Think Youth Pastor + Counselor) at Eastside Christian High School and Junior High in Fullerton for over four years, and am single with precious little debt to my name. I can speak Spanish almost-fluently, and have always come alive in cross-cultural contexts where the world’s need and my gifts and passions can merge together. I have a growing heart to use my training and experience in spiritual formation to come alongside national leaders in the global church and help them open to God’s work and development in their own life, and in the life of the church and city in which they live. Again, simply put: It is time for me to step outward, desiring to live a life of formation and growth in Jesus Christ amongst a community of missional servant-leaders, to bless the world that I live in.
Enter NieuCommunities (www.nieucommunities.org). NieuCommunities is a small network of missional communities scattered around the world who are committed to developing followers of God in the way of Jesus. Their purpose is primarily fulfilled through a 42-week missional apprenticeship year which is marked by intense focus and growth in communion with God, community through shared life with others, and intentional engagement in our neighborhoods, out of which flows a natural rhythm of mission and service with others. The outcome of this year is both simple and complex: To posture myself in a new environment for the purpose of being developed as a young, emerging leader for the benefit of the church and world. I have been accepted as an apprentice for the 2009 year (February—November) in Pretoria, South Africa! I find myself deeply anticipating all that God will do through this experience in my own continued development as a follower of God, and yet also sense that this year is an on-ramp to a much greater season of life in service and mission.
Much more should be said, but I’ll keep this succinct. My need to participate in NieuCommunities is significant, as I have the privilege of standing on your support, both financial and through prayer. I need to raise just over $22,000 for this 11-month experience. I am prayerfully looking for at least 10 monthly donors of $100, 7 monthly donors of $75, and 10 monthly donors of $50. Would you consider supporting me in this mission? In a future post you will find details as to how to support me. Please complete these simple steps and give me the honor of connecting with you on a more personal level. I greatly look forward to our future conversation. Thank you sincerely—you have shaped and readied me for this adventure!