In May of 2016 I was hired as the Church Relations Coordinator for Fresno City Fest through the Luis Palau Association. When I interviewed for the position I didn’t know how impacted I would be by this great opportunity.
My task seemed simple: “go and talk with churches.” I had been in ministry for over eight years. Go and talk with other people in ministry? I said to myself, “how hard can it be?”
Javier GarzaWhat I Learned While Connecting Churches in Fresno/Clovis
The past few months have been an intense time of service in our city. If you had a chance to readour recent newsletteryou saw the numbers: 42 churches, 2,500 volunteers, 19,000 volunteer hours. It’s very evident that the people of Fresno and Clovis have the heart to love and serve our city. But why do people volunteer?
One of the greatest joys of being a part of Every Neighborhood Partnership is the opportunity I have to meet some amazing people. I would like to introduce you to Kristin, a high school student who is giving back and inviting her friends and classmates at Bullard High to do the same!
If there is anything that has become apparent in the latest national and political season, it is that we are a divided nation, politically and racially.
If you don’t trust me, just get on Facebook. Geez. The infighting, the name-calling – the distrust is clear. How are we supposed to change our neighborhood, city, nation or world if we think everyone else is the problem?
As we look for solutions, you would think the church of Jesus Christ would be an example of civility and unity, but sadly it isn’t.
Recent research shows 86% of congregations are made up of one predominant racial group. That may not be surprising, but what was to me is that most churchgoers were content with the ethnic status quo in an increasingly diverse world. We are fine being with people who are like us and who like us.
andrewfeilUs vs. Them: The Need for Unity in the Church
You have probably heard the short catchphrase, “Bloom where you are planted!” The phrase is meant to encourage us to dig deep into the areas where we live, work and play. But have we ever stopped to question the premise? Have we ever asked ourselves, “Where should I plant myself?”
andrewfeilBloom Where You’re Planted – Or Maybe Uproot Yourself
When people ask me where I am from, I pause, unsure which place I would call home. I have moved enough times that I have never felt rooted, and I have come to be content, enjoying my own company and taking comfort in God’s permanence. Before my internship at ENP, I would have said that I would leave the Central Valley as soon as I graduated from Fresno State. I have grown comfortable in my transience; getting involved in many different things, meeting many different people, and looking forward to my next change. I have grown to fear commitment.
We made it to the end of another school year! Phew!
Summer is always a good time for me to PAUSE (and rest), REFLECT (and evaluate) PLAN (and dream for the year ahead).At the end of the school year I am always ready for a little break. But it didn’t take long for God to remind me that He does NOT take a summer vacation and is still prompting my heart.
poner mi granito de arena . . . . . contribute my grain of sand . . . . . . . . . . . .
As a high school student in my hometown of Madera, I began to participate in my community. I volunteered with various nonprofits, particularly those that engaged with immigrant and farm working families. I had a heart for people, and discovered my passion for serving.
“This is so much fun!” I cherish those words I heard from students on my first day as a volunteer at Ericson Saturday Sports!
ENP’s mission is to “to connect churches and community partners to elementary schools and to equip them to serve through their active presence in every neighborhood.” What it boils down to is being a better neighbor.
So much ink has been spilled recently around the racial tension that has been swamping our nation. This is politically and theologically charged stuff. I do not write this thinking I will convince you of anything, but to just share how I came to a paradigm-shifting idea of my own privilege and what it means to live and love like Jesus.