With the busyness of the holiday season behind us, I want to encourage us to stop and reflect. Many of us move at light speed with our New Year’s resolutions. So, do this reflection in order to not lose sight of the implications of the Christmas story. In particular, let’s reflect on the advent of Jesus, as recorded in John’s gospel 1:14 where it says “he came to dwell among us”. Jesus intentionally enters human history and re-introduces the concept of shalom. Shalom can best be described as the idea of justice and peace. It is justice and peace which encompasses the reality of restoration and reconciliation of humanity. Underpinning this radical theory of shalom is love, which binds all these together for true transformation.
Healthy neighborhoods foster and create a sense of community. These neighborhoods utilize the skills and assets of those that are a part of them. Our goal at ENP is to be a part of creating and supporting healthier neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, many neighborhoods in our city are not healthy. People and institutions are disconnected and distrustful of each other. Relationships become transactional instead of transformational.
As we seek to serve others in the city and be a part of neighborhood transformation, we realize that we need to build a new form of community. Communities that can combat the complex problems that affect our neighborhoods.
This idea is most easily understood through an example:
Say your church begins serving in a neighborhood and you realize that access to food there is an issue. So you start a food pantry. The church is very excited about this, and many members drop off food to pass out. Several members even volunteer to lead the pantry. But, since you are holistically minded, as you begin the project you open your eyes, start asking questions, and thru listening to others, you realize that…
There is a growing movement across our nation to something that is both incredibly simple yet extremely difficult. Loving Your Neighbor.
It is one of the two key commands Jesus gave, but in our mobile 21st-century context we have lost the art of loving (or even knowing) our literal next door neighbors. God has uniquely created you and placed you to be His connection to a disconnected world. You are sent by God to be a light to your neighbors.
Several local churches have created resources that they want to make available to you to help make this happen!
andrewfeilLoving Your Neighbor – 2 Free Resources!
Have you ever had a feeling that you’re being called to something? Something that might be beneficial (for you, for your community, for your family, for God’s Kingdom, etc.), but something that might be challenging, time-consuming or daunting?
About two months ago, my husband and I relocated from North Fresno into the Jackson Neighborhood. My new neighborhood is not as “desirable”, by most standards, as my previous neighborhood. If you had told me a few years ago that I’d make that move, I’d have said “Sorry, I think you have the wrong person.”
Becca GottseligGod’s Calling… Reasons and Encouragement to Answer
Since 1982, the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) has been bringing victims, offenders, and involved community members face-to-face to restore wholeness to those affected by crime. Through our restorative justice process, the injustice is recognized and made as right as possible, trust is rebuilt, and the relationship restored. The process holds offenders accountable for their actions, providing them an opportunity to hear how their actions affected others. It also empowers victims, offering them a voice as the parties decide how the offender can rebuild trust, restore equity, and implement necessary changes to ensure a better future. Once the parties reach an agreement, mediators follow up with victims and offenders to confirm that the agreement has been met to the victim’s satisfaction.
Grace SpencerConflict Resolution and Restorative Justice: A Vital Skill for City Work
Every once and awhile we want to send you out from the ENP Blog for something that is not only really good but someone we think you can continue to learn from. Ed Stetzer’s piece on outreach is one of those articles. Ed is a writer, pastor, and missiologist. His writings have greatly influenced our work. Please check out one of his recent posts.
As the mission field changes, churches will change. | ED STETZER
I frequently get asked about the future of outreach. Let me be honest, and perhaps you already know this: outreach will not get any easier.
Let me share at least three reasons why I believe this is the case.
First, our culture will continue to experience a decrease in nominal …