Starting a new ministry focusing on cities is somewhat like coming to the edge of a dark forest not knowing quite where to enter the woods. However, over the past couple of months, we've found a path and feel more confident in the direction we are heading. This has been facilitated by much listening, learning, and networking.
Recently, I (Jon) had the privilege of attending a summit in Chicago focusing on the integration of faith and work. The theme was “Further Up and Further In” where roughly 400 people, representing various organizations, seminaries, and companies from around the globe, were in attendance seeking better ways to practice the ways of Jesus in the marketplace. It was a fascinating experience.
I met Ed Moy, who worked for the U.S. Mint under George W. Bush and Barak Obama and heard his story of what it was like to be at the table when the economy crashed in 2008. I attended a seminar by Dave Evans, the co-founder of EA Sports, who has taught courses at Berkeley and Stanford helping students (and anyone really) use design thinking to discern vocation and calling. I learned more about the needs of emerging adults and their tendency to embrace moralistic therapeutic deism: a framework of belief where the central goal is to be happy and feel good and only turn to God in times of crisis. There were countless other conversations and meetings that, if anything, confirmed the direction we are taking in ministry.
There are a lot of buzzwords out there today studying the trends of current generations (Gen Y, Z, Millennials) and what the needs are of emerging adults. The more we learn about how to best serve and minister to young professionals in the marketplace, the more we discover how the sacred/secular divide is hindering Jesus followers from living more integrated lives where the gospel influences all of life, both material and spiritual. In his seminar, Dave Evans stated, “There is no secular world, just uninformed people thinking insufficiently about reality within the kingdom of God”. Theologian Abraham Kuyper is famous for saying, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
David writes in Psalm 24, "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."
One model that has been successful in correcting this sacred/secular divide in the marketplace are fellowship programs, which are 9-month learning communities focused on whole life discipleship. One of the longest-running fellows programs is the Gotham Fellowship in New York City (see video below for more info). There are a few expressions of these fellows programs in San Diego, but not nearly enough to meet the need or demand. Please continue to pray for us as we learn more about the various expressions of these programs. Our aim, God willing, is to potentially launch our own fellowship program early next summer.