So far in this little series, we've talked about a new home (which is a continuing saga/drama that we STILL haven't started working on!!! Argh) and then we talked about a new baby on the way. . . But that is not all my friends, oh no, that is not all.
Because like I mentioned, we're apparently all about "go big or go home" (aka we're a little crazy), we are ALSO in the process of starting a brand new ministry. The past few weeks, months even, have been a roller-coaster for us. With lots of exciting changes and shifts on the horizon, we have been seeking the Lord, spending a lot of time in prayer, doing research, talking to those who are much wiser than us, and trying really hard to be patient. We have discovered through the process of working with families in the inner-city over the past few years that the depth of their needs, and the heart of the problems plaguing our city, are much deeper and harder to overcome than can be transformed without a drastic shift.
As we prepare to move into the city, we've experience a new desire and a new framework for the way we are viewing our mentoring ministry. “Living the gospel means desiring for your neighbor and your neighbor’s family that which you desire for yourself and your family. Living the gospel means bettering the quality of other people’s lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as you better your own. Living the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others” (CCDA).
With this move comes a shift in the way we see ourselves doing ministry. And so it is with much excitement, fear, trepidation, and anticipation (because aren’t our emotions always a little complicated?) that we announce our decision to leave Vision Atlanta and start our own 501c3 (non-profit), called Blueprint 58. Our goal in what we’re doing with Blueprint 58 is identical to what it was at Vision Atlanta: to start a mentoring program. Some of the implementation will look a little different since we are working from within the neighborhood to transform it. We’ve changed some of our philosophies of ministry as we have experienced first-hand the depth of need and the tangles of darkness which have taken root in the city. With Atlanta being the #1 city in the nation for sex trafficking, and our new neighborhood specifically being labeled the 22nd most dangerous neighborhood in the nation, we recognize that we will have to implement a ministry that is sensitive to these needs and holistic in its approach. We firmly believe that transformation best occurs in the context of relationship, and that’s why mentoring is the foundation of our program.
We have realized that there is some confusion regarding our decision to leave Vision Atlanta, and we really don't intend for that to be the case, so allow me to try and explain it for you quickly (ha! As if I ever explain anything quickly and concisely). We still believe in and love Vision Atlanta and Camp 100%. I'm serious about that. We are committed to working for camp this summer for sure, and our new ministry has nothing to do with a falling out or anything negative at all related to Vision Atlanta. We just feel strongly called to mentoring as the best way to carry out long-term transformation. We see kids make amazing decisions at camp to follow Christ. But then they have to go back into these terrible environments where they are unsure what that decision means, and they have no model to follow as to what a "Christian" even looks like, or how Christ can transform their life in practical ways. That said, we feel personally called to set up a mentoring ministry as the best way to help them live out their faith. However, because Camp Grace is still in the process of being built (meaning they are still having to raise millions of dollars to build awesome things like a gym and dining hall and to finish the cabins . . . ), Vision Atlanta realized they were not in a position as a ministry to devote time and resources to also developing a mentoring ministry in addition to their current camp ministry. And because we feel called to mentoring, we mutually decided that the best course for us to take was to start our own ministry built on a foundation of mentoring.
I hope that clears up some of your questions. However, I know that I've also opened the door to ALL sorts of questions. What exactly does "mentoring" mean? Where will the kids come from? What else will you do? How are you going to raise money? And so on and so forth. . . We want to do our best to answer any and all of the questions you might have. For now, I have put up a quick website (seriously, it's bare bones right now) at Blueprint58.org where we answer some FAQs and also have links to email addresses and phone numbers where you can contact us if you have more questions. And just to warn you, we're a little passionate about all this . . . so if you ask, we can't promise we wont talk your ear off about it.
We have a lawyer getting us all set up as a legitimate non-profit, meaning any donations will be tax-deductible etc. All that to say, PLEASE feel free to contact me (Becca1612 at hotmail dot com) with any questions you might have regarding the ministry’s structure, budget, goals, board, etc. In addition, if there is anyone else you feel might be interested in the work we are doing, or who should be a part of our support team, please let us know and we would love to talk to them too.
Thank you so much for your continual love and support and encouragement. We genuinely could not do what we are doing without you guys. We are continually blown away by the way you allow yourselves to be used by the Lord to provide for our ministry and transform the inner-city.
Thank-you from the bottom of our hearts. Oh and wish us luck and pray for us -- because a new home, new baby, and new ministry? Straight crazy I tell you. And if we weren't so sure of our calling from the Lord in this, I would be a little worried about our sanity!