Friends & fam …
Dara and I are twenty-one years into our calling to choose Jesus and share his love with others. As you’ll read in this update, God is still captivating our hearts and imagination.
Thanks to everyone who has supported our ministry over the years. We have seen God do some amazing things this year and we continue to take some big steps of faith. We are learning so much in this season. The Neighborliness Center and Winston Salem Community Church are the fifth and sixth nonprofit organizations that we have started in the last fifteen years.
God is using this season to show me that he will never stop asking us to take steps of faith in order to bring beautiful things into this world. This includes putting ourselves in positions that feel uncertain and, at times, pretty scary. But we know God is faithful and we are seeing amazing fruit in this season.
Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and support. I hope you’ll be encouraged by this update.
THE NEIGHBORLINESS CENTER
We took a huge step of faith in August to bring on Chris Ramos as the president of The Neighborliness Center. He brings a unique skill set to our team that will allow me to shift into the role of Founder & CEO. I will be focusing on speaking, teaching, writing and spreading the message of neighborliness.
Chris comes from The Polis Institute in Orlando, FL – a leading research organization that measures the impact and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. We have developed a three-month strategic planning process for churches, businesses, and organizations to engage their communities (click here to download the Kingdom Come Strategic Plan).We are working with megachurches to church plants across the country, as well as some of the largest networks of pastors in the world.
Locally, we are working on the pilot for our first family-centered program that will give access to tools needed to break the cycle of generational poverty. Click here to learn more about The Neighborliness Center.
WINSTON SALEM COMMUNITY CHURCH
We are laying the foundation for a church that will love and serve our community for generations to come. Dara has been leading the way on all of the day-to-day activities and details of the church and she was recently ordained as a minister. She’s thriving as she continues to express her call to love and serve. A unique element of our community is that we have students from 23 countries who have come to Winston Salem to pursue athletic and educational opportunities. It is our joy to share the simplicity and power of the Gospel week in and week out with these amazing students and families. Click here to read more about WSCC.
SPEAKING, TEACHING, AND WRITING
I have released two books, Neighborliness and Tomorrow & the Days to Come: A Guide for Your First Steps of Faith in the past year. Neighborliness continues to be used as a guide for churches to explore how to embody the presence of Jesus in their community. We developed a FREE Video Group Study that is being used by small groups and teams across the world.
Tomorrow & the Days to Come has become a resource for individuals and churches to help new believers explore their first steps of faith. We are exploring options to translate this resource into various languages. We have priced the book at a level that entire churches and organizations can buy them to teach and train people to walk alongside new believers in their community. We have had bulk orders from church plants to some of the largest churches/nonprofit orgs in the world. All praise to God for the way people are responding to this devotional for new believers. Click here to see more about these books.
I have shifted my speaking schedule to include churches that we are working with to develop strategic plans, conferences, and networks of pastors. The primary season of speaking is geared toward teaching and training pastors and organizational leaders on how to effectively engage their communities.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to teach as an adjunct professor for Southeastern University and SoCal School of Ministry. I keep 1-2 classes per semester on my calendar and it’s a joy to train current and future ministers of the gospel.
Click here to learn more about Docusen Ministries, our nonprofit that covers all of my teaching, speaking, and writing.
Our move to Winston Salem has been amazing for our family. Our children are thriving and God has been so faithful. Max is a sophomore at Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL) studying ministry. Mary is a freshman at Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, CA) studying communications. Jack and Ben are in their junior and freshman years of high school at Winston Salem Christian School and they are finishing up their varsity soccer season (they are on same team, which has been so fun). Dara was recently ordained as a minister and is thriving in her role at the church, while building a strong community of friends here in our new city.
We have an amazing community who share the same passion to serve. However, this season has been filled with questions often associated with starting new things. How does God provide for our family and a growing team? As our ministry scales across the world, we feel the uncertainty of the days ahead. We rarely know the answer to that question, but we are certain that God has called us to take steps of faith to create something new for the kingdom of God.
Please continue to pray with us for God’s provision. If you would like to support our family with a one-time or recurring gift, click here.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2023
- We were awarded a six-figure grant to develop an artificial-turf soccer field on our campus. We will host an after-school program, teaching soccer and literacy to kids in the community surrounding our property. A very public announcement will be coming soon from the granting organization (can’t wait to share this one with you).
- Plans are coming together for the first physical location of The Neighborliness Center. This will be a 50,000 square foot community center that will give families holistic care by offering access to education, employment, healthcare, and housing. We are finalizing architectural renderings and plans for our capital campaign and this will be released in 2024.
- We have welcomed an exchange student, Matteo, to our home for the 2023-2024 school year. He is a joy to have in our home and he has taught us that our version of spaghetti is, “Very good, but not spaghetti.” My prayer is that he would feel the warmth and hospitality of Christ during his time with our family.