“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”
As Christians, we know that the harvest is plentiful and the need for ministry is evident. There are so many people in our paths that are hungry for God’s word and so many in need of His love and mercy. We, as the Nehemiah Center, answer the call to join God’s redemptive work in Nicaragua and we have seen His faithfulness in over 20 plus years of fruitful ministry. Yet, this does not make us immune to the obstacles of everyday life, of changing circumstances, and curveballs like the COVID 19 pandemic. It is therefore our job, especially as leaders in ministry, to continue walking with the Lord and trusting that He will bring us through and help us to adjust our ministry to best serve the community and context around us. It can feel daunting to walk into this and at moments seem like starting back at square one.
Yet, the Nehemiah Center has boldly and faithfully taken this step to evaluate our initiatives and reform our ministry to navigate changes and continually trust God’s guidance to lead us forward. In an intentional process of discernment, the leadership team began with a devotional to center the process on listening to the voice of God. This approach models the attitude of Christ who went to His father in all circumstances and taught us to do the same. Prayer surrounded this process and allowed the leadership team to hear God’s desire for His people in Nicaragua and to hear how He is active and directing our next steps.
The second critical step in this process for our team was to answer a series of questions to grasp an accurate understanding of our context in ministry and be able to articulate our role and goals in witnessing transformation. This analysis allowed the team to identify demographic and systematic factors such as the church’s position in society, and cultural/societal trends which helps inform us on who we serve and how we should best serve them. Additionally, this reveals both the assets and needs of our context and allows us to form a mutual relationship. The Nehemiah Center recognizes that our ministry is blessed by what the pastors, youth and ministry partners offer us as well as our ability to help them serve well. This is especially relevant as The Nehemiah Center serves those locally in Nicaragua but also fosters cross cultural relationships with North American supporters. As a ‘bridge’ ministry, there is value in having the opportunity to both learn from and offer help for others.
After gaining a clearer understanding of who we serve and what both we and our partners bring to the table, we entered the creative or innovative stage. Innovation, championed much in the business sector, can sometimes be harder to adopt in a ministry setting. The work of ministry can at times be so taxing that the sole desire to keep up with tasks can become a barrier in fully exploring creative and new ways to serve those around us. Yet, this was an important challenge to the leadership team in imagining what God could do through the Nehemiah Center and for those we serve. The team was able to think of both simple adjustments and about the possibility of new and bigger opportunities.
From the ideas generated in the innovation lab, the leadership team began to sift and plan for concrete, achievable next steps while maintaining the posture to continually evaluate, reform, and discern what God is calling the Nehemiah Center to. This was such an encouragement to remember that the Lord has both called and equipped His people to serve Him and join in His redemptive work on earth. The leadership team left excited to continue in the transformation of Nicaragua and rejuvenated to place projects and programs on the calendar.
The Nehemiah Center’s process of discernment and evaluation of ministry moving forward is a posture important in missions and at the organizational level but it also reflects the importance of reformation in our own faith. This reformation is a combination of celebrating God’s faithfulness and a challenge to grow in creativity and understand that God is so much more than we can even fathom. He also is able and desires to do so much more than we can ask or imagine. Let us approach our faith with the gratitude of how far we have come, with humility and the desire to continually grow and be transformed, and finally with open hearts and minds to display the creativity of Christ and His power to prepare and enable us to serve Him well where He has called us.