To Our Valued Friends,
The Nathaniel Mission has long enjoyed a legacy of love, support, and transformative engagement with our Lexington neighbors in need. From its inception the Nathaniel Mission has sought to bring the Kingdom of God to life in the midst of areas of the city often overlooked and neglected. For much of our journey, that involvement centered nearly exclusively on the Davis Bottom neighborhood. Our ministry and engagement took on a specific shape to match the specific needs of our neighbors in that community. We enjoyed the opportunity to match our resources, time and finances generously given by people like yourself, with the critical gaps in services rendered in our neighborhood.
In time, the landscape of our ministry involvement begand to shift, and roughly 10 years ago it did so in seismic proportion. The City of Lexington purchased the land upon which Davis Bottom was situated, and over several years the neighborhood was disolved. Just over 3 years ago, The Nathaniel Mission Board unanimously made the hard choice to leave our old building on DeRoode Street in Davis Bottom in order to begin a new chapter of our story. We outfitted a warehouse on Versailles Road to continue our work amongst those in need on the west side of Lexington. This conscious decision was motivated by one central vision: to continue to be a vibrant expression of the Kingdom of God alongside those who are in greatest need.
While a change in address occurred, little else shifted about the Nathaniel Mission during this move. Though these past three years have been marked by some transitions, much of our existing ministries have still looked like what they did in Davis Bottom. Our central goal has remained the same and our hearts for our new neighbors are still grounded in love, support, and care. However, as we have discovered over these significant years of shifting landscape, the needs of the communities in which we find ourselves now are not always the same as the ones we served in the past. Our great desire is that the shape of our engagement with our neighbors would match those areas of greatest need. In order to do that well however, we must know our neighbors and neighborhoods!
When Joshua and the Israelite community transitioned from the places they knew well into a new land, he sent members of his council into those “new neighborhoods” to scout out the landscape and understand with clear and thorough study the place that stood before him. The Nathaniel Mission has made the strategic choice to do just this: to spend an intentional period of time studying with a critical eye the needs of our new communities – Cardinal Valley, Speigle Heights, Bennett Ave, and portions of the west side of Downtown Lexington. These are the neighborhoods that not only geograpically surround our facility but are also some of the most criticially underserved communities in Lexington.
Our hope is simple – to know through research, study, conversation, and forged partnerships the exact landscape we find ourselves in today. As we map our communities, identify gaps in services, and name needs that are consistently evident in these neighborhoods, The Nathaniel Mission will be better equipped with the knowledge necessary to continue our long-standing work of transforming the city of Lexington through the work of Christ.
You will certianly hear more about this work of study and reflection in the season to come as our day-to-day efforts at the Mission are shifting to match this strategic vision. While some services may take a temporary hiatus to free staff time and resources for this work, we want to assure you that the overwhelming majority of services rendered will remain the same. Our neighbors will still be attended to physically, emotionally, and spiritually - with great care and generosity. We also believe our hope will soon be realized as these same neighbors and many more find that the Mission’s efforts and services are even more effective in the season to come at transforming their lives through the power and grace of God.
We covet your prayers during this important season. Pray that God would open doors to informative conversations and new partnerships. Pray that the information and data we gather would point us clearly in the direction that God would have us take. Most importantly, pray with joy and expectancy that the fruitfulness of our collective effort in our communities would be to God’s glory and the transformation of our people.
Much more will be said and done in the seasons to come. We will do our best to keep you abreast of further information. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or to let us know you’d be interested in getting involved in the process. As always, thank you so very much for your partnership in the work of The Nathaniel Mission!
Blessings to you and yours,
Lexington District Superintendent
Dr. Jim Holsinger