The Nathaniel Mission has enjoyed a fruitful and blessed year in 2016. From continuing ministries of support and assistance to the poor and homeless of Lexington to transitions in leadership and initiatives which have led to new opportunities and endeavors, God’s has faithfully provided sufficient grace for every need. The following report will briefly summarize the Mission’s activities and statistics for 2016, as well as illuminate some of the Mission’s goals and objectives for the coming year.
The 2016 Year in Review
The Nathaniel Mission continues to place emphasis on helping those on the margins of urban Lexington find assistance in meeting foundational needs. From feeding programs to health clinics, the goal of the Mission in 2016 was to see lives changed through relational support efforts. The following list are a glimpse into the regularly offered programs and ministries aimed at achieving that goal:
Free, Full Meals – Sunday breakfast, Sunday dinner, Wednesday dinner, Monday-Thursday lunches (January-June 2016). Attendance averages are roughly 110 at breakfast, 60 at lunches, and 85 at dinner, with over 14,000 meals served YTD.
The Mission Market – food pantry and household items open Tuesday-Thursday weekly, serving over 4,000 individuals YTD.
Clothes Closet – fully stocked offerings for children and adults with over 2,000 items and over 5,500 individuals served YTD.
Emergency Assistance – financial aid aimed at alleviating utility and housing debt with 63 individuals served YTD.
Social Work Assistance – support services offered to clients of the Mission ranging from food security to housing assistance.
Vision Clinic – eye exams, glasses, and optometry services offered over 6 times a month with over 360 individuals served YTD.
Podiatry Clinic – exams and services offered monthly, including free specialized shoes and inserts for individuals with critical needs, serving over 50 individuals YTD.
Diabetes Classes – informational sessions with training on testing and free equipment, serving 82 individuals YTD.
Nutritional Classes – lab-style sessions with education and hands-on learning offering assistance in meal-planning, dietary restrictions, and healthy cooking equipment, serving 77 individuals YTD.
Spiritual Growth Opportunities – bible studies, worship events, and other spiritual wellness offerings aimed at holistic care for clients of the Mission
Holiday Events – Thanksgiving meal, Christmas gift assistance and giveaways, and other special offerings throughout the year for fellowship and celebration
The 2017 Year Ahead
The Nathaniel Mission is preparing for a major realignment of its resources and efforts in 2017. In July of 2016, the Mission hired a new Executive Director, Rev. Dan Baer, who also serves as Lead Pastor of Hope Springs Church (UMC), a partner in ministry to clients of the Mission. In addition to Rev. Baer, Dr. Harvey Cozart was hired as Director of Operations. This new model of leadership has allowed the Mission to expand its thinking in regard to how it serves its clients moving forward.
As a part of the realignment, the Nathaniel Mission has settled on employing Isaiah 58 as a foundational text for its future ministry. In the selected passage, God’s clear call is to three essential tasks: invest, restore, and transform. These three guiding principles are the plumb line by which the Mission is evaluating its current ministries and future programs. As the Mission seeks to invest in the lives of those in need, restore their dignity and humanity, and transform our communities, we ask for your prayerful support in discerning the specific application of those principles in the season ahead.
As the Mission continues to maintain its focus on assisting the needy in Lexington through investment, restoration, and transformation, we have identified three primary areas of focus for our ministries and programs moving forward:
Poverty Intervention and Prevention
The Mission will continue to offer assistance in regard to meeting basic needs including food, clothing, and shelter.
The Mission will strive to establish new ministries aimed at offering a “hand up” in addition to these “hand out” programs, including literacy classes, GED completion programs, job and skill training seminars, partnerships with hiring agencies, budgeting workshops, and other opportunities.
Health and Wellness Initiatives
The Mission will continue to offer vision, podiatry, diabetes, and nutritional assistance to those underserved or without health care providers.
The Mission will place a greater emphasis on frequency of offering these programs, as well as establishing new health and wellness offerings including smoking cessation, exercise, and mental health classes.
The Mission will also set a higher standard of healthy meal preparation and nutritional offerings at all of our free meal and feeding programs.
Children and Youth Development and Outreach
The Mission is preparing to revive a cornerstone ministry focus in children and youth development that was once a central aspect of the Mission’s operations.
Programs and ministries in development include After-School Tutoring and Character Development, Summer Feeding and Educational Services, Community and Leadership Development Groups, Mentoring Partnerships, and Homeless Student Care Assistance.
The establishing of excellent programs that offer holistic growth and advancement opportunities for the children and youth of Lexington is a critical goal the Mission has set for itself in 2017 and beyond.