To Our Valued Friends,
Over the past several months, The Nathaniel Mission has undergone an intentional season of research, reflection, and discernment. In the Fall of 2017, our Board voted unanimously to thoroughly examine the crossroads of the needs of our communities and the services available to them. We studied the Versailles Road Corridor’s neighborhoods through conversations, interviews, surveys, and data collection. We examined the landscape of services rendered and available not only in those communities, but also those agencies doing excellent work at addressing the needs of various groups of people in urban Lexington. We listened, we prayed, we thought creatively, and we began to organize our efforts for the future.
On January 24th, The Nathaniel Mission Board met to hear the report of our Executive staff on this period of research. The product of their study was the formulation of the 2018 Strategic Vision Plan for The Nathaniel Mission. This plan outlines the clear conclusions that our research and data point to: The Versailles Road Corridor is ripe for Kingdom service. Some of the most underserved and overlooked neighborhoods in Lexington are within walking distance of the Nathaniel Mission. These communities are racially and ethnically diverse, predominantly poverty stricken, and generally lacking in supportive community services.
The Strategic Vision Plan not only outlined for our Board the needs of our communities but also a plan of action for the Nathaniel Mission moving forward. Encouragingly, the central values and passions of the Mission still have the potency to make significant impact in these communities while some of the specifics of programs and ministries may take a shift in design. The Nathaniel Mission Board heartily and unanimously voted in approval of this Strategic Vision Plan, and we would like to share some highlights with you below.
First, The Mission remains committed to its central focus, the same one that began the Mission nearly 80 years ago: Christian Community Development. The same passion of those initial volunteers who caught a glimpse of the heart of God for the underserved remains the same today. By strategically focusing on whole communities and directing our resources to meet the needs of our neighbors in the name of Jesus, The Mission hopes to continue not only the legacy of generations of volunteers and leaders, but also that same legacy of Christ himself who “took up residence” amongst the poor, crippled, lost, and lonely to demonstrate the power of the Kingdom in unlikely places.
Secondly, the Strategic Vision Plan underscores the lasting importance of the Mission’s three areas of ministry focus: poverty intervention and prevention, health and wellness initiatives, and children and youth development opportunities. These ministry foci have been at the heart of the Mission’s operational shape for decades. While the specifics of how these areas will be addressed may evolve to meet the specific shape of the needs of our neighbors today, our commitment to addressing these same areas will continue.
Third, The Mission believes that the clearest path forward is through the building of lasting relationships with our neighbors. Through consistent and intentional presence in our communities, the Mission hopes to develop rapport, respect, and a reputation as an organization as loving, generous, and faithful as the God we represent. We know that these relationships will not happen by chance, but only as we branch outside of our own walls and plant ourselves in the places our communities already gather – in schools, libraries, parks, and other neighborhood spaces. We believe that as these relationships are built, more specific needs will be discovered, and we will be better equipped to continue to assist our neighbors in experiencing holistic transformation.
Lastly, the Mission knows well that these efforts cannot be carried out successfully by a handful of staff and select volunteers. To continue in the legacy of transformative investment our Mission has enjoyed through the decades, we need the full support of a wide array of churches, groups, families, teams, and individual volunteers. We believe that the same calling of passion and conviction that we have seen in innumerable partners with the Mission still exists in the hearts and minds of many of you today, as well as many more to whom we have yet to connect. We are eternally grateful that we are not alone in these endeavors but rather surrounded by a great community of passionate, relentless Christ-followers who are willing to invest themselves on behalf of the needy, seek restoration for the broken amongst us, and experience the transformation that comes from co-laboring with Christ in the Kingdom of God.
We are truly excited to share this news with each of you, and we are praying it sparks the fires of passion and desire within your hearts as well. We covet your prayers as we begin this new chapter of the Nathaniel Mission’s story, and we are hopeful that many of you will be by our side in these efforts. If you feel called to serve the Versailles Road Corridor and our neighbors at the Mission with love, dedication, and generosity, please contact us soon. We are even now compiling a list of volunteer opportunities we hope to be able to offer to you so that you can serve as the Lord has called and equipped you. We ask that you also prayerfully consider donating to our efforts of transformation in our communities, as these programs, clinics, classes, and more require the faithful and selfless support of donors like yourself.
Should you have further questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. The full Strategic Vision Plan can be found on our website, as well as much more information that may be helpful to you. We look forward to hearing from you soon, and may God continue to bless The Nathaniel Mission and each of us.
Lexington District Superintendent