In this episode of the NOWLeading Podcast, Rev. Dr. John Nunes examines the topic of new starts for diverse communities. He shared his experiential and academic knowledge with the NOW Start Network leaders during their January All Network Call.
Nunes, who served seven years as President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief and has authored several books, brings so much to this timely and important conversation. One point he introduced was the idea of “proximity to proclamation,” the spoken conversations about Jesus. He offered insights and encouragement for those eager to start new holistic ministries that care for the needs of people and keep that care in proximity to proclamation.
Nunes also notes how important it is to listen as you serve your community so you may understand their past hurts and future needs. We should listen before we even begin to speak.
“Ministry begins with listening, discerning deeply, what the needs and what the wounds are in any community you serve. It’s not just in urban communities – this goes for ALL communities. And only after listening are you prepared to talk,” he said. “It’s never in my life been the case that after listening I didn’t hear something where the gospel had relevance and had meaning. But it’s about connecting that gospel relevance with the deep needs of people created in the image of God who have built into their being a restlessness to be with God. Every single human person is designed with a need for God. And the opportunity we have is to connect them back with their creator, the one who made them to be saved.”
Some of the questions for consideration include:
- Is it still possible to start new endeavors and entities now?
- (Answer: it’s possible, necessary, tricky!)
- How are you reaching out in the midst of changing neighborhoods?
- In what ways are we being intentional and strategic about diversity? Because it won’t just happen on its own.
- Are we outsourcing the care of people to others?
“I really do believe that where there is a vision that’s compelling, there will be God’s provision as well. God will find a way — where it’s God’s vision there will be God’s provision. I’ve seen it too many times in my life not to know that that’s true,” Nunes said.
This is just a fraction of what you’ll hear. Listen to the full episode below.