Hello, neighbors! If you think back to the parable of the Good Samaritan, you’ll find Jesus’ instructions to love our neighbors. And who are they? He points not to the injured and robbed man by the roadside, but the man who crossed economic and religious boundaries to help him. We are all neighbors. Not clients and providers. Not guests and hosts. Not us and them.
A task force of Asbury First neighbors recently completed an update of “A Way Forward,” the 2016 document laying out the strategy for our church community’s Outreach ministries. On June 12, 2023, the Asbury First Governing Board accepted the update, titled “Continuing Our Way Forward.” The report has three major points: It asks that we all start using the biblically based term “neighbor” rather than other terms that subconsciously perpetuate a power differential between helpers and those who need help. It describes how we might start working on seeking justice for those afflicted by poverty. And it streamlines the governance of Outreach so there’s one umbrella group carrying out strategy and overseeing initiatives across the outreach ministries.
We’ve accomplished much since 2016, including the opening and operation of the new Asbury First Community Outreach Center. But, there’s more to do, and not just in Outreach. The task force report is a great start to the broader process of updating the church-wide Dreamscape strategy plan we are kicking off in the Fall. We encourage you to read the full report below. If you want to ask questions or arrange for a presentation about the report for your group, please contact Diana Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org.