Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Prayer Alert - Major Ministry Updates - 5/3/06

[Note: This prayer alert is longer than most, as it contains major ministry updates. Next month, I'll return to our usual format. Thank you.]
May 3, 2006 Friends and Intercessors: When God told Abraham to uproot his family and go where He would lead, He conveniently neglected to provide a roadmap. Instead He pointed in a general direction, spoke vaguely of "the land I will show you," and promised:

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:2-3)

Yesterday marked the second anniversary since my family and I began a similar journey, leaving Abounding Grace Ministries (AGM) and ending my tenure as youth pastor there. Embarking on a new phase on ministry as a missionary to youth and youth culture required us to be stretched as a family. Leaving AGM was a necessary step as it was the most comfortable place in the world for me. Through the ministry of Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), we have traveled far in the last two years, cultivating young lives out of two locations; producing theatrical events, video projects and original music; developing leaders that now serve as teachers, pastors, after school directors, and more; and watching Chain Reaction mobilize hundreds of young people for thousands of hours of community service in seven states. Simultaneously I was privileged to co-found and co-chair what has emerged as the largest network of urban youth ministries in the nation; participate in the historic Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade; teach my first seminary class; speak at churches and conferences throughout the country; and publish more than a dozen articles. Yet we have not arrived. Like Abraham, it's time to move beyond Haran, an important stop along the way but far from the final destination. Haran was the place where Abraham established himself and his family and amassed the skills and resources needed to inhabit Canaan . But God had more in store. What does this mean beyond metaphorical language? I have an admittedly audacious vision – some might call it a pipedream – that God will so move in this current generation of young people that 15-20 years from now, popular culture will look and feel and, in fact, be radically different than that which their forbearers – my generation – produced for them. My generation, bruised by emotional abandonment and battered by materialistic excess, became such a spiritual wasteland that commentators and "experts" labeled us "X." Now adults, we increasingly exert creative influence and control within the culture. The result is a morass of amoral spinelessness that calls sin right and right boring as "bootylicious hoes" surrender all to "pimped out" "thugs," and "queer eyes" lecture "straight guys" how to live. Canaan for me is a culture shaped by individuals of character and competence who are blessed by God and a blessing to all the earth, rather than the insipid mammon-trap that exploits teen insecurities (not to mention pocketbooks) to pad bottom lines. Apart from an outpouring of God's Spirit and a resulting reformation, that vision is unattainable. When I returned to CSI as its executive director in 2003, the goal was to build a scalable and transformative urban youth ministry that empowers young people to reclaim their lives and become who God created them to be, so that they are equipped to transform their communities and cultures. Why "urban?" Because urban is not just a geography anymore. More than buildings and densely populated neighborhoods, urban is a set of values that are reshaping the globe. In 1900, just 14% of the world's population lived in cities. By 2000, 47% had moved into cities, and projections are 60% within 25 years (2030). As populations shift into cities, they confront diversity, create community, embrace individuality, and pursue opportunity. Challenges also arise as greater concentrations of humanity multiply the effects of sin. But where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Why youth? Because they are the lowest hanging, most ripe fruit in the harvest field. Who is more "like a child" – Christ's prerequisite for the kingdom of heaven – than a child? Why ministry? Because lives are lived out of the abundance of individual hearts. Curriculum, jobs, legislation, media messages, and marketing slogans don't define who we are. What is intrinsic to us – the uniqueness woven by our Maker into our spirits, souls, and bodies – define us. Ministry gets to a person's core, and holistic ministry in particular, opens the door. The next phase of our journey necessitates several practical changes. First, the laboratory phase of Generation Xcel (Haran ) is completed, meaning day-to-day management of Xcel's flagship locations will return to the youth ministry of Abounding Grace, with me serving strictly in an advisory capacity. This is the model partnership CSI will reproduce with other ministries and churches that desire to engage at-risk youth in holistic youth development. Second, CSI is launching a consulting initiative for ministries, churches, and community groups regarding youth and leadership development, engaging youth culture, and social and economic justice. Lastly, I will assume more writing and preaching responsibilities along with consulting.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" (Romans 10:14-15)

Kindly consider adopting me as your urban youth missionary. Now more than ever, your commitment to support us financially is vital. Please email me indicating your level of support:

___ Monthly ___ $25 ___ $50 ___ $75 ___ $100 Other ___________ ___ Quarterly ___ $25 ___ $50 ___ $75 ___ $100 Other ___________ ___ Annually ___ $25 ___ $50 ___ $75 ___ $100 Other ___________ ___ One-time ___ $25 ___ $50 ___ $75 ___ $100 Other ___________

Tax deductible gifts may be made online at or by mail to Community Solutions, 9 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10009. On behalf of my family and the young people God has promised us to reach, thank you again for friendship, prayers, and support. In His Service, Jeremy Del Rio P .S. Keep up-to-date with the family online at my blog: Subscribe for regular email alerts here:


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