2013 Year in Review

_dsc4104Its hard to believe that we have been living in Gifford Park for nearly three years already!  We have seen and experienced so much in these last three years!  2013 was no exception!  As you scroll down, I hope you can get a small picture of the work God has been doing in us and through us in the last 12 months!

Some of our favorite neighborhood kids!

Some of our favorite neighborhood kids!

For us, ministry begins in our neighborhood.  Last year we continued to live very intentionally in Gifford Park with our neighbors.  And Gifford Park is no slouch when it comes to being an active neighborhood!

2013 Easter Egg Hunt

2013 Easter Egg Hunt

Some of the activities we enjoy and help put on are the annual easter egg hunt, the annual neighborhood clean up, the annual cultural celebration, the community garden youth program, the youth soccer program, the youth tennis program, the neighborhood farmers market, and monthly neighborhood association meetings.

Neighborhood Market

Neighborhood Market

2nd Annual Cultural Celebration!

2nd Annual Cultural Celebration!

Snack Time! at Gifford Park Youth Soccer.

Snack Time! at Gifford Park Youth Soccer.

A local youth group helping us maintain the alley behind our house.  This group helped us rebuild a broken down retaining wall.

A local youth group helping us maintain the alley behind our house. This group helped us rebuild a broken down retaining wall.

We also continue to invite many people to our home and enjoy getting to know our neighbors!  Parties!

I think we could squeeze a little more meat on the grill.

I think we could squeeze a little more meat on the grill.

4th of July-watching the kids light off fire crackers!

4th of July-watching the kids light off fire crackers!

Trick or Treating with some neighbor kids.

Trick or Treating with some neighbor kids.

Another fun little thing we did this year was get chickens!  We have eight lovely layers and are enjoying Home Laid Eggs nearly every day for breakfast!

The finished product.

Our Chicken Coop.

A really big part of our ministry is also investing in leaders.  One way that we do this is to host Taste and See Events.  This year we hosted two weekend events where leaders from other cities and communities could come and taste what life is like for us and be challenged and equipped further for ministry in their context.  Both weekends were a ton of fun and fruitful to boot!

A little bit of discussion with Taste and See participants.

A little bit of discussion with Taste and See participants.

A little bit of fun with Taste and See participants.

A little bit of fun with Taste and See participants.

As I (Eric) serve as the Director of Formation as well as on the Steering Community for our organization, I end up doing a bit of traveling.  I spent anywhere from 3 to 7 days on trips around the country this year  in five different locations.

Getting a new site launched in Chattanooga.

Getting a new site launched in Chattanooga.

Hard at work with the CRM ReSource Team.

Hard at work with the CRM ReSource Team.

 

Strategic Planning with the Collective Site leaders in Boston.

Strategic Planning with the Collective Site leaders in Boston.

We have also had the joy this year of investing in Brandon and Megan Sperry and their little girl Luca.  The Sperrys began their apprenticeship in July of 2013 and will complete their year in June of 2014.

Photo op at a neighborhood pumpkin carving party.

Photo op at a neighborhood pumpkin carving party.

But our most important ministry and disciples are our kids!  They are amazing little people with a whole lot of life.  They challenge us and bring laughter to our hearts!  Norah began 2nd grade this year.  Brennen will start kindergarten in the fall of 2014.

Norah helping to stuff emergency meals at a Kids Against Hunger event.

Norah helping to stuff emergency meals at a Kids Against Hunger event.

Norah absolutely loving homeschool!

Norah absolutely loving homeschool!

Brennen playing warriors with a friend.

Brennen playing warriors with a friend.

Enjoying life at the zoo with a neighborhood friend.

Enjoying life at the zoo with a neighborhood friend.

And so, that almost brings us to the end.  But there’s still a few numbers we want to share.  As we entered into 2013 we had set a few goals for ourselves.

As a community we wanted to be in an intentional relationship with 60 people.  With relationships with over 200 people and hosting close to 400 people in our home alone this year, we counted that as a community we are in deeper, more intentional relationships with 68 people.

We wanted 15 of those people to be actively exploring scripture.  Though we had many spiritual conversations, only 2 took steps toward deeper explorations of scripture.

We wanted to have 2-3 new apprentices.  We had 2.

We wanted to coach 25 leaders.  We coached 25. We also trained 163 people at events or 1 time workshops we led.

We wanted to start or partner in 4 Kingdom Initiatives.  We were a part of 5.

We wanted to start a prayer initiative.  We didn’t get that accomplished. (But we have started it in 2014!)

We wanted to birth one new community.  We did not see that happen this year.

However, through our work with other leaders, 8 new people have begun to follow Jesus.

We’re praising God for all He has done.  And praying for more.  As we enter into 2014 we are making some moves toward going deeper.  Our reach has been wide the last several years as we have worked to meet lots of new people and embed well into Gifford Park.  Our hearts and prayers are that God would bring His kingdom here in Omaha and begin to move people into more intentional places of discipleship.

As we continue to live missionally and incarnationally in our neighborhood, some of our goals for 2014 are: to host a monthly 12 hour day of prayer, to reach our goal of 15 people actively exploring scripture, to have a new apprenticeship class of 2-4, to coach or invest in 20 leaders in the region.

Will you consider joining us?  Pray “Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” with us for Gifford Park.  Consider joining our ministry partner team by financially investing with a monthly or one time gift.  Come visit us or participate in one of our Taste and See events.  If you know someone interested in our life and ministry, please send them our way!

Thank you for being with us this far!   As we continue to journey together, may we see a multiplication of people living as Kingdom Family!

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