A New Day
April 14, 2016
When The Other Way was established, the Westside was primarily a working-class Polish Catholic neighborhood. While many of those folks still remain in their homes, a much different mix of people live here today. In many ways, the Westside is the most diverse neighborhood in Grand Rapids – which is incredible. Because of this, we are in a season of adapting and adjusting to better reflect the hopes and address the concerns of our neighborhood. We do this in hopeful anticipation of fulfilling our vision.
One of the ways we have adjusted is intentionally finding passionate Christian men and women who reflect the diverse Westside (look at that awesome team!). This means that our staff is beginning to look, sound and work like the Westside community. I am pleased to share that some of the best coaches in Grand Rapids are guiding us to an organizational culture where these new and innovative voices on our team will be fully included.
We also have to begin adjusting our ministry strategies. For example, creating desirable and safe spaces for children and families at Sibley Elementary, of whom 70% are Latino, requires a different language capacity and understanding of culture. If we don’t fully consider the people who are in front of us, we cannot expect meaningful engagement in family ministry programming or community building.
This is why our staff is learning about and engaging with Equity. Every Westsider comes from a unique set of circumstances. Based on many factors (race, money, family structure, etc.) each person is faced with any given range of obstacles to overcome from the moment life begins. These complexities present a unique ministry challenge. We desire to rise to that challenge because we want all Westside families to thrive and have greater access to opportunities.
Thank you for joining us in praying Romans 15:5 for our team and for the Westside throughout this season. I have great hope that if our staff can come together, it will lead to the community coming together in a new way and the Kingdom of God breaking forth.