What in the world is a ministry doing adding words like “justice” and “jobs” to the mission?
In the current rhetoric of the jobs/justice/occupy conflict, I think that this is a really good question. Back in 2004 the Board of Directors at Sunshine re-wrote our Mission statement as follows: Sunshine exists to seek renewal in the city through ministries of discipleship, mercy and justice.
This is taken from Jeremiah 29:7 and Micah 6:8. Jeremiah envisions a role of God’s people in the city that most Christians find “foreign” — a love for, passion for “shalom” in the city. A Gospel-thriving presence of God’s people in a place full of diversity, “otherness”, injustice, struggle, poverty and more.
Micah calls on God’s people (all of God’s people) to be those who full of mercy, pursue justice, and walk with him. Humbly.
So these things were tied into what we believe God has called us to do here. Then, as we thought a few years out about how the mission should be on-display here, the Board re-wrote our Vision statement: 500 kids growing in Christ and getting through college; 1500 annual bridge builders; 200 jobs on 61st street.
While the word “jobs” may be in demand and in vogue right now, for us it hearkens to the creation. Not only is a job the fastest way out of poverty, not only does it empower one to provide for one’s family, not only does it help communities to thrive — but at the heart of the Imago Dei, is freedom to work, creatively, inspiring character and affirming dignity. We believe that entrepreneurialism (so often on display in Sunshine’s support base) is a reflection of one being created in God’s image — and too often is absent in our community. Therefore, more than just a theological conviction, it is a practical necessity.
So, after 2 years of talking to lots of folks: Entrepreneurs, government officials, neighbors, business leaders, social enterprise theorists, urban planning professionals and more, we have taken steps to begin incubating businesses on 61st street.
Stay tuned for a fuller explanation of the other parts of our Mission and Vision. For now, please pray for our direction in pursuing our mission and vision.