We had an incredible summer. Breaktime, the Bakery, and the Urban Farm all went well. Most importantly we connected with dozens of kids and saw tremendous growth in many lives. Some of those stories you will hear in the upcoming Newsletter, which will hopefully reach your mailbox, and be posted online, by September 14th.

While summer was great, it can only last so long. As we enter the fall, we are preparing for another exciting school year of ministry. In a few weeks we will have kids regularly showing up for GEMS, High School, and EMS. We get the privilege of sharing the gospel, and discipling students towards deep faith. This is no easy task, but we know it is one of the most important things we do.

I’ve previously mentioned in various writings that what we’re trying to do is take kids on a faith journey. Many of them claim they believe in Jesus, but they seriously struggle to live out their faith. At some point in their life they responded to an altar call or prayed a prayer to take Jesus in their hearts. They see Jesus as an escape from Hell but don’t realize he’s more than a savior, He is also their Lord. This is one of the reasons we focused on the Fruit of the Spirit this past summer with the Bakery kids and talked about metamorphosis with the Breaktimers. We want them to see that life in Christ is different than life without Him.

This is also the reason we are changing the name of EMS. When we began New City Neighbors six years ago, EMS was the name we gave our weekly ministry for young children. EMS simply stands for Elementary and Middle School ministry. While it vaguely hints at who is attending, it doesn’t fully communicate what we’re trying to accomplish. A case could be made that we are, in a way, providing Emergency Medical Services, but more often than not, the name has been confusing for people.

Over the last month we thought long and hard about a new name. While there were many choose from that captured the essence of what we’re trying to do, we decided to go with 180. This name represents what we want to see happen in the lives of our students.

We want them to step away from:

  • Superficial faith in Jesus
  • Bad influences in their lives
  • Friends who don’t care about them
  • Trying to earn a name on the street

We want them to step towards:

  • New life in Christ
  • Relationships that will challenge them to grow
  • Adults who will care for them, even when they make mistakes
  • Realizing their God-given potential to make a positive difference in this world

We are not trying to create converts; we are working alongside the Holy Spirit to help produce disciples. To help make this happen, we’re not just changing the name, we’re adding to the ministry. EMS was always on Thursday nights from 6:00 to 7:45. This year we’re starting at 5:00PM. That first hour will focus on homework and education so we can help kids succeed in school. Then we’ll have dinner, spend time praising God through singing, break up into small groups for Bible study, and end the night playing games and doing art/crafts. Because we’re concerned about the students, we’re also adding a Tuesday component. This fall we’ll open the doors for 180 from 3:30 to 4:45 every Tuesday afternoon for homework help and mentoring. This gives us another night during the week to check in with kids and speak into their lives.

Our hope and prayer is that the kids who attend 180 will walk away having their life changed, and we ask that you pray with us for this good work to happen. We’re excited about these changes, and we hope you are too. If you are interested in volunteering to help with homework, Bible study, or any other part of 180, please contact Eric at erics@newcityneighbors.org.