It was three years ago that I informed the Mountair Christian Church community that I would be transitioning from the Interim Pastor role into full-time leadership of Edgewater Collective. Since then we have been attending Mile High Vineyard and seeking the common good of our city. As I left leadership in the church, I thought I would never return. Honestly, I have loved serving my city outside the walls of the church and rallying folks to create a thriving city regardless of what they believe.
But throughout this process, God has been tugging at my heart and for a few years I ran from his call. A little over two years ago, I had a pretty vivid of dream of baptizing people in Sloan’s Lake at the beach on the northwest corner. That dream made a strong impression on me but I didn’t think I would play a role in that. I waited for others to create a new type of church in our community that would be welcoming to families and those who had never attended church.
After a year of poking and prodding by the Lord, I’ve realized that he might want me to step out in faith and lead a new faith community in our area. The beauty of this new possibility is that I continue my fulfilling work with Edgewater Collective during the week and lead a neighborhood church on the weekends with a great team of folks who live locally.
Our church, Mile High Vineyard, believes strongly in neighborhood churches that love a community and take on the Catholic idea of being committed to a parish. So we are starting to gather folks that live in Edgewater, Wheat Ridge and northeast Lakewood that are drawn to following Jesus and loving a community. On Sundays we are gathering at the Mile High Vineyard churches in the Highlands and Arvada until we have the critical mass to gather on our own in the Edgewater area on Sunday mornings. On Thursday nights we will all come together for a meal and connecting with each other through conversation and prayer.
We are excited for this new season because it builds on our rootedness in the Edgewater community. Our dream is to start gathering on Sunday mornings by Easter of next year. And God willing, one day we will baptize new Jesus followers in Sloan’s Lake.
When I took the Associate Pastor position at Mountair Christian Church, we knew we would take it one year at time. The church was taking money out of savings to fund my position and we didn’t know how the ministry at the church would change. This summer, Trevor Lee, the Lead Pastor at Mountair felt called by God to transition to the Lead Pastor position at the church in Littleton called Trailhead Church.
So I transitioned into the Interim Pastor role at the beginning of August.
Over the last year, I have spent a good amount of time in Edgewater building relationships and learning about the needs and assets in the community. As I have developed relationships and built networks, I have realized the need for an asset based community development organization. Instead of just rushing in to meet needs, an asset based organization looks to connect the assets or strengths of a community with its needs.
So we started Edgewater Collective as a way to connect these assets and needs in seeking the common good of all in Edgewater.
I love doing community development. Ironically my senior paper at Taylor University laid out of dream of mine to do community development in a neighborhood just like Edgewater just south of where we are now. It took 11 years to get where we are now, yet this is the position I believe I am uniquely created for.
Our family is ready to jump into this new role in Edgewater.
Mountair Christian Church is starting to look for a new Lead Pastor and I will be transitioning to leading Edgewater Collective at the beginning of November.
You can read our letter to the Mountair congregation here.
We are excited to step into this role within our community. The open doors to invest in our community are amazing!
- Today I began serving as a volunteer police chaplain with the Edgewater Police Department.
- We are launching the Edgewater Literacy Initiative and sending trained volunteers to help K-3rd grade students read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
- This spring I will be leading our community garden at the local high school and helping students sell their produce at the local farmer’s market.
- We are working with the local high school to connect local business owners and students every Thursday morning later this fall. Our dream is to offer up to a $1000 Innovation Award to a high school student to develop a business idea in the community.
- Hillary is a paraprofessional (teacher’s aide) at our daughters’ school and is learning first hand the needs in our local schools.
- I am now a Planning and Zoning Commissioner in Edgewater and am learning more about how our city operates.
- I also represent our area on the Jefferson County Schools Strategic Planning and Advisory Council.
As you can see this is quickly becoming a full-time effort! We need your help as I step into this new role with Edgewater Collective.
Here is how you can help:
If you live in the Denver area, here are some ways you can serve in Edgewater.
We are looking to raise $14,000 by 2014 to launch these initiatives in Edgewater and allow me to work full-time in the community. You can donate to Edgewater Collective here.
Over the past couple of months, I have been investing a good amount of time in launching our grassroots community development organization, Edgewater Collective. Thankfully, the mistakes and lessons learned from starting, maintaining and closing a coffee bar has helped me in starting this new venture. This time around I am seeking advice from those who have gone before me and done the same type of community development organization.
One of the big questions from the start has been, “Are we a faith based organization?”
I sought advice from others, talked with our board and came to the conclusion that some of our board members might be “faith-motivated” but our organization will not be faith based.
Wait! What?! Why would a seminary trained pastor with over ten years of experience in the church not start a faith based organization? Read the rest of this entry
Ever since we moved to Edgewater, Colorado we have seen our small, one mile by one mile city as our “mission field.” We enrolled our daughters in our neighborhood school and began to network and build relationships. As we did this, we noticed a number of different needs in the community.
All three schools in Edgewater are Title I schools and over 85% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. The test scores are lower than those in the suburbs but they are improving. The teachers and staff are excellent yet some in the community just look at test scores and the schools suffer a bad rap. So I decided to network with other community leaders are start a project called Support Edgewater Schools to improve the image of our local schools and rally Edgewater around our schools. Read the rest of this entry
Recently our little city of Edgewater just to the west of Denver was hit with a rash of graffiti. I first noticed marks of a night of illegal art on some hanging sculptures in the yard of a house we pass each day on the way to school. In recent months there have been at least 60-70 victims of graffiti. It’s hard to walk around Edgewater and not notice graffiti.
Teenagers in their boredom have left their mark on this city by defacing their neighbors’ homes with graffiti. Older neighbors fear for their safety as they believe graffiti is linked to gang behavior.
How are we leaving our mark?
Edgewater is our neighborhood; our parish. Parish is a seldom used word today but years ago it meant the territory or area assigned to a specific priest. That priest would be responsible for the pastoral care of that geographic area. The word parish was used most in Catholic circles.
Though the church I serve is located in a different neighborhood within a mile of Edgewater, our family is focused on deepening our roots in this neighborhood. Our kids go to school here and a lot of our family life revolves around this city that covers less than a square mile. Read the rest of this entry
It’s official! I’m start work tomorrow in my new role as Associate Pastor at Mountair Church in Lakewood, Colorado. We took a leap of faith at the end of May and moved our stuff into a storage unit as we waited for what job might come next. We’ve had some great family time staying with gracious friends and family over the last month, but now it’s time for stability again. Read the rest of this entry