This is the second email we sent out…enjoy!
We want to let you know what NLR does, and what our specific roles are in this ministry. But that’s for next time. First, we want to talk a bit about an underlying idea that affects everything NLR does. This is the idea of community (sort of a buzz word right now…but it is still important!).
People talk about community a lot. Churches, schools, Starbucks and New Life Ranch all want to, and some times do, have a strong sense of community. We are not sure exactly what community means, but we are learning. We are part of several groups of people who call ourselves comminutes. Beth is part of the counseling program at JBU. We are part of our church, The Grove, and we are part of the full time staff of New Life Ranch.
It might be tempting to think of community as a neighborhood. A lot of people who live in the same area and may occasionally hang out and share their tools. But it is more than that. Community is lived out through sharing cars, early morning bike rides, hosting summer staff in our homes, mowing each others yards, shared meals. It is not uncommon for us to be in somebody’s house hanging out when the family that lives there is not even home.
But in some ways these are the superficial results of community. It comes from having a boss who is our friend, who invests in us on a personal level, who wants to see us succeed. It is the result of being willing to drop what we are doing to help somebody in their job. It is the result of meeting together to pray and study God’s Word, of sharing our successes, joy, sorrows, struggles, and failures with each other. Even these things though are only the result of something deeper, something bigger. We are connected by Jesus Christ, by our commitment to see God glorified on Earth. It happens that God is using us for a season at New Life Ranch to accomplish his work. These are the things that truly connect us.
The community of New Life Ranch is small. There are around 50 people that live at camp. These fifty people are the full time staff and their families, and form the core of our family here. The community is also huge, there are thousands of people who come through the Ranch every year. We send the New Life News (the camp newsletter) to over 11,000 people. We want campers to feel like they are a part of this place, we want summer staff to know that they have a second home here that they can always return to. We want youth pastors who bring their churches here to know that we are partnering with them in ministry, and that they are an integral part of what we do. This extended community is made up of the campers, staff, pastors, supporters, volunteers, mentors, and families who are connected to New Life Ranch. While they do not come into our homes (at least not often…) they are the extended family of New Life Ranch.
This community is foundational to how we do ministry at NLR. We feel like it is important for you to understand this idea before we get into what NLR does, and what we do at NLR. In our next email we will get into more specifics about our roles in the community of NLR.