Recently, through VIA, 34 volunteers painted at Joshua Station to prepare new offices for their advocates and staff. Joshua Station is a transitional housing community and education program to help previously homeless families to become stable and then move into permanent housing. Here are some photos of the volunteers. If you would like to participate in a service project like this, please let VIA know. We’d love to have you join in.
Volunteers in Action is partnering with Jesus on Colfax and other East Colfax pastors and ministry leaders to carry out Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) in these neighborhoods. God’s desire is to reconcile and renew lives and communities to be healthy and thriving. God invites us to join in the ministry of reconciliation and to be ambassadors for Him. We are excited for VIA to join this effort for renewal of a community struggling with many challenges. We are calling this effort, Flourish East Colfax. Three churches: Mosaic Church, Agape Fellowship, Jesus on Colfax and three Christian community organizations: Restoration Outreach Programs, Innerchange, and Volunteers in Action are partnering together as a coalition for this initiative.
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a model used by many organizations (including World Renew) in communities that struggle with the effects of poverty to help these communities thrive. It involves focusing on and encouraging the God given talents, abilities and assets already in a community to address the hopes and dreams that the community wants to see happen. It is a model that gives hope, empowers, and provides a “hand-up” for positive change.
This is a different type of activity than VIA has been involved with in the past, but we believe it fits with our mission statement “Volunteers in Action serves the community by equipping and enabling Christian volunteers and churches to be Christ’s transforming presence”. It also fits with VIA’s Stategic Plan to organize partnerships and network with other Christian ministries and churches for community transformation.
This coalition has engaged Michael Philip as our Community Connector and ABCD coach. Michael has extensive experience leading Asset Based Community Development in a community of poverty in Miami, FL.
The group has also developed a wide-ranging prayer strategy that includes covering these neighborhoods and Flourish East Colfax in community prayer, prayer-walking, and committed leadership prayer time. Two prayer-walking trainings and prayer-walks were held on Feb. 8th and March 2nd with over 40 people participating and a community Prayer Gathering was held at the MLK library lawn on March 4th. If you sense God’s nudging to cover Flourish East Colfax and these neighborhoods in prayer regularly, please give us a call at VIA at 303-713-9144.
When Pastor Shawn Sikkema and his wife Diane were considering and praying about where God was calling to them next, they sensed a pull to the urban core and to those struggling with poverty. They have begun a new ministry called Jesus on Colfax and are focusing on those living in the North Aurora, East Colfax area. There are about 25 motels on Colfax east of Yosemite and most of the residents struggle with challenges of addiction, mental illness, financial crisis, past incarceration or immense family brokenness.
Shawn and Diane moved into the Ranger Motel where they are pastoring and simply loving their new neighbors. If you would like to read more about this ministry you can go to their website www.jesusoncolfax.org. Click on the “Journal” section to read stories of the people living there and how God is working through this ministry.
VIA is considering how we could potentially partner with Jesus on Colfax, possibly through sponsoring community development in those neighborhoods. We are excited to see how God is continuing to work for his kingdom purposes in this North Aurora neighborhood.
— Donn Hansum, Director
One aspect of our calling as followers of Jesus and as churches is to be transforming agents for good in our communities. We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors, joining him in reconciling and restoring all things back to him, including our communities.
II Corinthians 5:18-20 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors.”
How do we carry out this ministry of reconciliation and restoration? VIA is highlighting some examples of how some churches are working to do this in their communities. In this issue, there are stories of how Crestview Church in Boulder is supporting a formerly homeless person in their community and how EHCC Reach Groups are connecting with their neighbors. You can also read how a new ministry, Jesus on Colfax, is working to love the people and impact the community of East Colfax in Aurora. We hope these stories might encourage you to consider how God may be calling you to engage with your community? —Donn Hansum, Director
We were honored this month to welcome several of our volunteers and their friends to join us for brunch to celebrate the work done through Volunteers in Action over the past year. We enjoyed live music, delicious food, and friendly company as we were able to spend time together. Thank you to all of our volunteers and friends for joining us in this celebration!