When did INITIATIVE begin? INITIATIVE officially launched on November 14, 2013 with our first gathering, after less than a month of planning.
What is the aim and mission of INITIATIVE? The aim and mission of INITIATIVE is to gather 18-35 year olds in the city to develop unity in diversity, to mobilize the Saints, to champion the Church, and to build character in these young adults.
Has the vision remained the same, or has changed, since you expanded? The mission for INITIATIVE has remained the same, but the vision has expanded and greatly increased our initial expectation. Launched to involve the younger generation in Movement Day Greater Dallas, we now work for a fully functioning network to involve this generation in their city, daily. We have four core values, and four coinciding platforms to stewards these values. We mobilize the saints with a monthly topical gathering, we champion the church with monthly Young Adult Pastors gatherings, we create unity with a celebratory event called Belong, and we build character through prayer and worship with a gathering called Harmony. Although we were confident in these values, we never anticipated the possibility of such a broad reach towards the city through four separate platforms.
What kind of resistance have you encountered and how have you handled it? We have encountered resistance, actually very recently this summer. After the unexpected expansion of our organization, we were unsure of where God was directing us, but we could sense some big changes were in the works. Several members were hurt through disapproval, concerns raised, and overall discouragement in the process of walking by faith [and not sight]. This resistance became heavy on our hearts, and we could not do anything but pray. We gathered together on numerous occasions to plead for God’s direction, protection, presence, blessing, and wisdom. He answered abundantly in each of these areas. Our leaders and the overall organization could not handle any of the resistance that we have faced, so we prayed that God would enable us to listen for His voice. His Spirit has worked in unbelievable ways through a season of great change and transition. He has prompted us to pray, make decisions, and have hard conversations that have ultimately led us closer to His will for INITIATIVE. Our purpose is to work as ambassadors for the Kingdom, and He has reminded us that purpose above all others.
Can you give a quick story of Kingdom impact that your ministry has been a part of recently? Yes, we recently started collecting stories to tell of God’s faithfulness through INITIATIVE. He called us to begin this not for ourselves, but for Himself. This is a personal favorite story of ours. This is the story of a college student who attended our very first topical monthly Gathering for mobilization.
"After signing up I felt nervous to teach but since I want to have the career of a teacher in my future, I just went with it before I started second guessing myself. From just signing up, it helped me with breaking my bad habits of second-guessing myself and over-thinking. On my first day it felt awkward. Adriana wasn’t really talking much but after a while she started responding with words rather than just nods. After the first day she started to open up more. She would share how her day has been and we even laugh together from time to time. Adriana opening up helped make it more comfortable for me to teach. Although I like to be around people, I’m not good at socializing. What helped me to feel even more comfortable was when I read about how I should be more interested in others than thinking about myself and worrying about what people think of me. That made me feel like a selfish person which in turn helped me stop being self-conscious. The more I felt comfortable, the more Adriana felt comfortable. When the last day was over, Adriana and I said our good byes and she had the biggest smile I’ve seen from her. I felt amazed that I have the ability to make a child smile without trying to be humorous. I thought if I could do that, what other things can I accomplish when it comes to people?"
What kind of encouragement can you give to other individuals who would like to start their own ministry but don’t know how? Our strongest encouragement to young adults wanting to develop their own ministry is to learn before anything else! The church, and other non-profits have an abundance of wisdom, knowledge, and experience doing what is laid upon our hearts as young adults. We can guarantee that their experience will be far more effective, impactful, and rewarding if they first seek out the people who have gone before them. We started out with the admonition of the church and the older generation, and their wisdom remains as one of our strongest values.