Diana Clark | January 08, 2019
Last September, the NBA Incubate Initiative welcomed its largest SENT Seminar cohort yet! The annual four-day training opportunity equips Disciples social entrepreneurs of faith for leadership and change as they nurture emerging health and social service ministries. This project, Youth Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., will offer services to homeless youth by providing personal care items, homework assistance, and tools for conflict resolution in daily life.
“Yes” is used to communicate that you are ready for an opportunity. I sometimes do not know how to react to this word because it might be misunderstood. But faith teaches us to depend on the Lord’s guidance and step out. Of course, that can mean being open to the people who come into your space. So, I prayed and stepped out to start a ministry for youth. I did not know the plans, but a surprise email and phone call started the journey. Sometimes you just need to be silent and wait for another opportunity to say yes. So, I said YES to the SENT Seminar. What a wonderful training SENT was for me and the Youth Conflict Resolution Center, Inc. non-profit. We decided to start a new project... I was not sure about the word ‘ministry’. I now believe the church and non-profits are charitable organizations with a similar mission. The word that describes this journey is transformation. This organization’s main vision is to transform youths’ daily lives by teaching conflict resolution skills.
How did that come about? I became a mediator and started doing family mediation. After a few years, I had a divorce case. The youth did not have a chance to speak about their situation. That day I decided to educate the youth on how to make their voices heard. Youth deal with conflict daily and need communication skills. To my surprise others agreed. Thus, Youth Conflict Resolution Center, Inc. started.
In 2015 I made a U-turn and heard about the word ‘ministry’. I began to pray and ask questions about the word from a Disciples of Christ Church. I began to pray and speak to my Pastor. I realized that every thought began within the heart. I also realized that this is not just about me; it will be a community effort. The community plans are to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Many years have passed but my direction is still focused on a non-profit for youth (Youth Conflict Resolution Center, Inc.).
I never imagined that both visions could come together. Thus, the journey with National Benevolent Association has become an eye opener. The SENT seminar made the vision very clear. I am focused on the goals for the project (Cleanliness Washes Away Conflict) because of what I learned from Leadership Coaching by Greg Turk and the process of Self Talk. I am listening and decreeing to move forward. I hear all the time that charity is part of the Church’s work, but Dietra Wise Baker asked,” is that enough?” Why did Jesus come? What is your organization’s mission? So, I began to discuss this with our board members. They are excited to make changes that will affect a broader community.
I am changing. But, as always, action speaks louder than vision or word. My heart is filled like a river. I have met so many people who have reached out and touched my heart. I wait for the mercy that the word YES will have for us.
The NBA incubates new ministries, supporting social entrepreneurs of faith who are serving their communities in a variety of innovative ways and empowering these Disciples-led health and social service projects to focus on growth, impact, and sustainability. Learn more at nbacares.org/incubate