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Neighborhood Seminary's Pursuit of Nurturing Community

Neighborhood Seminary brings the love of God to the home, school, neighborhood, workplace, and world.

  • Our vision is for God’s liberating, reconciling, forgiving, and healing love to become flesh and blood and move into the neighborhood through the church.

  • Our method reflects a new, holistic vision of theological education in which all God’s people learn together through both online and contextual in-person engagement and are called to participate in God's mission in the neighborhood.

  • Our curriculum moves from imago dei (the image of God) to missio dei (the mission of God) and returns repeatedly to God’s loving work in and for the neighborhoods of our world.

  • Our goal is to seamlessly integrate theological, spiritual, and missional formation for head, heart, and hands and to partner with God in the way of making all things new in the neighborhoods we call home.

Neighborhood is that essential space where we “live, move, and have our being.” We believe that God intends for neighborhoods to flourish and become beloved communities in which all people thrive. We are convinced that a seminary should be a place of theological reflection, spiritual formation, and missional engagement. Each of these critical elements shapes and is shaped by the others holistically. We seek both to explore and to embody the central features of life lived in and for God, including our common quest for peace, justice, and equity in our world. Three pursuits, in particular,

support the culture and curriculum of Neighborhood Seminary: nurturing community,

embodying good news, and cultivating shalom. Today, we will look more closely at nurturing community.

Nurturing Community

Guiding Scripture: God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature” (Gen 1:26 MSG).

Key Theological Concepts: The Triune God is community – a matrix of relationships. God creates community. We image God by nurturing communities that help neighborhoods to flourish. In these neighborhoods God distributes gifts to help the community develop and grow in love. God is already in the neighborhood, wherever people and systems are contributing to human and environmental flourishing.

God is already in the neighborhood .....

Key Missional Practices: We nurture loving and honorable relationships with God, others, self, and creation, thereby fostering community in the neighborhood. We emphasize and steward neighborhood strengths rather than perceived deficits (asset-based community development), all of which requires cultural humility and respect.

We emphasize and steward neighborhood strengths rather than perceived deficits, all of which require cultural humility and respect.

Key Spiritual Practices: We nurture our relationship with the Triune God through lectio divina (sacred reading). The practice of lectio liberatio (liberative reading) re-centers our lives on the revolutionary path of freedom and healing we pursue with Jesus and our neighbors. These practices enable our relationship with God to grow and elicit God’s gifts as neighbors share and steward their strengths.

These practices enable our relationship with God to grow ....

Neighborhood Seminary welcomes a broader conversation about the pursuit of nurturing community. As we continue to reflect on how we personally and communally understand nurturing community, we will recognize our growing edges in this endeavor, generative questions will arise, and possibilities imagined as we grow in knowing God, loving God, and our neighbors.

We invite you to join us in this conversation. Let us know your thoughts and questions by leaving a comment on this blog.

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