A letter from Justin Gerry, Edge’s 22016 Coordinator of Spiritual Care & Formation
Stepping into the Role
After returning from Edge Project 2015, Arianna asked me to pray about stepping into the role of Edge Coordinator of Spiritual Care & Formation.
Edge Project Summer 2015 marked my fourth time assisting with the project. I have watched it grow from a vision in Steven and Arianna’s heart while they were still serving in Germany, to what it matured into in 2015 — an effective discipleship experience that transforms lives, equips servants, and promotes vision for sharing His Kingdom.
I enjoy watching what the Lord does in the lives of each participant each time I get to be a part of it. The work is real and personal and transforming. My heart is to see Edge Project become more than a summer experience. It seems that there were a number of leaders and participants during Edge Project 2015 that sensed that the Lord could effectively reach Altea with called and committed individuals who could remain more long-term. While I do not necessarily see myself being a part of anything long-term in Altea, my heart and experience as a missionary, church planter, mentor, and pastor get excited at the possibility of Edge project leaving its mark in a more permanent way upon the lives and streets of Altea.
Leading His People
Recently I was reading in the book of Joshua. The Lord was leading His people into the land He had promised. While Moses had had the initial calling, he was no longer in the picture. But Joshua, who had worked with Moses for so long, was now the one to help the people enter the land God had promised to them. In this I was reminded of Steven’s years of faithfulness and vision regarding Edge Project and Spain. And though he is no longer involved in the work, there may be others He desires to lead into that land, building upon the foundation laid by the Caligiuri family. I sense I may be the “Joshua” this year to help lead those in whom He is calling to be a part of Edge Project 2016.
2 Areas of Focus
In these two areas my heart is being stirred as this year’s Edge Coordinator and Spiritual Care & Formation.
To coordinate the Edge program & staff for summer 2016. This would be deciding the spiritual theme, the staffing, intern program, and the actual on the ground schedule in Spain. Arianna will continue coordinating Edge Operations as a whole with the non-profit stateside and consult for the project in Spain. She could offer to be there for staff orientation/debriefing, possibly the first week of Edge as an intro for the Edgies to EP and cultural immersion.
To be the point person to whom to refer all the young men (& women) who have a desire for leadership in Edge and to mentor, guide, and direct them.
As I pray about Edge 2016, the Lord keeps drawing my eyes and heart to beyond the summer. In this, it would be my desire to choose a theme and vision for the summer that would be a springboard and catalyst for His work to continue beyond. As I pray about a theme, Edge Project 2016 may be called to focus on the theme of “Foundation”. The scriptures speak much of foundations. There are the foundations of faith in Jesus Christ, the foundation of listening and hearing and obeying the word of God, the foundations that are shaken in times of testing. I am praying in the direction that Edge 2016 would be about learning about and establishing foundations.
For the outward focus of ministering to Altea as a missions outreach, I see “foundations” as equipping the students to lay a Biblical foundation for church and ministry. I am considering using the Book of Acts as our textbook for our ministry and cross-cultural model for the summer (much as we used the Gospel of Mark in Edge 2015). We would explore how the first disciples ministered, what church meant to them, and how they sought to reach the world around them. For the interns and potential team members who the Lord may call back at some point to work in Spain, this Biblical model will give them a solid foundation for church planting and cross-cultural ministry. For the other Edge participants, this will allow us each to come back to a place of simplicity in our personal ministries and understanding of Christ’s church, as we seek to explore ministering the Holy Spirit’s way.
For the inward focus of transformation for the Edge participants, the focus would be on exploring the “foundations” of our relationships with God. If Weyman and Susan attend and teach Love Works, I can see their material fitting in perfectly as they explore love being the basis and foundation of everything we are and all that we do. In the area of personal formation, the individual discipleship and mentoring that takes place is invaluable and most effective with leaders whose giftings foster getting to the foundations of each person’s gifts, callings, and story and helping them to discern God’s voice in how to build upon that foundation.
As for the practical ministry of reaching Altea both in the summer and in the long term, leading and mentoring the students in cross-cultural experiences and in using their art as a platform for outreach is a key component of Edge Project and the latter is a great model for making connections with the those we seek to reach in a city like Altea. In addition, I am praying about integrating some things into the 4-week Edge Project to give the participants the experience of the foundational stages of a church plant. These could includes things like a series of focused prayer walks as we intercede for the city and lay a spiritual foundation for a future work to take place there. Also, since the vision is also to see a house church begin, it might be beneficial to involve the students in hosting and leading model house churches as part of the heartbeat and model of Edge Project — destructuring church as they know it and letting them experience and lead church in its simplest form which is a key stage in any church plant. I believe these parts of the program would benefit all Edge participants and prove fruitful in any spiritual community they are involved with beyond Edge — either back in the U.S., in Altea, or somewhere else in the world.
As for being the point person for those interested in leading in Edge project and beyond, I trust the Lord will call together those whom He desires to be a part of what He desires to do. Each year the leadership is different, but each year it seems perfect for what God plans to do in Altea and in the lives of those who participate. In addition, as someone who has watched and participated in Edge Project at key points as it has grown and developed, I share the heartbeat of Edge. As I pair that with my personal experience of ministry and church planting cross culturally at a young age, I would love to be available to help guide those whom God may be inviting to be a part of great things in Spain beyond Edge.
That’s a bit of my heart and vision as I continue to pray and seek Him for my role in all that He is doing with Edge Project. I’ve also shared with Arianna that there are other aspects of our life, family, and ministry that we will need to take into account as the year goes forward. She can see me filling many of the roles she asked me to step into even if it means that I can’t commit to be in Spain this summer the entire time. But for now, we pray in that direction.