Tim Captain is the thoughtful and courageous pastor of First Christian Church. The congregation is located in National City, home to a lot of heavy industry related to the naval shipyards. Decades of pollution has stained this part of San Diego. Asthma rates are among the highest in the state. National City triples in population during the work day. This is clearly a challenging environment to lead a church that seeks to be Christ’s hands and feet.
As an alumnus of our Collective Academy, Tim has been putting into action what he has been learning. In this screenshot below, he returns to teach a session on how he helps his congregation envision ways they can flourish National City. The session is about four pathways that people and churches should consider to live out their faith: Bloom, Volunteer, Start, Join.
In this post, there is only room to talk about how the church started something new. In short, they looked at the equity it had in their property and looked at the need of their community. Eventually they landed on converting their underutilized education facility into an early childhood learning center. Helping kids early in life has some of the greatest lasting impact for impoverished communities.
Adventure Point is now the newest and largest in National City. Despite the challenges, they were able to serve the day care needs of essential workers throughout the pandemic. They did this safely and responsibly. The church, through Adventure Point, has also been intentional in its hiring. They have been able to provide employment to 13 women of color within the center.
This effort to start a new initiative was not without risk, cost, and headaches. As you might imagine, finishing the construction and opening the school in the midst of a pandemic had its challenges. But there is a quality to the Christian life that suggests that a purposeful disadvantaging of self, out of love, in view of God’s grace, for the sake of others is good and right.
Would he do it again? “Yes,” he replied by text.¹ Not just because it helps kids get a great start in life. Not just because of the opportunity to provide meaningful work. Not just because there is now an additional revenue stream for the church… I suspect he would do it because that’s what the people of God are for. We are to steward the capital (human, financial, relational, etc.) of the church in ways that give a foretaste of the Kingdom and its King, while also being an instrument and agent of gospel renewal in the here and now.
It is a delight to work with pastors like Tim. I’m grateful for his willingness to share his own pastoral “A-ha’s” from his association with Flourish San Diego. I’m even more appreciative of his contribution to our work of supporting pastors and church planters around their personal growth and their professional development.
¹”…but I would have prepared the church and myself differently for the sometimes painful process of becoming a more faithful presence.” (Did I mention he was thoughtful and courageous?)