Reaching Out Wisely to New Communities: FOCUS
FOCUS ministries invited Arrabon to work with its staff and leadership teams to integrate a more sustainable and hospitable approach to reaching students across racial and ethnic differences.
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FOCUS, a ministry serving independent school communities, partnered with Arrabon to support its commitment to gain greater awareness about how students, staff, and volunteers of color experience their ministry. Arrabon worked closely with FOCUS leadership and staff teams over a few years to offer frameworks and tools to thoughtfully and sustainably reach and care for these students well.
Since 2017, FOCUS had been working to gain greater understanding about the experiences of students, staff, and volunteers of color in its ministry, but it also knew students were still experiencing hurt. Despite a strong initial effort, the leadership team was still feeling under-equipped to reach and minister to these students in the way it desired.
While people of color indicated an overall positive experience with FOCUS, there were clearly instances of hurt or insensitivity and we wanted that to change.”
Arrabon initially led the senior leadership team through its course on Discipling Four Complicated Emotions and later took the staff through a 2-day version of its Foundations training, a group workshop that establishes the biblical foundation for reconciliation, justice, and ethnic identity. It also took key members of the staff and leadership team through a live version of Creating an Action Plan, a group workshop that helps organizations map a plan for change.
Members of the FOCUS leadership team describe their experience with Arrabon as being practically helpful and encouraging. They noted that Arrabon helped name and normalize the challenges the ministry was likely to face and the structures and processes it would need to address those over the long term, but never in a way that felt intimidating or harsh.
Arrabon is especially gracious in walking alongside and helping shepherd organizations like ours through territory that can be unfamiliar and intimidating. They know firsthand how hard it can be to create change, yet they are also genuinely hopeful.”
In 2020 FOCUS was better prepared to respond well to students who were suffering in the wake of racial unrest across the country due to training it had received from Arrabon. Last fall FOCUS spent time developing a theological framework that will guide their ongoing commitments to engage students across a wide range of backgrounds and experience. They have also launched an advisory committee to help shape ongoing, practical efforts in leadership, teaching, worship, relational ministry, welcome and the FOCUS culture.
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