Why Something Different Ministries?

January 24, 2014

Something Different Ministries

Spreading the Good News by creating good news.

Something Different Ministries founders Stacey & J.R. AtkinsFor months now my husband and I have been praying for guidance from God for our mission for the next 50 years of our lives. Since finishing my Masters of Theological Studies in May of 2012,  I have felt very uncomfortable when people ask what I do. I have been searching for what is next in my life.  While pursuing the degree I had it in my mind that I wanted to create a travel ministry to sacred places. During the 2 years I was in seminary I had the good fortune to be able to travel to Israel and Palestinian Territories with my husband twice. I was also able to go to Geneva, Switzerland to study the Reformation and visit the World Council of Churches. Upon leaving Switzerland we went to Taize’, France and spent a week at the monastery there. We learned a style of worship that was contemplative in nature. That really helped me learn to listen for God to speak to me. I have often had a hard time finding the silence which allows me to communicate on a deep level. What I learned has changed my life. I learned that God’s voice is all around me all the time. It is not only in the silence that he speaks. He quite often speaks through my husband’s voice to me. Of course he speaks to me when I read his Word.

Last night, however, God kept me awake talking non-stop about a ministry he asked me to create with him and my husband, as well as anyone else we can partner with to create our own unique ministry that draws on not only my gifts and talents (as well as those of my husband), but also on my areas of interest and passion. I kept thinking and sitting up to type notes into my iPad then laying back down again to continue the conversation. It was all I could do not to jump up and down and sing for joy, but I didn’t want to disturb my husband sleeping beside me.

J.R. (my husband) and I had been praying for direction for over a year and were really struggling while waiting on God. In September of 2013 J.R. asked me after church one Sunday, how I would feel about surrendering everything to God. He meant moving out of our home, selling lots of our “stuff”, quitting my job and going to live with his parents in Central Texas.  I didn’t have to think long about it because (as often happens to us) I had thought the same thing recently. Within a month our home was on its way to being leased and we were moved into his parents’ 3 bedroom 2 bath house with 5 adults, 2 kids on weekends (sometimes more kids are here), 3 dogs, 3 indoor cats, 2 horses and numerous outdoor cats. This allowed us to reduce our expenses and obligations to be ready for our next stage of life, what ever God asked of us.

We were a little concerned before we moved if we would find the support system in the community that we craved. The first Sunday we were there we went to the First United Methodist Church for services. It was commitment Sunday and we felt moved to make a monthly giving pledge. There was a Harvest covered dish dinner that day after the service and we went to the lunch. Everyone was very welcoming and made us feel a part of the church. Later in the week we met with the minister and decided to become members of the church that upcoming Sunday. Since that day we have joined the church choir and the community choir, the local fitness club and a nearby yacht club. We have easily found our way into the community life here in a small town area.

J.R. Atkins relys on his Bible & Journal for guidance

The only piece missing has been a predictable stream of income. We have been struggling yet at the same time relying on God to care for us. God has consistently brought income into our lives just in the nick of time. It has been just enough to stay afloat, but not enough to catch up, get ahead or plan our finances. Every morning we share what we are grateful for that day, read the Bible and then share what we each need to pray about. For so long now our prayers could almost be “Good morning Lord, ditto on yesterday’s prayers.” The ditto being we need to find a way to bring in some consistent income, and for me personally, “what do you want me to do with my life now?”

So back to last night (or rather, early this morning). God asked me to create a ministry that would encompass all of my interests which quite often coincide with J.R.’s. We will become a ministry team. J.R. has been asked to work with a non-profit called Compassion Creates Change (CCC)as part of his business, Something Different Companies. Specifically he is working with the director to create a social media presence and market their mission. They are taking a group to Nigeria this March and really want J.R. to go with them as their media and mass communications person.  It is a great opportunity for J.R. to help with God’s work and CCC but we need the money to pay his way. That was when God gave me the ideas on how to raise the money through this ministry.

Something Different Ministries combines our interests, talents, experience, education and desires to serve God. It also provides the structure to raise money for the many projects God has inspired in us. Here are just a few:

  • Host trips to the Holy Land for others to experience the spiritual growth of walking in Jesus footstepsExploring workshop locations in the BVI
  • Hold local, low cost, short Spiritual Growth workshops
  • Host retreats in the British Virgin Islands where we work with local islanders as we sail to a different island each day
  • Attend a Spiritual Academy which is a 2 year commitment to invest in God, ourselves, our church and our new ministry
  • Plant travel ministries in Churches, a 2 year commitment for each Church
  • Host Voluntourism trips where participants visit new places as tourist yet volunteer for service projects while they are there
  • Write and distribute adult spiritual education material

As we launch this new ministry, we welcome your comments, your prayers, your inspiration, your service and your gifts.

 

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