Many people think of San Diego as “America’s Finest City” with its great beaches, the zoo, the Gaslamp Quarter, and Balboa Park.
But there’s another side to this city that we sometimes miss. San Diego is a border city. Its economy, its social structure, and its politics are inextricably linked with its sister city—Tijuana—just to the south. These two diverse mega cities straddling the most trafficked border in the world create a very complex, and unique metropolis.
The city’s majority population is non-white, non-middle class. They often work 2 to 3 jobs a day to survive and rarely visit the places that tourists enjoy every day. San Diego is also one of the United States’ designated sanctuary cities. There are significant refugee populations from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia sprinkled throughout the city’s downtown neighborhoods, and these groups all face significant challenges.
San Diego is also one of our country’s major sex trafficking gateway cities. Thousands of young women, many of them underage, are smuggled into San Diego every year from Mexico City via Tijuana. They come from places like Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America. They are drugged, sold, enslaved, and often housed in buildings many of us may have walked past but have never noticed.
There is also a young, vibrant, artistic culture in both San Diego and Tijuana that is challenging the air-brushed image the city planners wish to cultivate and is exposing people to both truth and beauty.
The legal border between the United States and Mexico lies 15 miles south of the city center, but the real border lies about 1500 yards south of downtown where cultures from around the world collide. These are the neighborhoods we believe God is calling us to move into, to serve, and from within to develop young missional leaders to send out across town or across the world.
In the fall of 2008 three families moved into the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego to start NieuCommunities. Today the community is over 20 people from diverse backgrounds, with diverse abilities, and all at different stages of submerging into the city. These are some of the areas we have begun to engage and are pursuing as a community:
-Mentoring refugee families
-Coaching inner-city youth in soccer and basketball
-Offering missional training for other leaders in the city
-Serving with like-minded leaders in Mexico
-Granting micro-loans for refugees to start businesses
-Creating new art/craft collectives for our neighborhood
Derek & ChrisTiana Rice
David & Holly Jauregui
Todd & Jenna Rubie
Shaun & Maria Sheahan
On the Web
Known as the “International City”, Long Beach is rich with cultural, socio-economic, generational, and ethnic diversity. In 2000, it was determined to be the third most diverse city in the US. This melting pot has become home to cultural creatives and immigrants alike, all who are seeking meaning and purpose in life.
Why Long Beach?
Historically Long Beach has been known as a challenging place to advance the Gospel because of its liberal values and tightly-knit marginalized affinity groups. The :Beta: Long Beach team is convinced, however, that God is moving towards people in Long Beach in a powerful way. The vision of unearthing this work is what attracted them to plant and minister here.
The community is embedded in Rose Park, a neighborhood set between the businesses of downtown on one side and the state university on the other. "Retro Row", a strip that local hipsters consider the place to be, is the gathering place of the neighborhood. Artists, young professionals, retired CEO's, and individuals in rehab all call Rose Park home, beautifully reflecting the diversity of the city.
The Long Beach community is comprised of individuals with diverse backgrounds, unique journeys with Jesus, and a variety of training, but we all share a common desire to help those who are hungry for Jesus to find him. The ways we walk with people in the city and shepherd them towards Jesus include:
• Being in intentional relationships with those who are seeking God and/or spiritual direction
• Mentoring and coaching Christian leaders in the city
• Partnering with local churches to equip their congregations to make disciples in their context
• Offering healing prayer to those who are searching for more wholeness
• Facilitating workshops on beauty to women coming out of sex trafficking, homelessness, and substance abuse
• Doing life coaching with people as they work towards goals to grow in their own life or serve in their city
• Helping people identify and walk out their calling
We long to see every neighborhood of Long Beach touched with the gospel and to form thriving communities of faith that are discipling other people to Jesus.
Simultaneously, we are committed to apprentice and empower a new generation of missional leaders who will engage their context and bring reconciliation and hope to their neighbors and transformation to their cities.
Travis & Christin Collins
Alan & Anna Mullikin
On the Web
Málaga’s history spans over 2800 years making it one of the oldest cities in the world, rich in culture and tradition. It has experienced a long history of conflict and oppression. After the Franco regime fell in 1975, the once heavily dominated Catholic nation began pursuing their new personal freedoms with gusto. Spain has been reported as becoming one of the most progressive and socially audacious states, and one of the least religious places in Europe as seeing the church as a guide for moral values.
It is a people who put strong identity in family, relationships, and their local neighborhoods. Most would claim to be Catholic, but only a small percentage attend religious functions. The evangelical church registers at less than 1%, and like much of the world, there is an ever-growing influence of Islam.
God has led us to the barrio, or neighborhood, of El Palo. It once was a simple fishing village that has grown to become an influential neighborhood in Málaga. It sits along the Mediterranean in the south of Spain, and houses most of the Spanish language schools that attract young students from all over Europe. This particular area of Malaga has kept much of its Spanish identity, and at night you can find many young people hanging around the small harbors, passing time together.
Our hope is to be a redemptive presence in our city as we develop leaders and invest in those who have yet to follow Jesus with their lives. We see this accomplished through the platform of living in and serving out of intentional community.
• Lives within close proximity, focusing on common neighbors, friends, and places of influence
• Shares meals together regularly - one of the ways we create opportunities to welcome neighbors, strangers, and friends into our lives
• Develops others through coaching and mentoring relationships
• Roots itself in prayer and the study of scripture
• Offers missional training for others in the city
Deric & Amber Moen
Jeff & Jennifer Ott
On the Web
Omaha is a surprising city. In its own unassuming way, the city is progressive, diverse and fun, while at the same time rooted in history and a pioneering strength.
:Beta:'s community here has embedded in the neighborhood of Gifford Park. It is an old neighborhood with a rich tradition—the main intersection was a major trading post during the westward expansion of the United States—but it captures the essence of the city’s look to the future. It is the most racially diverse neighborhood in the city, is densely populated, and has a deep love for urban farming, local entrepreneurship, community gardens, sustainability, and investing in the future of the city.
Our community is invested deeply in the life of our neighborhood. We partner with the Gifford Park Neighborhood Association to volunteer at the community garden, serve on the board, start a youth soccer program, and build relationships with the numerous refugees and immigrants who make their home here. Each month we invite friends and neighbors into our homes as a place to deepen the relationships we’ve built. From these interactions we have the privilege to walk with, pray with, and encourage a wide array of people some of whom are taking steps to follow Jesus. We also have the privilege to invest in influential leaders in the city through coaching and Life Compass workshops, as well as networking with other ministry leaders to pray for the city.
As we look to the future, we are asking God to multiply disciples of Jesus throughout Omaha who will live as "Kingdom Family" and embed the Gospel in their own neighborhoods.
Brandon and Megan Sperry
Eric & Lisa Purcell
On the Web
Founded in April 2013, :Beta:'s community in Chattanooga, Tennessee is situated in the beautiful urban neighborhood of East Lake. Years ago, this was a vibrant community of business, neighborly-spirit, and beautiful parks all around. Today, in a lot of ways, it is a last stop for many broken people.
The neighborhood is comprised of a large Latino population, marginalized African- American minority, and many people who have lived in East Lake for over 30 years. We know that God has been at work here for many years, and it is our pleasure and honor to join Him in the work He is already doing.
We are so fortunate to be in East Lake because of the open canvas we have before us in which we get to watch and listen as God works. Our community is already involved in the neighborhood in many ways, some of which involve literacy tutoring at a local elementary school and investing in an after school program called Saving Our Boys, which helps develop young urban boys in the areas of reading, physical education, and practical life skills.
We plan to increase our presence in the neighborhood through community events centered in the park, block parties, art initiatives, and community gardens. Through this involvement we will build relationships and intentionally place ourselves in connection with our neighbors, from which we will introduce people to Jesus and walk alongside them as His disciples. We are watching God's Kingdom come.
In the next five years we hope to see numerous new intentional communities started in neighborhoods around Chattanooga, with the gospel going out and disciples being made.
Bob & Cristi Sloan
On the Web