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As you may have heard, World Next Door has been undergoing some pretty significant changes over the last couple of months, and I’ve promised to give you more details on what’s going on and where we’re headed.
So let me take a moment to tell you what is next for World Next Door.
By May of 2015, we will be bringing the journalism arm of World Next Door to a close. We will no longer be focusing our energies on writing and photography.
“But wait,” you might ask, “isn’t journalism kind of the entire point of World Next Door?”
Well, sort of. When we started back in 2009, the vision was to use photojournalism and storytelling as a means of getting people engaged with God’s kingdom. What we never expected, however, were all the other ways God would use World Next Door to accomplish that mission.
As a result of our travels, people wanted to have WND team members speak at their churches, or visit small groups, or meet with them individually. We became go-to resources for folks looking to get involved, and even became something of local authorities on topics of injustice and global partnerships.
Sure, some people got involved because of the articles we wrote, but many more jumped in because of our influence, something that had very little to do with photojournalism.
In short, our mission of getting suburban Christ-followers engaged with social justice issues was being accomplished, just not in the way we were spending 90% of our time, energy, and money on.
Combine all of that with some hard realities about our changing readership – decreasing attention spans, a lack of consistent interest in our digital magazine, etc. – and you can see why we decided it was time to realign our priorities.
So, by May of 2015, one of two things is going to happen.
Option 1 is for World Next Door to restructure our ministry and approach our vision in a completely different way. The WND name and brand would continue, but we’d focus our energies on things like short term trip leadership, teaching, discipleship, and global partnership facilitation.
Option 2 would be to bring World Next Door to an end completely, and use the connections, expertise, skills, etc. we’ve built up over the last few years in other ministries or initiatives.
Regardless of which option we go with, I am excited to see what God has next for those of us who have been a part of WND. Even if this ministry does come to a close, I know the stories and friendships and hope God has placed in our hearts over the last six years will continue to be used for the kingdom in powerful ways.
But before either of those options comes to pass, we have three major projects in motion to help us end this season of ministry with a bang.
Project #1 – A new journalism fellow
That’s right! We’re not walking away from the writing and photography game just yet. In fact, we have a fresh new voice on the team. Her name is Sarah Snodgrass, the newest journalism fellow for World Next Door.
Over the next 7-8 months, Sarah will be visiting several of our favorite partner ministries (Mission to Ukraine, New York City Relief, Loving South Africa, and Truthseekers International) to write about their work in classic WND style.
She’s actually already begun. Take a look at this blog (www.worldnextdoor.org) to see her latest compelling articles from Ukraine!
Project #2 – A book
If there is one thing that’s true about the last six years, it’s that I have heard and experienced a ton of amazing stories. I’ve met prophets and orphans and evangelists and widows and pastors and soldiers and servants. I’ve seen the last and least in our world treated like royalty. I’ve seen systemic injustice crumbling at its foundation.
To keep all these stories relegated to some old, dusty blog posts seems like a crime!
So I’m working on a book. I’m going to try to capture the very best stories from my last six years of almost constant travel into one cohesive narrative. I’m going to bring back the “characters” I’ve met over the years and share the many ways my own life has been changed by Christ’s influence in the hopes that my story will be an inspiration to young leaders looking for the courage to take risks for the kingdom.
Project #3 – An event
Finally, we are working behind the scenes to put on an amazing event in the spring. We are hoping to host a WND “summit,” where we will fly in leaders from many of our international partners. We’ll sit at their feet, hear their perspective on the kingdom, and pray and worship alongside them in gratitude for how God is using them.
It’s going to be amazing. More details are coming soon.
So, with all of that in mind, I want to ask you something. Will you help us end this season of ministry on a high note? Will you help us establish a lasting legacy? If so, there are three ways you can help us.
First, if you are an existing financial supporter, will you continue giving to World Next Door? Even though our ministry may be changing, we need your ongoing support to keep the doors open and the lights on!
Second, will you commit to pray for our ministry as we head into this season of transition? My sincere hope is that we can continue making an impact long after WND is gone.
Finally, will you make a special, one-time donation to help cover the costs of the book and event? Right now, we estimate needing $15,000 to get us all the way to May operating at full steam.
I am sure all of this raises questions, so please feel completely free to let me know what, if anything, needs clearing up.
I look forward to seeing what God has next in store for us and I can’t wait to see how the many partnerships we’ve built up over the years continue to develop.
Thanks for being a part of this wild journey!
World Next Door
About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.