We started this series with the question: What does it mean to bring our local churches, communities, and organizations into greater alignment with God’s kingdom priorities? Juan Martinez is a recent Winebrenner graduate who is actively working for the purpose of helping his context look more and more like the Kingdom.
One of the joys of serving as President of Winebrenner Seminary is hearing the stories of God’s redeeming presence in so many lives. With this post we are continuing our celebration of those working as agents of kingdom transformation who find themselves on the front lines of ministry. Today, I have the privilege of sharing a story rooted in discipleship in step with Jesus.
Juan was part of the first cohort of Winebrenner’s training institute at Marion Correctional Institution (MCI). He graduated from the program and completed his sentence. When he was released from MCI in June 2018, Juan took time to pray and discern where he could serve Christ and continue to develop his Winebrenner training. February 2019, he accepted a full-time position as the Director of Communications and Development with Kindway/Embark Prison Ministry near Columbus, Ohio. He emphasizes, “I just want to be where God wants me to be because I’ve spent enough time not being where God wants me.” You can read more about Juan’s story here.
Much like we read in Jesus’ ministry, there are many one on one and interpersonal relationships in Juan’s ministry. His goal is to assist with personal transformation so that those he leads can contribute to the transformation of local ministries and contexts. Like the original disciples of Jesus, Juan is imperfect, but desires to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he leads others. Jesus made Himself real in Juan’s darkest crisis and he desires to be used to develop active agents for God’s kingdom who also make Jesus present in the crises of others. The presence of Christ’s servants directs those in a crisis to God who visited humanity in our crisis; what a message for the Christmas season!
Juan’s desire is to see his personal journey play out in the lives of others where personal transformation directly leads to the transformation of other individuals and organizations. Juan balances invitation and challenge by inviting others to live up to the challenge we read in Scripture.
Throughout this series we are revisiting and updating some student stories from the past few years. In March 2019 we shared the story of Juan Martinez (click here to read more about his life and ministry).