From the Hood to Disneyland… What? An Iverson Update
This fall Danny Starts classes at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL. We plan on being there for three years and coming back to Newark to plant more churches. We will still be working for Safe Haven…. read on to learn more about this new season in our lives.
What is going on? The Iversons are leaving Newark?
For a season… Let me explain… A year and a half or so ago, at my sister’s wedding, my grandfather, dad, and uncles challenged us to start praying about going to seminary, leaving Safe Haven in good hands, and finishing my Master’s of Divinity. It seemed a bit crazy at the time but as we prayed God gave us a vision of the future He has for us in Newark. It involves seeing what He has done at Trinity Church being duplicated around the city. I started praying hard and looking into church planting movements and realized how little church planting was happening in Newark. I realized (and continue to realize) that I have a passion and gifting for starting things, whether businesses or ministries, and that God wants to use that for bringing forth His Kingdom here. I see the wisdom of the many mentors in my life who are encouraging me to withdraw from this place that is so dear to us, become better equipped for long term strategic ministry, and return to Newark with a team, a plan, and a deeper passion to see the city redeemed. July 16th we pack up and move, with great sorrow in leaving a community full of people we have come to deeply love, but with great joy and expectation already in what is going to happen when we return in three years.
So Why Orlando? Trust me, it is not to see Mickey Mouse. Three main reasons helped us make this choice.
- Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) is considered one of the best seminaries in our country teaching scripture from the Reformed perspective. My father graduated from an RTS campus in Jackson, Mississippi, and my brother, Jon, graduated from the Orlando campus, where my brother-in-law and other friends are currently attending as well. RTS gave us an awesome scholarship, has wonderful professors, some who are also family friends, and will challenge me academically like I have never been challenged before.
- Family! This is a huge reason for choosing Orlando. My sister Sara-Beth, her husband, Eric, and their three beautiful girls are there. They are hoping to do overseas missions after Eric finishes at RTS. This may be our last time to spend some time with them before we go our separate ways to do Kingdom work. That is very important to us.
- There will be many opportunities to recruit churches, students and businesses to be involved in Safe Haven. As many of you know, I like to network, and I love spreading the passion God has given me for His glory displayed through the redemption happening in Newark. I love inviting people to participate with God and us in this mission, whether it be supporting us from afar, coming on a short term team, interning or becoming long term ministry partners. There are over 40,000 college students 3 miles from the seminary, lots of great churches, and I have hundreds of students at RTS to get to know and dream with about future ministry. It seems like the best place to grow a team for the vision God has given us.
How will your family be supported?
Well, that is where the faith comes in for us. I will continue to be the executive director for Safe Haven, but my focus will switch to more fundraising and networking as well as strategic planning and leadership development of the amazing staff God has raised up. That being said, if you are currently financially supporting our ministry, we ask you to kindly continue. If you would like to join our support team please visit www.safehaven911.com.
NEW IVERSON BOY
Our 4th child is due Sept. 18th, our 6th year anniversary. We usually like surprises, but since we were leaving and wanted our community to know what was cooking in the oven…we found out ahead of time. We are naming him Benjamin Zion. This has been the hardest pregnancy yet for us, (more for Kimberly) but God has been so faithful in getting us through. People from our community and surrounding partner churches have really stepped up to bless us. Last month Kimberly had a three week spell where she was on bed rest. My sister Hannah (19) came up to nanny and help us. It was a blessing. Please continue to pray for us as we say our goodbyes, move to Orlando, and begin a very different type of life than what we are accustomed to.
Last November I (Danny) started writing a book entitled “Spend Yourself.” It is primarily stories as well as some deep thoughts about how the Gospel is actualized in our lives as we radically seek to enter into, engage, and “spend ourselves” on redeeming the brokenness of this world. Most of it is coming from the perspective of serving the poor, broken and marginalized of this community, but there are many applications and challenges to all to live Christ-centered, Gospel powered, radical and faith-filled lives for God’s Glory and the joy of others. I have a good chunk of the manuscript done and am hoping to begin submitting proposals to publishers this summer. Please pray for focus as I finish it, and God’s leading and purpose for it as we seek to distribute it to encourage God’s people.
Safe Haven has launched three new websites to help people connect with the redemption happening in Newark. Please check them out, sign up for the Safe Haven News Letter and join the missions network if you like.
Safe Haven Homepage: www.safenewark.org
Donation Page www.safehaven911.com
A missions blog/social network where I will be posting my blog. writings and resources for missions. www.spendyourself.org.
How will the ministry Transition?
By God’s Grace, of course, and with the amazing team he has raised up to carry on the work in the community…
As we prepare to transition out of Newark, we can not help but feel sorrow. This has been our home for so long and we love our community more than we ever imagined possible… Leaving is going to be hard. We have many nights of weeping; praying and asking God if He is sure this is a good idea to leave this ministry into which we have poured ourselves. He continues to lead and show us that this is the season for us to step away to prepare and become better equipped for the future ministry in Newark to which He is calling us. We feel a strong burden to church plant in Newark after seminary and will be using this time away to effectively plan, raise up a team and become better trained in taking a city for the Glory of God and the joy of all people. We thank you all for your prayers and support and we ask that you continue to step up and support this ministry, especially in this season of transition. We couldn’t have come this far without God leading each of you to partner with us in His mission to redeem Newark by redeeming the next generation. Thank you and we love you.
For the King and the Kingdom,