GenSend Summer: San Diego
GenSend Summer is designed to be one of the most exciting, intense and unique student missionary experiences in North America. It immerses young adults into a context where they gain practical knowledge of the realities of missions and leadership. Participants will spend their time learning to live life on mission under the guidance of local practitioners, compassion ministry leaders and church planters in a major city, on a college campus or at a Send Relief Ministry Center. While reinforcing gospel foundations and simple outreach practices, the intention of summers is to be an extension of the local church’s planting and mercy and compassion efforts.
San Diego is a metropolitan area with all the amenities of a sophisticated city and all the charms of a small town. With an average of 201 days above 70 degrees per year, the weather alone makes it a place people want to call home. Situated along the bay, it has been called “America’s hometown” and “America’s Finest City.”
The economy is built around research, technology, universities and tourism, and the Navy has had a long relationship with the city due to the deep natural harbor along the Pacific Ocean. Situated just north of the Mexican border and the city of Tijuana, the city also has an international border feel and a large Hispanic presence. Church plants are working on ways to connect with scientists, students, military, non-English speaking residents and others who have not heard the good news in San Diego’s neighborhoods.
The area is currently home to 203 Southern Baptist congregations, so there is only one church for every 16,344 residents.
With only 9.8 percent of the area’s 3.3 million people claiming to be evangelicals, the Church has an incredible opportunity to make an impact here. Though intellectualism, consumerism and a worship of recreation are part of the hurdles for church planters, creative approaches to ministry and grass roots efforts are proving successful. For example, one church plant is reaching fitness enthusiasts with a pastor and staff of fitness professionals. There’s room here—and a great need—for partnerships in the gospel movement.