Have you checked out Neighbouring for Life yet? Rick Abma has been working with Karen Wilk, one of our National Team leaders, for several years now. He participated in one of the first Ethos hubs in the Edmonton area and was inspired to make the shift toward joining God in his neighbourhood and inspiring others to do the same. Recently he published a little book which tells of that journey and includes many stories from along the way. As Forge seeks to evoke, equip and encourage Canadian churches toward a more incarnational missional presence in their neighbourhoods, Rick’s stories can inspire and challenge us.
Raised on a dairy farm in British Columbia, the youngest of seven, Rick Abma pursued a college education that brought him into the world of broadcasting. Following his radio career, he entered into full time ministry. After 20 years of ministry in the church, Rick ventured into a full time missionary position that focuses on bringing the “good news” to people right where they live. While understanding the power of loving neighbours in his own back yard, he began to engage in other neighbourhoods. Today, he creates disciples in various other neighbourhoods and works with city leadership. He also roasts and markets, “Good Neighbour Coffee” (which prints true stories on the packaging), and hosts a radio show that features stories from his experiences. In May, 2017, a few businessmen rallied around the vision and opened a new space called, Good Neighbour Coffeehouse in Lacombe, Alberta. This business provides space where neighbourhood leaders can learn from each other and features direct trade, organic coffee from the Honduran farmers that Rick and his family came to know while living there in 2008.
In addition to this, Rick offers free use of his “Neighbourhood Life” travelling trailer BBQ or the “Neighbourhood Life” espresso trike for neighbourhood initiatives. People are generally in disbelief when they see these tools in action, not to mention the disbelief on how refreshing it was to gather with neighbours! As a result, Rick recorded his journey which has now become the book, Neighbouring for Life. The book is filled with stories that follow his transition from the institutional church into the mission of various neighbourhoods.
Paul Born, bestselling author of “Deepening Community,” “Community Conversations” and president of the Tamarack institute says, “Rick is a master story teller who knows more about being a neighbour than anyone I know. This book is a must read for people whose faith compels them to care for others and build deeper relationships. If you want to improve your quality of life, the simplest way is to get to know your neighbours. Rick not only shows you how but his stories will inspire you to actually do it!”
Jim Diers, author of “Neighbor Power” and a well-traveled speaker/activist says, “Rick Abma doesn’t just talk and write about community; he lives it! ‘Neighbouring for Life’ summarizes the valuable lessons he has learned from his experience as a neighbour. Rick argues that community isn’t something we do in our spare time but rather it’s a way of life that can be realized through practice, not programs. His book illustrates this with stories that are as rich and stimulating as the Good Neighbour coffee he roasts.”