Mockingbird is a ministry that seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in fresh and down-to-earth ways. We do this primarily, but not exclusively, via publications, conferences, and online resources.
Nothing else in the world matters but the kindness of Grace, God’s gift to suffering mortals.
– Jack Kerouac
Mockingbird was founded in June, 2007 in New York City by a small group of friends and colleagues. The initial idea was to reach out to young adults in Manhattan, with a special emphasis on those who considered themselves to have been “burned by the Church.” Over the course of three years in the city, we tried a number of different approaches. We held weekly meetings, worked hand-in-hand with a couple of local churches, started a weblog, launched publishing projects, we even hosted conferences. Essentially, we “threw a lot of stuff at the wall and looked to see what stuck.”
From the beginning, we wanted the flexibility to go where our efforts would take us, that is, where God would lead, rather than push an agenda. We quickly noticed that our resources (the website, the conferences, the publications) were getting the most traction and attention. We also noticed that we were reaching more than young adults, that we had outgrown our initial scope. So we amended our mission to encapsulate what we felt we were actually doing: “connecting the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life.” That is, demonstrating and cataloging the myriad ways in which the Christian understanding of reality – what people are like, what God is like and how the two intersect – is born out all around us. We want to do so in a way that is both comforting and inspiring, taking care along the way to look for new words for the old story.
Behind our entire project lies the conviction that none of us ever move beyond our need to hear the basic good news of God’s Grace. In particular, none of us ever fully escape the gravitational pull of personal control (and anxiety) when it comes to life and how we live it. Hence the name “Mockingbird,” which refers to the curious characteristic of the bird itself: to repeat the message it has heard, over and over again. Our basic approach has not changed.
In 2010, we moved our operations to beautiful (and more affordable) Charlottesville, Virginia, where we are today. We have watched Mockingbird grow steadily. In addition to our annual Spring conference in New York, we now host a rotating Fall conference in the South. We have added new positions and internships, and our catalog of publications has slowly expanded. It has been an adventure thus far, and we have no doubt it will continue to be so. Pray for us!
P.S. Mockingbird has no formal denominational affiliation. And we have, from the start, been funded by the generous gifts of individuals and churches.