Time flies when you have too much to do.
What in the world have we been doing in the last three weeks? In short, we’ve been laying good foundations.
I read a story recently about a young guy who was helping his dad build a log cabin. He spent days leveling the ground and setting the foundation. When he had finished with the foundation, he confessed to his father that it didn’t seem like he had accomplished very much. There was no house there. Not even a frame. Just level ground. His father replied: “Don’t worry; you’ve already done most of the hard work.”
I’ve been feeling like the son this month. I find it hard sometimes to push ahead in mission when I’m not seeing the house going up before my eyes. I’ve been eager to get right to hanging out with lost people. I want to start a house church. I want to throw some parties in the community. I want to initiate some justice projects.
But we’ve been trying to build good foundations: whether it be working agreements, staff covenants, office policies, financial systems, cultural research, vision and values, task lists or time lines. I suspect that foundation-laying will be a common theme not just in the next month, but in the next year. Pray for us as we seek to be fully present in the important work of starting well and laying good foundations—especially when we might be distracted from it by other good things.
I am excited because our people time will start to pick up significantly in the next month. On Wednesday, we’re hosting a dessert party to get to know our neighbors. Pray that someone comes; we’re trusting that God’s Spirit is already at work in the people who’ll be there. This night is the continuation of a weekly hospitality rhythm that the Porches and Kisers have started as a way of connecting with new people.
Another night of the week we plan on hanging out in local social hubs—restaurants, coffee shops and pubs (that’s right, I said it—did I mention that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?). McKinney Avenue, from Pearl to Blackburn, is in many ways the social epicenter of Uptown.
God has also connected us with some well-connected people—which is huge. One such person has invited us as guests to some significant organization meetings in the community. Pray that God will raise up other ‘people of peace’ who will open doors for the good news.
One last thing: I was eating lunch in West Village one day and wandered over to the Magnolia Theater, a place that shows independent films. I picked up an informational pamphlet inside and was ecstatic to read the following:
Play your XBOX, PS2 or GameCube on the big screen.
Call for rates, times and locations.
Can you say connective event #1? (And if it weren’t for our wives, #2, #3, #4. . .) One local told us that if we hosted a Guitar Hero party we’d have tons of people show up. Guess I’ll be getting the guitar accessory.
On another note, I went with a good friend to the Deep Shift conference this weekend to hear Brian McLaren. It was hosted by the Cliff Temple Baptist Church in North Oak Cliff. He presented ideas from his new book Everything Must Change. It’s a must read for anyone interested in how the gospel addresses the global crises of our time. I’m sure I’ll post more later about it.
I’m up for guitar hero! Send me an invite.
Yours is a good reminder to me to not be distracted from the best thing by those things that are good.
I would be very interested to hear what purposeful “hanging out” at pubs, restaurants etc. will look like for you and your team. It sounds like something any Christian, church planting or not, should be doing.
ahh, finally a way to play xbox while doing ministry. dreams really do come true.
praying for you guys.
Several of us from around the blogsphere are reading “Everything Must Change” together and discussing our thoughts. We’ve just begun, but we’ve set it up in a way where it’s never to late to participate.
If you have any interest, you can visit us at:
Chan and I are praying for your ministry in Dallas. It is on our hearts often.
We love you guys!
Just noticed a link to your blog on Jen Hutch’s… it’s good to see pics of Ryan and hear that God has done so much in establishing your ministry since I last checked in. I used to check Julie’s blog occasionally, but I quit because I felt like I was stalking since she doesn’t really know me. She’s such a warm, intimate person; I always felt like I was crashing a party of good friends or something. I didn’t realize that Claudia (Stockstill) is a part of your church-planting team. Did you know we knew each other as kiddies in Kentucky? Dan Stockstill used to be the youth minister at my home congregation when I was in elementary school. I’m older than Claudia, though… I was better friends with Daisha. Anyway, just neat how Christians have common connections all over the world. I’m praying for your ministry. You were born to preach, brother!
P.S. As for the pics of your house… where’s the red couch??? I remember visiting you in Searcy right after y’all got married and you had the coolest red couch EVER. I wanted a red couch ever since seeing yours!