Dear Dunwoody Community Church,
To all the Lord’s people who find themselves journeying with our church family, whether you have been there for two weeks or twenty years. To those who are saints, sinners, seekers or skeptics. Whether you are filled up, fed up or messed up. Regardless if you are a recovering addict or a recovering Pharisee. To those who are in the desert and to those who are in the Promise Land. Whether you’re a toddler or a teenager. Regardless if you are single, married, divorced, widowed or anything in between. Whether you are giving it your all or having nothing at all. To those who are Republican or Democrat, charismatic or conservative. Whether you’re a Catholic or Protestant, Baptist or Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican or Episcopalian…..
Grace and Peace to you in the name of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
First, a word to those who have been around awhile. It’s no secret that these last few years have been characterized by challenges, trials and transitions. And I can only imagine that many of you who have stuck it out through it all, have probably thought to yourself at one point or another, “Really? Again? Can I really go through this again?” And just in case there’s any anxiety creeping into your heart, let me reassure you, this not another one of “those” letters. Rather this is a letter to mark a moment in our church’s life and history. It’s a moment for us as a church to pay attention and call attention.
Second, a quick word to those that are relatively new. Welcome! We are glad that you have decided to see what our church family is all about. And in the spirit of full disclosure, let me just say, we are not a church that has it all “figured out” by any means. In fact, the Lord has shown us over the past few years that we definitely don’t have it figured out. During the last few weeks the staff has been saying, “It feels like we are creating a culture of incompetency.” And while we say that jokingly and lightheartedly, there are days it feels like none of us knows what we are doing, but then we are reminded God does. He knows exactly what He is doing and we rest in that.
Also, over the last few years, we have come to realize that life in community is challenging and messy. In order to live in true community, it requires that we die to ourselves and our desires and submit to one another. As leaders of the church, God is teaching us to lead in that fashion, and it’s hard. In a sense it’s like leading through dying. But in the midst of the mess, and in the midst of our death, we also know that God gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. So, we hope that you will stick around and take this journey with us.
Finally, a word to everyone. This is a new day in our church family. It’s a new season. A season that is not defined by our past, but a season that anticipates our future. It’s a season full of questions, dreams and possibilities. What is God going to do in and through our tiny little church? What are the things that we are going to witness? Where and when will the Kingdom come crashing in? The sky’s the limit to what God can and will do. We are entering into a new chapter in our church’s story. And we are invited to step in this story with great anticipation and expectation.
Why? Because God is already doing great things!
God is up to something in Dunwoody Community Church. I say “in Dunwoody Community Church” rather than “at Dunwoody Community Church” to remind ourselves that the church is not the building or the place where we meet. Rather, it’s the people who gather there that make up the church. And it’s evident, after the last few weeks, that God is doing all kinds of stuff in all of our lives. Some of it is subtle. Some of it sensational. But all of it is significant.
Over the last few weeks as I have reflected on where we are as a church family, there are two passages of scripture that come to mind. The first is 1 Kings 17. Two weeks ago I preached the story of God calling Elijah to hide out by the river. While he hides, God provides him with food from the ravens. I believe that is a good picture of what God is currently doing in our body. He has called us by the river to rest, recover and be renewed. He wants to tend to us. He wants to provide for us through supernatural means. And He wants to prepare us. He does have significant things for us to do. But for the time being He has called us to just be.
The other passage of scripture that comes to mind are the first two chapters in the book of Acts. In these two chapters, we see a small group of Jesus followers gathered together waiting and praying. Jesus has told them to wait in anticipation for the Spirit which He will send them. However, they have no idea what exactly they are waiting for or when it will come. But they are eagerly expecting what God has for them. And in their expectancy they are waiting and praying. As a church, I sense that we are also expectant. God seems to be readying us for what He has in store for us. However, we aren’t quite sure what that is, nor do we know when it will come, but in our expectancy we too wait and pray.
Lastly, a word about Sunday. In both of the stories above what directly follows the waiting, staying and praying, is a manifestation of God’s supernatural power. And as Jeff preached on Sunday, and according to the stories that were shared, God’s power is definitely at work in our church. In my five years journeying with our church family, I have never experienced a service like we experienced on Sunday. Never. It seemed like the veil between heaven and earth was incredibly thin. So much so, that while I was praying for people and reaching out my hand to lay on their shoulders, my hand was crossing the plane of the earthly into the heavenly, temporary into the eternal. From what I have heard, most people there on Sunday morning experienced the same thing. The presence of God was incredibly palpable in that room and this only increases my expectancy.
And as I write this I am reminded of a passage in Acts 4. It’s a description of the early Christian community that began to form shortly after Pentecost. That community is described in this light:
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all…” (v32-33)
This group of people were characterized by supernatural provision and power. And it was those two things that brought people together in and through the person of Jesus.
So as I bring this letter to a close, may we, as a body, be reminded a few things.
1. God is good and He is faithful. He has led us down a difficult path, but He has provided everything we have needed exactly when we needed it.
2. While life in community can be difficult, it is the grace of God and His power at work in our lives that brings us together to make us “one in heart and mind.”
3. May we continue to have eyes to see and ears to hear so that we might be able to pay attention and call attention to what God is doing in our midst.
I look forward to the days ahead. May the Lord be with you all.