Loving Gunston = Serving Gunston

School SuppliesThese next two weekends are absolutely massive for us as a church.  Ever since it became clear that the Lord was leading us to gather weekly at Gunston Middle School, we’ve talked about what a strategic opportunity this is for us as a church to love and serve our community.  We’ve dreamed about having an undeniably positive impact on the school. We’re cast the vision of being the group the school calls when they have a need.

And now we get to make good on all of that.  Gunston has approached us with two very specific requests:

  1.  An urgent need to get some painting done before the start of the school year.  If you’re free between 9.30 – 11.30 tomorrow morning (Saturday, August 20th), please come to Gunston to help us paint.  You can sign up at rcc.church/gunston.
  2. A large need for back to school backpacks and supplies.  We will be collecting the following this Sunday and next:
    • backpacks
    • glue sticks
    • binders
    • #2 pencils
    • colored pencils
    • 3×5 index cards
    • 5 subject notebooks
    • 3 subject notebooks

Here’s why this matters so much: we are ambassadors for Christ. (2 Cor. 5:20)  The way we handle these requests is going to communicate volumes to Gunston not just about Restoration City but also about Jesus.  We represent Him!  So, this isn’t a game of “let’s exceed their expectations so they’ll be really nice to us.”  This is a question of “let’s show the immeasurable power and generosity of Jesus.”  That’s what we want.  We don’t want Gunston to think that Jesus over promises and under delivers.

So, on behalf of Jesus, let’s knock the ball out of the park the next few days!  I’m praying we not only meet the full need at Gunston but exceed it in every way possible.  That would just make sense if we’re ambassadors for the God who is able to do “exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.”(Eph. 3:20).

Please join me in showing our love for Gunston through how we serve Gunston.

Best Sunday Yet!

Apartment Life

It’s hard to compare but I think yesterday was probably my favorite Sunday so far at Restoration City.  If you had been with me when I talked to our guest from Apartment Life, I think you would agree with me.  He was ecstatic at the end of the day!

He was totally blown away by the number of you that came up to talk with him at the end of the gathering.  He met a guy who works in the apartment industry and collected well over a dozen names of people interested in Apartment Life.  I really wasn’t fishing for a compliment when I asked, “oh, is that good?”.  He told me he considers it a win if he gets one or two names.  So, he was one happy apartment dweller on his way home!

Guys, that’s what we’re about.  We want to be a church willing to leverage all of our lives for the mission of God.  Nothing makes me happier than thinking of our community learning how to intentionally live on mission in whatever community we live in.  This is the work of restoration – moving into whatever sphere of influence God gives us and shining the light of Jesus.  If we’re known for anything in this city, this needs to be it – we will sacrifice, pray, move and pour ourselves out for the sake of the lost and the glory of Jesus.  Let that be the word on the street about us!

I love that all of this coincided with a Sunday when we’re talking about generosity.  I was filled with so much hope that we really are becoming a generous church – not just with our money but with our whole lives!  Praise God!

By the way, if you still want to learn more about Apartment Life, check out their website.  But for today, I just wanted you to know I’ve never been more excited about where God is leading us as a church or more honored to be your pastor.  I love you guys and I love where God is leading us!!

Diapers & Clothes For Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center


One of the things I love about our DoSomethingDC partnerships is the ability to meet specific needs as they arise.  While most of our work with our partners involves ongoing activities or things planned long in advance, some of our greatest impact comes by meeting unplanned and urgent needs.

Our DoSomethingDC team recently became aware of one of those needs through the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.  They have an urgent need for diapers (sizes 1,4 and 5) and clothes (boys sizes 3T and 4T).  So, this Sunday and next, we’re going to have a donation center set up in the lobby of the Synetic Theater.  If you’re looking for an immediate way to have a real impact in our community, this is for you!  Just buy one or more of the above items and bring them with you to church on Sunday.  It’s that simple.

We talk a lot about living for restoration in DC.  This is part of how it happens.  I hope you’ll join Laura and I in doing something to serve the families of the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center this Sunday.

Build Partners, Not Ministries

This past Sunday, we wrapped up the sermon series “Our House” by looking at the third component of our mission statement, “Live For Restoration.”  I had been looking forward to this talk for a long time and love being part of a church that seeks the welfare of our city (Jeremiah 29:7).  At Restoration City, seeking the welfare of our city is something we do in partnership with other local organizations.  We’re not trying to build our own outreach ministries.  We’re trying to connect people from Restoration City with existing organizations.  Put simply: we build partners, not ministries.

That’s a pretty big paradigm shift for many who come to us from a churched background so I wanted to lay out the rationale for why we build partnerships instead of ministries.  The argument boils down to five essential benefits.

  1. Leverage The Expertise Of Our Partners.  The decision to partner is rooted in humbly admitting that we don’t always know what’s best and there are others who do.  I’m trained to preach, develop leaders and make disciples.  I don’t know the best practices for serving a teenage mom or immigrant family.  Partnership is about putting the needs of our community ahead of our need for control.
  2. Focus On Our Mission.  This is closely related to #1.  If we spent all of our time trying to replicate what others are already doing well, we wouldn’t have enough time to focus on the things God has called us to do.  Partnership is about creating margin for a healthy discipleship culture.
  3. Keep A Leaner Staff.  Churches can tie up a lot of money paying people to reinvent wheels.  I would rather free up resources to invest in our mission and in our partner organizations.  Partnership is about good stewardship.
  4. Stay Kingdom Focused.  Working with others is the most tangible way to remind ourselves that the Kingdom is more important than any one local church.  Restoration City isn’t the hope of Washington; Jesus is and He’s building His church in wonderfully diverse and interconnected ways.  Partnership is about leveraging our church for the benefit of the Church.
  5. Double The Impact.  By serving through partnerships, we’re able to minister to both the people served by a ministry and our co-laborers.  The relationships we build with co-laborers are as significant as the relationships we build in the communities we serve.  Partnership is about exponential impact.

Every church needs to follow the leading of God in how they love and serve their communities.  For us at Restoration City, that means a deep commitment to building partnerships instead of ministries.  You can learn more about our partner organizations on our website: http://restorationcitydc.com/dosomethingdc/.