Launching Grace Hill

Grace Hill Logo

I’m so grateful for the messages Dan Iten and Allan McCullough preached the last two Sundays at Restoration City.  If you missed either of them, do yourself a favor and listen online or subscribe to our podcast.  Both of these guys are incredible pastors and great friends and it’s a huge joy in my life to be connected with both of them.

As you also know, Allan and an incredible team of people are planting Grace Hill Church in Herndon, VA and they will officially launch on Sunday, September 10th.  We’re privileged to be their sending church so we’re already committed to Grace Hill financially, spiritually and in sending members from our church to join their launch team.  But in these next few weeks, I want to add a new element to our commitment to Grace Hill – being a voice for them.

Being a voice for Grace Hill isn’t any where near as hard as you might think and would likely accomplish much more than you might think.  Here are two really simple things every one of us can do to help our brothers and sisters at Grace Hill reach their communities with the gospel:

  1.  Text friends who live in the Reston, Herndon, Sterling and surrounding communities and let them know Grace Hill is launching on September 10th.  Best thing to do?  Send them a link to Grace Hill’s website:  In particular, be thinking about friends who don’t have a church home, are looking for increased opportunities to serve or don’t know Jesus.  One simple text might make a huge difference in people’s eternities.
  2. Post a link to Grace Hill’s website on your social media feeds letting friends know that Grace Hill is launching soon.  Same deal but with a bigger audience.

As a church, we want to launch Grace Hill well – and your voice will help us in that.  So, take a minute to do a little texting and posting for the advance of the gospel!

Joining A Church Plant Launch Team


This weekend, we’re taking an exciting step in the growth as our church – I’m going to try to get a bunch of you to leave!  Don’t worry, I’m not going to do it with bad jokes or offensive comments in the sermon (at least, that’s not the plan).  Instead, I’m going to ask some of  you to buy into the vision of helping plant a new Christ centered church in Herndon, VA.  You’ll have an opportunity to take a concrete step towards that by attending Allan McCullough’s interest meeting for Grace Hill Church right after our gathering this Sunday.

It’s a really big deal for us as a church to be a part of gospel multiplication here in the DC area – that’s why we plant churches.  And it’s a massive deal for you to take the step of joining a church plant launch team.  After all, I’m asking you to leave a church you like (right?) to step into something that is less familiar and riskier.  Grace Hill will share a lot of DNA with Restoration City but it will also be different, it’ll be a new community, and a new expression of the church.

So, how do you know if God is calling you to be a part of planting Grace Hill?

  1.  It will make you more effective in reaching people for Jesus.  In some ways, this is the only answer to the question.  We don’t plant churches to give Christians new Sunday morning options.  We plant churches to reach people who don’t follow Jesus.  That means deciding to join a church plant team really isn’t about you.  It’s about the people in your life who don’t know Jesus.  It’s about making it easier to invite them to church or a community group.  Yes, that often means geography.  But not simply from a “it’s a shorter drive for me” perspective.  It’s from a “my family and friends would be better served by this” perspective.
  2. Willingness to sacrifice for gospel multiplication.  This is a logical extension of the first point – joining a church plant team isn’t about you!  It’s not about your comfort, your convenience or your consumption.  Don’t join a launch team to be served, join one to serve!  The first days of any church are a struggle.  There’s never enough resources, never enough volunteers and so much to do.  If you aren’t willing to offer your hands, your heart and your resources to the plant, don’t go.  But if you’re willing to lean in, put on a serving towel, give generously and champion the gospel, you’ll do just fine!
  3. Commitment to Grace Hill’s leadership, vision, mission and culture.  Church planting isn’t about you.  On the other hand, it is about creating a community that you’ll likely be a part of for a long time.  So, you need to buy into the leadership, vision, mission, and culture of the new plant.  Don’t go to be the dissenter who’s constantly trying to force change.  If you can’t enthusiastically embrace the leadership, vision, mission and culture of the plant, it’s going to be a bad experience for you and the rest of the team.
  4. Confirmation from Community Group Leaders or pastors.  Don’t make this decision on your own.  Talk to your Community Group Leaders, your close friends or one of our pastors.  We would be honored to pray with you, to process with you and speak into the decision any way we can.  Please, don’t walk this road alone. Lean into the blessing of community at Restoration City even as you’re praying about being sent to form a new community of faith.

Planting a church isn’t about your convenience.  It’s about God’s mission.  It’s one of the most thrilling things you’ll ever be a part of in this life.  I’m praying God will fill you with the courage to join in planting Grace Hill if that’s where He’s leading.  But I want you to go for the right reasons, with the right expectations.

To learn more about Grace Hill, click here.

Welcoming The McCullough’s

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It was so great to officially welcome Allan & Kim McCullough to Restoration City this past Sunday as Allan starts a church planting residency with us and The Summit Network.  Laura and I love this family and couldn’t be more excited for everything God is going to do through them in the coming years.  By His grace, there’s going to be a beautiful new expression of the church planted in Herndon, VA in 2017.  But between now and then, Allan, Kim, Leeland and Christy will be a part of our community at Restoration City.

Here are four quick thoughts on how we can serve the McCullough’s well in this season:

  1. Get to know them.  I know that’s an obvious place to start but it’s something we often overlook.  Say hi on a Sunday morning, get to know their story, take them out to lunch, ask them about their vision for Grace Hill, hear the story of how God called them to plant a church.  Press beyond the surface and learn about their world.
  2. Pray for them.  The more you get to know them, the easier this will be.  But we all can and should be doing this on a regular basis.  Take it from a guy who has done this before – planting a church is hard, scary and at times lonely.  It’s a faith stretching and building journey unlike any other.  Believe me, they would love your prayers!
  3. Connect them.  Yes, some of us will leave Restoration City to go be a part of planting Grace Hill.  But most of us won’t.  Either way, we can all contribute to the launch team by connecting family or friends in the Herndon/Reston area with Allan and the team he is building.  If you know people in that area who are looking for a church or feel called to church planting, take the initiative to connect them with Allan.
  4. Babysit for them.  One of the best things we can do for Allan and Kim is pour into their marriage in this season.  A lot of that is just creating space for them to be together and process all God is doing in this lives.  That’s hard with two kids who are 2 and under.  (C’mon, everything is hard with 2 kids who are 2 and under!)  Taking care of the kids so they can have a date night isn’t just a great gift, it’s a strategic investment in the advance of the gospel.

Let’s work together to make this the best year of Allan and Kim’s ministry – yet!  I pray we find creative ways to pour into this couple and send them out with an amazing foundation to plant and lead a powerful work of God in the suburbs of DC.