One Year Ago

IMG_0877Exactly one year ago today, a group of people got together at Summit’s Chapel Hill Campus to talk about planting a church in DC.  It was the first public step we took on the road to planting Restoration City Church.

I remember walking into that day with absolutely no clue what was going to happen.  I wasn’t a 100% sure anyone was actually going to show up.  And I really wasn’t sure how many would be interested by the time we were done!

One year later, I love scanning this photo and seeing how God has knit people who were total strangers a year ago into a church meeting weekly in DC.  It’s been an amazing ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.  But if I could go back in time and talk to myself a year ago, I know what I would say:

  • Get Over Yourself.  Jesus is the One who builds His church (Mt. 16:18).  Sure, vision, strategy and leadership matter but the success of Restoration City Church has little to do with me and everything to do with Jesus.  A year ago, I was worried about being impressive.  Today I would much rather have people impressed with Jesus.
  • Stop Worrying.  One, it doesn’t accomplish anything (Mt. 6:25-34).  Two, Jesus is faithful. (Deut. 7:9)  It’s so strange that we all think the God who has never once dropped the ball might just start with us.  If God calls you to do something, He’ll get you where you need to go.  A year ago I didn’t know what the road ahead looked like and it freaked me out.  Today, I have no more clarity about the road, just more confidence in the One who leads us.
  • Have Fun.  Don’t get me wrong – this last year was great!  Laura and I have so many good memories of our time at Summit and in NC.  But sometimes I don’t fully enjoy this moment because I’m so focused on the next.  I keep thinking about tomorrow and missing out on today.  Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve made much progress on this one!  But I know the ability to slow down and present is a really big deal.

If God is leading you into a new season, take a deep breath, relax, trust Him and enjoy the ride.  It really is an amazing thing to walk through life with the Living God.  RCC is one small example of His power, His faithfulness and His mercy.

Our Church Has A City & A Name

God has called Laura and I to lead a team in planting Restoration City Church in Washington, DC.  And, yes, it’s a pretty amazing feeling to actually write those words!

When we started moving down this road in August, we knew the story of what God was doing in our lives would be told in two parts.

The first was clear at the time.  We came to Durham, NC for a 9 month church planting residency with The Summit Church.  We knew God had called us to plant a church, we knew we needed a season of preparation and we knew Summit was the right place for us.  So, we moved our family to Durham.  But we came knowing our time here was limited and preparation for the second part of this journey – actually planting a church.

Laura and I have been praying about planting a church for the last four years.  We’ve spent hours talking about what the church would look like and what kind of culture we wanted to create.  We’ve dreamed about who we would want to plant with and where we could have the greatest impact.  We’ve doodled church names.  We’ve been inspired by friends.  We’ve wrested with fear and doubt.  And through it all, our sense of calling to this work has only increased.

And now it’s time to talk about the church God is calling us to plant.  In May, we will be returning to Washington, DC to plant Restoration City Church in one of the greatest and most strategic cities in the world.  In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be writing more about what the church will look like, our timetable, why DC, what God is doing in all of this and what I’m learning on this journey.

But for today, I just want to ask for your prayers.  Pray God would be pleased with the church we plant and use us greatly for His glory in our nation’s capital.  That’s our desire.  That’s what we’ve invested our lives in and that’s what we’re believing God for in this new season.

Having a name and a city is an important step in this journey but we know there are so many more in our future.  Our hope for these first steps and all the ones to come is the same – the faithfulness of Jesus to build His church and the power of the Gospel to change everything.  That’ what we’re standing on in these days and that gives us all the assurance we need for the journey.

For Christ’s Fame in DC,

John

Pastor|Restoration City Church