A Call To Prayer

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”

John Piper

If God is doing 10,000 things in our lives, imagine what He’s doing around the world. Even in these days of Coronavirus; especially in these days of Coronavirus. Clearly, we won’t know the full extent of what He’s doing until eternity. But one thing seems clear. He is stirring His people to pray.

As I have thought and prayed through where God is leading us as a church during these days, I have felt a clear leading to call us to consistent, specific, and corporate prayer. We need regular touch points with each other and we need regular rhythms of spending time with Jesus. As the people of God, we have a responsibility to be seeking Him on behalf of our city, our country, and our world. As Christ’s ambassadors in this world, we have an obligation to be opening our doors to our community, even when we can’t do so in person.

So, last night a group of us got together to pray online. A few of our leaders led the call but we were all able to participate or just sit back and be reminded that God is still in control. It ended up being a really powerful time. So, we’re going to do it again tonight at 8pm. Not only would I love to have you join us but I would also encourage you to invite others, whether they go to church or not and whether they believe in Jesus or not. We may not be able to gather physically but we can still come together spiritually.

You will find everything you need to join us at rcc.church/prayernight.

See you tonight!

ServeDC: Hope Is Real

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I hear a lot of people talking about the scarcity of hope in our world today.  I get it.  We’re all watching the upcoming election with a sense of horrified fatalism.  We’re all worried about our schools and communities.  We’re all wondering if we’re leaving our kids a better country than our parents left us.  There are days when our hopelessness seems well founded.

But I’m not worried about hope.  I know it’s real and I know where the find it – in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We carry a message that is the rawest announcement of hope the world has ever known.  And that gospel shapes our lives so that we live as beacons of hope.  There should be no more hopeful place on earth than the local church.

And this past weekend, I was reminded that the hope we celebrate in the church lifts the communities around the church.  If you’re wondering where hope comes from in this world, consider the following stats about this past weekend’s ServeDC experience:

  • 120 people participated.
  • Those 120 people did over a combined 684 hours of work in our community.
  • We worked with 10 different partners.
  • Trunk or Treat provided a safe Trick or Treating option for over 150 kids.
  • Our work at Gunston improved the school for 839 students & 120 staff members.
  • CASA Family Dinner Night team served families dinner & had fellowship alongside 100 CASA family members.
  • At CHPC Parenting Class Dinner we served dinner & spent time with 40 family members.

I don’t worry about hope. I know where to find it.

My prayer is that God would deepen our passion to love and serve our city.  I pray we will continue to be a beacon of hope as we live out Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Leadership Lessons From Metro

Metro

Just a little over five months ago, Paul Wiedefeld became Metro’s new general manager, taking the reigns of a mass transit system in crisis.  Since then, he’s shut the whole system down for over 24 hours and announced a massive safety overhaul that will delay millions of people for months.  Along the way, he’s been subject to a fair amount of criticism and Facebook grumbling.  I get it.  It’s the 2nd busiest rapid transit system in the country with over 200 million trips taken per year.  Shutting the whole thing down messes up a lot of people’s days.

While I don’t know anything about how to run a mass transit system, I’m always looking to learn from other leaders.  From what I can tell, Wiedefeld has demonstrated four attributes of an effective leader:

Consistent With His Values

Before Wiedefeld even started at Metro, he sat down with the Washington Post for an interview and made his values and top priority clear, “I’m going to wake up every morning thinking about the safety of the system, and I’m going to go to bed every night thinking about the safety of the system.”  So, don’t be surprised when he’s willing to shut the whole thing down to get this right.  So many times leaders declare something a top priority but then allow a bunch of other factors distract them.  That kind of distraction blunts our effectiveness.

Realistic In His Assessments

It stands to reason that you can’t fix 30 years of neglect without some pain.  As logical as that is, there’s something in each of us that doesn’t want that to be the case.  We’re always looking for the quick and easy path to awesome results (get out of debt by Christmas, rock hard abs in 3 minutes a day, or whatever).  It just doesn’t work that way – big change takes hard work.  Every leader is tempted to sugar coat the truth in the name of placating people and avoiding pain.  But nothing ever gets better that way.

Courageous In His Decisions

Wiedefeld would have to be a total idiot to not realize that shutting the system down and the upcoming maintenance surge were going to be unpopular.  No doubt he knew the frustration that was about to get directed at him.  But he moved ahead anyways.  It’s a reminder that if we aren’t willing to make the tough call, we have no business calling ourselves leaders.  Leadership isn’t about doing what’s popular.  It’s about doing what’s right – even when that costs us something.

Transparent In His Communication

There’s amazing power in honesty.  As much as people may not like what they hear, they’ll recognize a straight shooter when they hear one.  And, more often than not, they’ll follow someone with the courage to tell them what’s really going on.  This should be so freeing for us as leaders – it means we don’t need to worry about spin.  It also means we had better avoid the traps of half truths, distortions or manipulations.  Just tell people the truth!

My point in writing this isn’t to weigh in on something I know nothing about – running a mass transit system.  But I do want to be a better leader in my context, the local church.  And I love drawing principles from other leaders in the hopes of upping my game.  Wherever you’re leading, I encourage you to do the same!

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/.