Here in DC, we’ve entered into the most blisteringly hot days of summer, with daily temperatures in the nineties and our city’s trademark humidity intensifying the effect. Imagine our delight when Faith and I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find our house sickly warm, with the thermostat reading system malfunction! At present, I’m huddling in the basement, where the temperatures are still bearable, and definitely looking forward to a visit from the repairman.
Despite our present discomfort, I’d say that overall the summer is going quite well. Capitol Hill Friends is now half-way through our summer cycle, during which time we’ve been meeting in each other’s homes. This new approach has seemed to facilitate a more laid-back feeling to our meetings, and we’ve made a point to share potluck dinner as part of our time together. In the short time that we have been meeting in homes, it has felt to me that we have drawn closer as a community. There’s something about breaking bread together, seeing one another’s home space, and moving around in the city that helps remind us that we’re in this together.
There’s a good deal of excitement in our community right now. This Sunday, we had the joy of welcoming our friend, Tim, into committed membership. We laid hands on him and gave thanks for his desire to walk together with us in the way of Jesus. We feel grateful for his willingness to make a commitment to become a living member of this little part of Christ’s body. We are blessed by the growth we are experiencing together as God adds to our fellowship, both in numbers and spiritual depth.
We are also excited about the opportunities that are opening for us to have a positive impact other parts of our city. For the last six months, we have been meeting in a single small group on Capitol Hill. As we look towards the fall, we are preparing to multiply this initial small group into two new groups that will serve particular parts of the DC area. One of these will serve Northwest DC and Montgomery County. The other group will be based in the eastern part of DC, positioning us to serve the southern and eastern parts of the metro region.
As we prepare to multiply, our hope is that we can progressively become more specific in our geographical focus. With two small groups, we can give better attention to the unique needs of two of our city’s major regions. We are praying that God will work through this greater specificity to invite those looking for a deeper expression of spiritual community, but who aren’t able to sustain a long-distance commute. We sense that we are just getting started, and that God is guiding us to become a disciple-making community that blesses our city.
For my own part, I am personally being blessed in this process. It has been a real joy this month to work with Bill and Tim, who are apprenticing with me as they prepare to organize a new small group in Montgomery County. Their dedication, intelligence, and joy in serving the Lord are deeply inspiring to me. I’m grateful for the work of the Spirit who is drawing together such an amazing group of people for the mission of Jesus in our region.
I’m profoundly grateful for each individual who is participating in our community. As our life together continues to unfold, I grow ever more aware of how limited each of us is, and how much we depend on one another. No one of us has all the gifts necessary to accomplish the mission that God is drawing us into. We can’t go it alone. But when we all contribute according to our gifts, we discover that we have everything we need.
So, that’s where I’m at. As a friend of mine says whenever he’s asked how he’s doing: I’m blessed, and thankful. There are up days and down days – days when there’s no AC and days when Faith and I get to eat a banana split the size of our heads – but at the end of every day, there is the fact of this amazing community that Jesus is gathering together here in our city. There is the fact of the lives that God is changing through the practice of prayer that we are learning together. There is the fact that the living water of God’s Spirit is being made available to the people of our city. And we are just getting started!
Add to all of that the fact that it is God who is accomplishing all of this, and I’m mighty blessed indeed. If I have learned anything from the last four years of ministry, it is that my own efforts can’t accomplish anything on their own. I can plow and sow and water all day long with little effect, but if God blesses the work, the flowers bloom.
As we continue our work of developing Spirit-led community here in the DC area, please pray for us:
- That Christ be present to teach us and give us deepened clarity about our mission and vision as a community that blesses our city.
- That God prepare us for the new challenges of becoming a united community made up of multiple small groups, meeting in a variety of locations throughout the region.
- That the Holy Spirit fill us with boldness and power to share the good news of Jesus with our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members.
I am so grateful for your support and encouragement. May the Father of Lights illuminate your heart, and give you strength to live into his mission of love and reconciliation in your local context.