Restoration 2025: Congregational Input #1

Congregational Input

You are invited.

Restoration, I invite you bring the enthusiasm, energy, and ideas you’ve always shared with me to the first congregational input session on March 17th.  We will not have childcare.  But we will have snacks!

There are 2 more congregational input sessions on March 31 @1 (at Restoration with childcare) and April 10 @7:30 (at the Weimer Home).  If you can attend all 3 input sessions, GREAT!  I imagine that they will build on each other and you will enjoy the sense of momentum.  If you can only attend 1 or 2, GREAT!  We want to hear what you have to say and you will have an opportunity at each session.

As things occur to you, this form is a place you can share more ideas, concerns, and things you hear in prayer.

To make the best use of our sessions together, I want to summarize some of the feedback we have already received, share the questions with which our vestry and church leaders are wrestling, and give you an idea of where we would like to focus our time together in the coming weeks.  

What we have heard so far.

On September 6, 2018, we hosted our first vision night (this is the link to the audio summary) with over 100 of you participating.  We had stations setup around the building and welcomed the chance to hear your thoughts about our strengths and weaknesses across a variety of topics including evangelism, discipleship, how to celebrate our 10th anniversary, the church mortgage, church planting, kids and youth, etc..  It was a great session and we received a ton of valuable input.

Out of Vision Night, we prioritized 6 important areas for the vestry and staff to consider for Restoration2025:

  1. Church Planting  We believe there are communities that would benefit from the kind of church that Restoration could plant.  Is this the time to keep pursuing those opportunities?  What is the place?  Who is the person?
  2. Serving and partnering with the Spanish speaking population in Arlington.  We love how God provided an opportunity like RILA-  we identified a need (immigration legal aid) that Restoration people could meet with great effectiveness.  Are there other opportunities to serve and partner with our Spanish speaking neighbors? 
  1. People aged 14-26 who live around us.  We want to build on the vibrant growth in Kids’ Small Groups and APEX.  We want to build up and equip those just starting out in their careers. What programs would disciple them?  What needs can we meet?  How can we offer vibrant community for them as well?  Programmatically, we have seen that a Fellows Program (like TFCA) or a mentorship program (like the CS Lewis Institute) has been effective.  Should Restoration pursue a similar programmatic initiative? 
  1. Disciples are connected, available, moving, healthy, and thankful.  They are living God’s Story and they know their place in it.  How do we help people grow deeper and closer to Jesus?  Our small group system has been very effective for a number of years.  Anything we need to add, edit, or delete in relation to this core structure of Restoration?
  2. We want to be a church where people choose to follow Jesus  where they move from curious to convinced.  We want to invite the tens of thousands of people around us to follow Jesus.  How do we do that more effectively?  What could we create to foster relationships that move people closer to Jesus?
  3. 2025 feels far away and it will be here sooner than we think.  What should we be doing now to be ready for what comes after 2025?  Specifically, our mortgage will be due in 2023.  The vestry has commissioned a capital campaign team.  Should we orient ourselves to be in a place to pay it off by 2023?  What other areas should we be working on now so that we are ready for 2025 and beyond?  A rector succession plan?  A pipeline of young(er) staff who are coming up to fill staff gaps that will emerge in the next 7 years?  

The vestry and staff have been praying about and discussing these questions.

We invite your input on Sunday, March 17.

  1. In our Restoration community, who do we serve well?  Who could we serve better?
  2. What are programs or events that we do really well?
    What are the programmatic gaps that require concentrated effort to develop?
    What are things that we are currently doing that we should consider not doing in the future (for the sake of something else)?
  3. Which communities in and around Arlington do we want to pursue?  (could be categories of geography, ethnicity, vocation, avocation, or other demographic descriptors)
  4. What does growth look like in the next 5 years?  (more attendees, more churches, more sites, more fruit, more disciples, etc)

On Sunday, show up ready to dive right in with ideas and prayers.

Our time will feel tight.  We want to use every moment of our 70 minutes together.  That means you need to arrive ready to listen, pray, and share.  (Little known fact:  the highest number of goals in soccer are scored in the last 2 minutes of each half.  After 45 minutes, the play takes on a sense of urgency and things happen.)  We invite you to come in with a sense of urgency and quickly share what is on your mind.  Don’t take 45 minutes to get warmed up.  We want to hear from every person who has something to say.

And if you can’t come this Sunday, we invite you to provide input on this form. and to join us on March 31 and April 7.

Judas

Judas

About 8 years ago I did a sermon about Judas.  In writing the sermon, my imagination was captured by the story-  why he did it, what motivated him, what was he hoping would happen, how he may have felt after-  I decided to give the sermon as Judas.  It made a deep impact on me.

During Lent 2019, we are lingering in the final 36 hours of Jesus’ life- as told by Luke in chapters 22-23.  This Sunday, we will again consider Judas.  And I will most likely give the sermon as Judas…  again.  

I have enjoyed seeing how the story impacts me-  8 years later.  And this Sunday I will pull in Peter’s betrayal as well.  These guys ‘leave’ Jesus and betray him- one right after the other.  They respond to their betrayal choices very differently.

For me, there is so much in these men that feels familiar and so much that I hope I would do differently if put in the same situation.  And yet…

So again, thank you Jesus for the cross:  for knowing what you knew- about Judas, about Peter, about me- and choosing it anyway.

Amazing Love!  How can it be that Thou,  My God(!)  shouldst die for me?

See ya on Sunday.

-David

This is why we LOVE the 5pm at Restoration!

The 5pm service is special for many reasons (there are about 20 of them that I curated from people who attend the 5.  Keep reading…).

We would love for you to try it!  As you know, trying something takes a ‘few tries’.  So if you want to give it a go, would you consider trying it from March 10 until June 9?  That’s all of Lent + Easter to Pentecost.  And that’s a great ‘try’!

We think some of you will try it, love it, and find a meaningful new rhythm to your Sabbath.

Curious?  Here’s a bunch of reasons to tip you over the edge…

It’s come as you are—not only in dress (jeans!) but people come where they are in life—single/married, young/old, children/no children, and everyone fits in.

Everyone is glad to see you!  You are greeted each Sunday like a long-lost friend even if it’s just been a week or two since you last met.

It’s a great way to “end” the weekend and at the same time start the “new” week with a Kingdom mindset.

The 5pm snacks are better!  Not really(!) but we do have snacks- just like the other services. 

It’s not crowded—there is always room for one more person or one more family…even if you are running late.

It’s not “formal”—while we meet at church and do all the worship things, it’s a little more like hanging out with a group of friends to worship together and talk about Jesus and what He’s doing in our lives.

You can be yourself—whether it’s been a tough week (or a good week), whether you feel like laughing (or crying), whether you like to sing loudly and raise your hands in praise (or not), we do it all.

It has a relaxed feel—it’s a low-stress service with rhythms of grace woven into it; it’s more about being present than the program.

It’s more intimate—because it’s a smaller group, you can know and be known by others.

It feels like family—it’s like attending the rehearsal dinner compared to the formal wedding or the Easter Vigil compared to the Sunday Easter services.  It’s more about the people you are with (Jesus and the Resto family) and less about the public-facing ceremony.

Kids’ small groups @ the 5 have their own special flavor, too. The small groups are smaller and the age-range of kids within each small group is wider. It’s a sweet opportunity to have deeper conversations between and among kids and leaders. This dynamic begins to provide our kids with the opportunity to experience mentorship that both looks ahead to those who are older and looks behind to those who are younger, as they see themselves as whole participants in their own spiritual formation and influencers of others’. In other words, we have a blast!

I love that the smaller size of an intimate group allows me to have deeper conversations with one or two people vs. just trying to say a quick surface “hello” to 20 or more people.

As someone who has a tendency to want to rush around from one thing to another, the 5pm is a sweet time of truly slowing down… No rushing to clear out of the Church for the next service, or rushing out of Church to get to a Sunday afternoon activity.

I really do feel like Sunday night is the start of my week. When I attend the 5pm service, I have a smoother transition into my work week and I feel more resilient to the Monday morning anxieties that come with my weekly to-do list, because I have it really fresh in my mind that God has got it all under control.

I have time throughout the afternoon to build up an excited anticipation for what is going to come that evening at Church.

The timing lends well to lingering longer over snacks after service and/or going straight to dinner afterwards with Church friends to continue the conversation about the sermon, prayer, what’s going on in our lives, etc.

If I could paint a picture of the 5pm service, it would be one of Jesus hanging out with his buddies around the supper table, reclined in happy relaxation… Kicking His sandals off, putting His feet up on the table, and motioning with wide open, welcoming arms to gather close… He’s saying, “The invitation is open. Come in and rest. There is always room for you.”

OK, finally. Can I say it?  I’m going to say it.  I like sleeping in!  And I am thankful to God for my “no alarm clock” Sunday mornings. Please don’t judge 🙂

 

-A cheerful invitation to try the 5 from cheerful people who attend the 5!

M25G: Thank you so much

M25G Loading the Pod

a great team loading ‘the pod’

Restoration, you are such a generous church!

You gave an enormous gift to our province.  Thank you.

You gave an extravagant gift to the 100 folks, who are doing works for justice and mercy, who gathered for a few days in our facility to get to know one another, to experience good teaching, and to worship our Living God.  You made The Matthew 25 Gathering happen and every person I have spoken with has been so positive and so grateful to YOU for what you did.  Thank you, Restoration.

On Monday, a top-notch team of movers and packers put everything in the Kids’ Small Group Rooms and fellowship hall into a pod.  That team was strong AND really good at playing 3-D tetris.

By Tuesday, our little kitchen was FULL of treats.  Thank you for delicious snacks, bountiful fruit, sandwiches, cheese, crackers, and granola bars by the case.  The tent out front was such a cool addition.  We added 150 square feet of heated space!  The musician, Carlos Flores (famous for his RILA gig last fall) set just the right tone as people arrived.  I loved seeing all of the red shirts-  you were ready to pray, to guide, and to extend hospitality.  You.  Were.  Ready.

Thank you.

Wednesday brought a little weather to keep us on our toes.  But we got all of our content pieces in.  We took a cold trip to the Lincoln and MLK memorials.  We had 15 workshops on really helpful topics like ‘rest and soul care’, ‘peace-making as a discipleship practice’, ‘Fund-Raising’, ‘Elder Care’, ‘Immigration Legal Aid’, ‘Anglican Social Teaching’, ‘Caring fo the Physically Vulnerable’,’Centering Prayer’…  (there was even a room dedicated to the caterers so they could prep our delicious dinner.)  Many of the workshops were lead by Restoration members.  Thank you for sharing your expertise and experience.  The M25G participants loved getting to know you.

Wednesday night MANY of you showed up in the midst of awful weather to hear Dr. Vincent Bacote.  He did such a good and winsome job.  We will get the video of his talk up soon and I hope you can hear him if you were not able to join us in person.  The 2 things that most impacted me from his talk were:  1.  The difference between making someone feel ‘welcome’ and making someone feel ‘at home.’  2.  The idea of making ‘Kingdom Gestures’ rather than ‘Triumphant Conclusions.’  Dr. Bacote spoke to us, who live in this Metro DC world, following Jesus, and loving our neighbor.  Really good stuff.  Many thanks to those who came out.

Thursday concluded with Holy Eucharist that was lead by our friend, Rev. Liz Gray, and celebrated by a new friend, Bishop John Mark Zimmerman from the Diocese of the Southwest (he lives in Albuqurque, NM).

Hosting The Matthew 25 Gathering was an ENORMOUS undertaking.  Many people worked for several months to be ready.  The 2020 Gathering will be hosted somewhere else in our province, but the 2019 Gathering was a great success because of your generous hearts, Restoration.  Thank you.  It is an honor to be your pastor and a joy to be your friend.

-David

Rev. Herb Bailey reading MLK's I have a Dream Speech on the steps of the Lincoln.

Rev. Herb Bailey reading MLK’s I have a Dream Speech on the steps of the Lincoln.

 

Words from God that were received by Pray-ers and recorded on sticky notes for participants.

Words from God that were received by Pray-ers and recorded on sticky notes for participants.

Thank you for The M25G!

Dear Restoration,

Thank you.  Thank you for all you have done to be ready for next week’s Matthew 25 Gathering.

I wanted to send a few notes as we enter the countdown to arrival.

  1. A HUMONGOUS thank you to Kathy Kenyon who has been coordinating all of our ‘on-site logistics’.  Thank you to the registration team, the housing team, the hospitality team, the make-sure-everything-is-in-the-welcome-bags team.  You all have been working for months and I am so very grateful.  I love your ideas and I can’t wait to see them implemented.
  2. Thank you to everyone who signed up to bring food, to give on-site hospitality, and to prayWe have a few slots left in each category if you would like to serve and have not signed up yet.  When I first introduced Restoration to The M25Gathering, I stated that,

    ‘We want to host the Gathering participants well.  We will do that through a smooth registration process, vigilant on-site hospitality, and gracious lodging.

    We are ready to do that because of how generously you have responded.  Thank you.  It really is overwhelming.

  3. If you signed up to be on the On-Site Prayer Team or if you would like to pray for the Gathering before it starts:  There will be a special, required training session this Sunday night, after the 5pm service, from 6:30-7:30 in the sanctuary.  If you are on the Prayer Team, we kindly ask that you prioritize this training and attend.
  4. You are invited to attend the Wednesday Night Plenary Session of the Gathering.  It will start at 7:00pm in the sanctuary.  Dr. Vincent Bacote of Wheaton College will present a lecture entitled, ‘A Courageous Public Witness’.  I can’t wait.  I hope that many of you will come and see a bit of The Gathering.  I think you will love it.  This is the only session that is open to the public.  All of the others require a ticket.
  5. If you have questions about the Gathering, we will be updating this page regularly with logistical information that participants and hosts will need.  So feel free to bookmark and come back to it.  You can also call or text the Restoration Clergy Pastoral Emergency Number (on the back of every worship guide) and get me, David, throughout the Gathering.   I will also respond to my normal phone number and you are welcome to use it.

Thank you friends.  I have so appreciated the opportunity to partner with you on this project.

-David

Rhythms of Spiritual Formation: winter

Winter

Winter

I loved starting our new series last week.  This metaphor of seasons as a means to describe the rhythms of spiritual formation has the potential to be so helpful for us.  I love the conversations in our church when we are vulnerable and trying to describe what God is doing in us.  Using the language of ‘seasons’ both allows us to be more descriptive of what is really going on AND it allows us to focus on the goal of our discipleship which is FRUIT and not mere activity.

For example, if I say ‘I am in summer’, it calls to mind a description of God’s work in my life that is much more textured than just, ‘I am fine.’

And if I remember that the work God wants to do in my life is compared to ‘fruit’, then I can be comfortable with the reality that sometimes there are periods of activity AND inactivity-  that all the seasons are necessary for fruit production.  We can’t have the harvest of fall without the inactivity of winter and the planting of spring.

This sermon series comes from the book, Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.  He writes about growth in a way that has helped me understand some of our apprehension and aversion towards winter:

We have adopted a view of the spiritual life and church growth that is a variation on free-market capitalism.  In capitalism, the economy, in order to be strong, must constantly grow.  A 3% shrinkage in the GDP for 2 or more quarters is a recession.  A 10% shrinkage is a depression.  Three percent.  Governments fly into panic, banks stock the moat, corporations start to implode.  It’s wolves.  It’s bubonic plague.  It’s the sky falling.

Where else is constant growth an unequivocal sign of health?  In human bodies, it’s a sign of obesity or cancer.  Yet we’ve applied the standard of constant growth to our churches and to our spiritual lives.  We applaud every sign of getting bigger, and fret every sign of getting smaller.

This is bizarre.

p. 221

It is good to pay attention to numbers and size and growth, but the Kingdom of God often gets measured with different criteria.  We can be always healthy and not always growing.  There are seasons of increase and seasons of quiet.  The Kingdom is different. 

Sometimes you are in winter.

And God is there too.

-David

Praying us into 2019

Praying for you

Every year in January, I take a few days away to pray and to listen.  As I left town on Tuesday this week, I told our staff team, “This is probably the single most important thing that I do as the rector of our church.  Thank you for helping me protect this time.”

Thank you for sending in your prayer longings.  I received well over 130 of them!  It was such a privilege to pray for you.  I loved how you answered the questions:  What brings you joy?  What are you seeking?  What makes you afraid?  The gift to me was the opportunity to get a glimpse into your heart, to hear what God is doing, to join you in the things for which you are longing.  I felt like I got to know each of you who shared a little bit more.  Thank you.  I am so grateful to be your pastor.

I made notes on themes and spent time each morning holding the different situations, struggles, and excitement before the Lord.  I listened for His voice.

I hope that Restoration will be a place:

  • that continues to offer the joy of encouraging relationship and deep friendship
  • that provides resources for those who are seeking-  resolution on doubts, more intimacy with Jesus, direction and calling, faithfulness, clarity on job and vocational direction
  • that comes alongside those who are afraid-  of losing family, losing friends, being lonely, feeling like a failure, being discovered as a fraud, of being overwhelmed by anxiety, of chronic and never-ceasing pain

Amen.  Let it be, Lord.  Joy.  Intimacy.  Hope.

Books

I tend to bring about 35 books with me and end up reading 2 or 3.  It’s hard to know what will connect with me while still in Arlington… so I bring everything that might pique my interest.

This time, I re-read Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald.  Gordon first wrote this in the early 1980s.  It is not earth-shattering in its insights, but I appreciate the connections between his life and mine.  It’s like reading my journal but written by someone else.  And at this stage in my life, my family, and our church, I needed to take some time to re-order and reflect and renew for the next season.  God met me in it.

Sermons

During this annual retreat, I ask God for a years worth of sermons.  I read through parts of the Bible.  I look through books.  I pray through your prayer requests.  I listen.  I imagine where we will be at various points during the year.  I wonder with God what would be good for our congregation to work on during those moments.  I make tables and spreadsheets and sit with calendars.

During the season of Epiphany (now until March 3), I am going to offer a series called ‘The Rhythm of Spiritual Formation’.  It was inspired by an excellent book I read last summer called, Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan.  The premise of the book and my sermons is this:  God is always working to form us to look like Jesus, but sometimes the growth and change is not obvious.  We have seasons in our relationship with God just like the world experiences seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall.  Each week the preacher will describe a season and then follow up with activities that are available to us in that season.  8 weeks.  2 weeks on each season.  I am praying that God uses it to give us understanding, patience, diligence, and trust in the process He is working in us.

The Matthew 25 Gathering

This year I had a unique and additional thing on my mind-  the Matthew 25 Gathering that Restoration is hosting in 5 weeks.  I spent an afternoon praying through the minute by minute schedule, praying for speakers, praying for people to register, and giving thanks for the dozens of Restoration volunteers who are making the Gathering happen.  Thank you.  This will be a gift to the wider church and I believe that God has a blessing for us in it as well.  I can’t wait.

Winter

Departure

In a couple hours I will load up my car and drive to the RestoMen’s retreat at Meadowkirk.  I have been alone for several days and I am excited to engage with these guys whom I love and enjoy so much.  I hope to see a lot of you there and the rest of you on Sunday as I introduce us to the winter of our spiritual formation.

Grace and Peace to you, beloved church.

David

Praying for you as 2019 begins

Dear Restoration,

Happy New Year!!

Each year, in January, I take a few days to pray for Restoration and to plan our year of preaching.  I look forward to this time to connect with God about you and what He is doing in our church.  This year it will happen from Jan 8-11.

I would be honored to pray for the needs and concerns that are most pressing to you.   Would you share them with me, here?  Thank you so much.  Your confidentiality is important and I will be the only one who sees these requests.  You have a choice to share them anonymously, but I prefer to pray for you by name.

This is the link where you can share your prayer request.

The form will close on January 8, 2019.  Please take a moment to respond, soon!

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was give you in Christ Jesus…”  1 Corinthians 1:4

See you on Sunday,
-David

DMH Advent 2018

Information about Oliver McNeil’s Funeral

Oliver's hands

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you of Oliver McNeil’s death on Wednesday, December 5.  He and his parents, Shannon and Matt, are loved by many in our church and on their behalf, I extend my deep thanks for all of the ways that you, their community, prayed for and served them over the last months while Oliver’s body was in decline.

Some of you may not have known Oliver.  He was 11 years old, a regular at the 11am service, a huge fan of the Washington Nationals, and he loved to have his shoulders squeezed when he came up for communion.  Here is a link to an old blog post that his mom, Shannon, wrote in 2011, several years before their daughter, Waverly, died (2015) and when Oliver was still quite young.  You may find Shannon’s blog helpful in getting to know a little about their story as a family.

A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held at McLean Bible Church (MBC), on the ground level of the Smith Center, on Saturday, December 15 at 11:00am.  MBC will have “funeral parking” signs to guide you as you turn onto the property from the stoplight on Rt 7.  There will be people greeting you as you enter.  You can find more detailed travel directions to MBC, here.

Everyone is invited to stay for a light lunch reception that will follow the funeral.  It is being provided by Oliver’s friends at Jill’s House.  In many ways Jill’s House became Oliver’s house too— a home away from home where he could enjoy life’s simple pleasures, have fun, and find rest in a context that cared for him.  Jill’s House, a 501(c)(3), offers respite to children with intellectual disabilities and their families in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

Shannon and Matt have suggested that gifts to honor Oliver’s life be given to Jill’s House.  Please visit here, and include ‘Oliver McNeil’ in the comments section.  Or checks can be sent to:  Jill’s House, 9011 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182.

If you have questions about the funeral, you can call the Restoration office.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”  1 Thessalonians 4: 13-14
We do grieve.

But our grief is tethered to hope.
It does not overcome us.  On December 15 we will gather together to both grieve and to remind ourselves of our hope.  Thanks be to God for both.

-David

A 5pm Town Hall Conversation!

sunset Arlington

You are invited!  December 9 at 5pm

Dear Friends,

The 5pm service has always had a special spot in the life of Restoration.  The later time of day and the smaller size offer the possibility of a more intimate worship experience. 

We want to acknowledge that when we launched Incarnation, we sent some of our dear friends and many of our faithful, fellow, 5pm worship go-ers!  When a community chooses to change by multiplying itself in another part of the city, there is an opportunity to take stock and discuss ‘what could be’. 

The staff and clergy would like to have a ‘Town Hall’ meeting at the 5pm on Sunday, December 9.  We want to hear what this particular service means to you and how it is important to your worship of God and your experience of community at Restoration. We also want to hear what you would like the 5pm worship service to be.   

We love being Anglican and leading liturgy that requires ‘the work of the people’ in kneeling, praying out loud, singing, listening, eating, and drinking.  You are already participating in this liturgy by attending the service and many of you are already serving so that the rest of us can participate in the service.  THANK YOU!  There is an opportunity for more people to serve before, during, and after the liturgy.  We can’t do it without you.  So, we’ll be talking about that, too.

Would you mark December 9 on your calendar?  We will have our regular Advent liturgy.  When we get to the ‘sermon part’, we will take some time to talk about our hopes and dreams for the 5pm service, then we will close with Eucharist.  After the blessing, we will roll over to Sunrise Senior Living on Glebe Road to sing carols and hark the herald!

It will be a special evening and I hope to see you there.

-David 

Page 1 of 3123
© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church