My Dear Restoration,
Back in 2008, early in our life together, we gathered once a month to pray and ask what sort of church God might be calling us to plant in Arlington. Over an 8 month period, Restoration was born with a mission to connect people to God, to others, and to the needs around us.
We have now been faithfully worshipping together for over 2 years. God has grown us in numbers and in depth with Him. God has provided generous resources for us to serve people and to see lives transformed. God has gathered people with significant gifts to be salt and light to their friends, neighbors and workplace. The past 2 years have been cause for much rejoicing and thankfulness.
- Our Sunday worship now happens over 3 service times. The music, liturgy, APEX, Eucharist, children’s ministry, and preaching are connecting people to God. People are opening more areas of their life to His Gospel leadership.
- Our Small Groups are meeting all over the Metro area. Hundreds of people are connecting to others and wrestling with the Scriptures. People are being prayed for and choosing opportunities to serve others.
- Our connection to the needs around us has exploded. In Chirilagua there are lots of Restoration people tutoring, mentoring, and playing soccer. At AFAC, we are moving thousands of pounds of food from farmer’s markets to folks who need it. In Philippi, WV we are sending a huge team of men, women, and kids to repair homes and be messengers of hope. In Moldova, there are teenage girls who have a safe place to call home because of our financial gifts and our Restoration people who showed up to love.
Worship, community, mission. These are the marks of a follower of Jesus. These are the ways broken people find their place in God’s story. These are the things that Restoration will continue to do.
What’s the next chapter in Restoration’s story? To be honest, for our first 2 years, we were praying like crazy that God would establish a new church. He did.
Now I would like to call us to pray again. God, how do we keep moving forward? How do we keep building on the good things you have done? What would you have us do next? There are a myriad of answers. We want to listen for the answer God has for Restoration.
The leadership of Restoration would like to request a season of prayer and listening from the congregation between now and our parish meeting on May 24. To that end
- We have created a Restoration Prayer Guide for your devotional time. It is divided over 10 weeks. Each week has a prayer, 5 Scripture readings, and a discernment question. We are hoping that everyone will pray, read, and listen each week. You may choose to keep a journal to record what you are hearing.
- We have created 4 forums for you to share what you are hearing and to pray together as a church.
- Week of March 20: at your small group, you will have a chance to pray about and respond to the question: “How can Restoration help people go deeper in their relationship with Jesus?”
- March 29 @7:30pm: Corporate prayer and feedback at Restoration
- April 10 @12:45pm: Corporate prayer and feedback at Restoration
- May 3 @7:30pm: corporate prayer and feedback at Restoration
These will culminate on May 24 @7:30pm: Parish Meeting at Restoration
- We have created a special email address for your feedback: thenextchapter ‘at’ restorationarlington ‘dot’ org Some of you may prefer to write about what you are hearing from the Lord during this season of prayer and listening.
The budget process for our next year begins in May and the budget is finalized in late summer. We wanted to take the 2 months before that budget process to pray and to listen.
Quick pastoral caveat– David, how are you going to implement every idea that people hear from the Lord? We can’t. We want everyone who desires to pray, to listen, and to share what they hear to have that opportunity. But we won’t be able to do everything. We will be looking for those themes and ideas that have broad consensus from the congregation. Please hold what you hear with a humble, open hand.
This discernment process is not intended to throw out the good stuff that God has already done at Restoration [this is not a blank slate :)]. But we are rolling out a long sheet of paper and asking, “God, based on who we are and what you have done, how does the story keep moving forward?”
I am confident that God will guide us. Thanks for getting excited about the next chapter.
With love, David