September 8th at Restoration


As Summer gives way to Autumn

You’ve probably noticed that things become much quieter around here in the summertime.  People — our staff, members, volunteers — are in and out constantly, bouncing between vacations, family reunions, personal retreats…or, maybe all of the above!

On September 8th, our fall season begins and you’ll notice the activity increases around here like bubbles in a cool glass of seltzer.  We don’t want you to miss anything.  So here is what’s coming back after a brief summer hiatus:


APEX: Isaiah Brooms, our Director of Youth Ministries, has an awesome fall program planned and is looking forward to seeing your middle and high schoolers there on September 8th!  This year, high school and middle school APEX is going to happen at the same time — Sunday nights from 6:30 to 8:30. This will make it easier on parents with kids in both groups and our facility will be bubbling with energy on Sunday nights!  Your kids can’t wait.  Maybe you want to serve as an APEX volunteer?  Sunday nights will be a blast at Resto.  Email Isaiah with any questions.

Kids’ Small Groups

Kid’s small groups will also begin a new year on September 8th at the 9 and 11.  Louise has been hard at work preparing and would love for your child to join a group.  Register your child today!  Even if you have registered your child in a prior year, we ask that you would fill out a fresh form for this coming year (just like you will do for each kid on their first day of school!).  You can always shoot Louise an email with any questions you may have.

The 5pm

It’s back!!  The 5 PM service will return on September 8th.  We are grateful for the space and margin that not having the 5pm created for our staff and volunteers this summer.  Rest and elasticity returned to their souls.  Thank you!  But we are so excited to be back together with our beloved 5pm community.  If you are planning to be mostly at the 5pm this fall, would you let us know?   Have you never been to the 5?  Would you consider trying it for a couple months?  It takes some repetition to see if something new is a good fit.  And it takes a critical mass of people for a community to feel like home.  We would love for 50 households who normally attend the 9 or 11 to alternatively commit to the 5pm for this fall.  “Giving up your seat” at the 9 or 11 creates room for new folks to visit our church.  “Taking a seat” at the 5 brings your friendship, worship, and presence to a beautiful community that loves ending their week-end with the evening hues lighting the Lord’s table. Let us know if you are one of those households that will worship in Autumn at 5.

(Bonus-  if your kid is headed to APEX on Sunday nights, the 5pm is a great way to worship together before they head off to their Youth Small Groups.)

Second Sunday Suppers

That’s right.  You like to eat.  We like to eat.  Let’s eat after the 5pm on Sept 8.  We’ll keep going out on the Second Sunday of every month, after the 5 PM.  Everyone is invited!  Even if you went to the 9 or the 11!  How convenient if your kids are in APEX!  We want you there! Contact Beth for details.

Autumn begins…

We couldn’t be more excited for the fall:  Vision Night (9/10).  Baptisms (9/22).  New to Restoration Dinner (10/1).  Fall Retreat (10/12-13).  It’s all waiting for you…

We’re going to hit the ground running and we hope to see you right alongside us.


Wisdom and Technology Seminar


Seminar Speaker Line-up (November 2-3rd)

How does technology fit into our lives as Christ followers? In what ways can it bring us closer to God and into deeper community with others? And in what ways does it merit careful consideration and boundaried use? In our day to day lives, technology is all around us and so readily available; it is easy to engage it without much thought. We invite you to join us for an opportunity to pause and reflect on the intersection of faith and technology in your life with the helpful input of several leading thinkers in this field. We will explore these topics from a variety of perspectives over two days – Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3.

On Friday, November 2 from 7:00-9:00 pm, we will have a screening of the documentary Screenagers followed by a panel discussion and Q & A. All are welcome to attend the screening, whether you are a caretaker of teenagers or not! Middle and high school students are encouraged to attend as well!

Saturday morning, we will gather at Restoration from 8 am – 12 pm to listen to speaker and technology expert, John Dyer of Dallas Theological Seminary and then we will have an opportunity for participants to attend two breakout sessions on topics of their choosing. More information on John Dyer, the leaders of our breakout sessions, as well as the breakout session topics can be found on the registration form.

Please feel free to join for one, or both days! It’s sure to be a wonderful time to stop, reflect, and then re-engage in a more thoughtful and informed way!


John Dyer  (Main Speaker)

  • John Dyer is the Dean of Enrollment Services and Educational Technology and Adjunct Professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. John has been a technology creator for more than 20 years, building tools used by Facebook, Google, Apple, Anheuser-Busch, the Department of Defense, and the Digital Bible Society. His open source code is now used on more than 30% of websites. He has written on technology and faith for a number of publications including Gizmodo, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and in the book From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. John and his wife, Amber, have two children, Benjamin and Rebecca.

Justin Whitmel Earley

  • Justin Whitmel Earley is the founder of The Common Rule and author of The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. He will be sharing his wisdom surrounding the power of purposeful habits in helping us to stay engaged and present with those we love. He and his wife, Lauren, have three boys and live in Richmond, Virginia.


  • J.R. has spent the past twenty years working with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in a variety of forms: the video game industry, transportation systems, academia, startups, and Silicon Valley industrial research labs.  He will be exploring how the human brain works and why we make the choices we do online. He will also offer some thoughts on how we can be better “Digital Citizens of Heaven.”

“Screenagers” Movie

  • “Screenagers” is an award-winning film that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics.  The film offers solutions on how we can help our teenagers navigate the digital world.APEX will also be hosting a panel discussion with technology specialist and Dallas Theological Seminary professor John Dyer, immediately following the screening.

Click the link below to REGISTER.



Giving A Little Love

Restoration singing carols at Sunrise Senior Living

The first time I went to Sunrise Senior Living to sing Christmas Carols with the residents, I was a volunteer working with APEX Youth Ministry and had no idea what to expect.  By the time it was over, I was convinced that we needed to do this every year and now that I am the Director of Youth Ministry, we do.

When we think of Restoration’s mission to connect people to God, others and the needs of the world, it is easy to default to the work we do overseas or with our local partnerships with AFAC, Casa Chirilagua and Restoration Immigration Legal Aid (R.I.L.A). It’s easy to get lost in the idea that big acts of service are the ones that are the most impactful. This yearly trip to Sunrise showed me, first hand, that small acts of service can carry just as much of an effect.

As the mantra of our Kids’ ministry exclaims, everyone wants to know that they are loved, known and seen by God.  It doesn’t take much to remind them of that.  Sometimes it’s a wink, a hand on the shoulder in solidarity, or an entire congregation of your neighboring church coming over and singing exuberantly at the top of their lungs with Santa and elf hats galore.

We invite you to join us again this year after the 5pm service, to take 30 minutes to spread some Christmas cheer to residents who can be easily forgotten.  Help us to remind them again this season that they are not.

Where:  Sunrise Senior Living
2000 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207

When:  This Sunday, December 17th (6:30pm – 7:15pm) –
Immediately following the 5pm service.

Hope to see you there,

Isaiah Brooms
Director of Youth Ministry




APEX experiences the “ART” of giving up


APEX Youth Ministry Experiences the season of Lent through the "Art of Giving Up."

APEX Youth Ministry experiences the season of Lent through the “Art of Giving Up.”

Last weekend, APEX Middle and High School reviewed the concept of “incurvatus in se,” from the book “The Good of Giving Up,” by Aaron Damiani.  They were asked to embrace Lent as a time to cease focusing on our dependence on earthly desires and drives and instead to focus on the provisions and Grace made possible through dependence on God.

They were then asked to express (on a chalk board) through words and images what came to their hearts and minds as they meditated on the 40 day journey of Christ into the wilderness. With full knowledge that their work would be erased the following Sunday as a symbol of how our sins and bodies will be washed away and returned to dust (Genesis 3:19), this is what they came up with.  I encourage you to watch this video and view their expressions this Sunday, March 19th, in the upper narthex.  It will be washed following the 5pm services.

To volunteer for APEX or to have your child join middle or high school, please contact Isaiah Brooms at




Peter and Jesus: How the right friend can change your life forever


“Burned deep within every human soul throbs a muted pain. It’s a lifelong yearning to know and to be known, to understand and to be understood, to possess and to be possessed, to belong unconditionally and forever without fear of loss, betrayal, or rejection. It is the search, however wanton and sullied, for the pristine grace of holding and being held, for the freedom to be who we really are without shame or pretense, for release and repose in the womb-like safety of unalterable acceptance and of overarching love.”                                                                                                             – Dr. Bilezikian (Co-Founder, Willowcreek Community Church)

APEX Youth Ministry is currently running a series called, “Friendship Matters.” We are exploring Jesus’ relationship with his inner circle and using that as a framework for modeling how we choose our own.   This past Sunday we studied Jesus’ relationship with Peter.  Here are some highlights from my “Main Event” talk that prompted great small group discussion between our leaders and the APEX Youth.

When I was 10 years old I was betrayed by my best friend / cousin over the empty contents of a pitcher of Kool-aid.  Knowing that his mother instructed us to not drink it, we formed an unholy alliance to drink some of it and replace the contents with water.  The Kool-Aid Pact of 1988 fell apart when Timmy started taking big gulps… and bigger gulps…and even bigger gulps until he had devoured every drop.

Later that evening when his mom demanded to know what happened, my heart sunk and my head spun as Timmy proclaimed, “Isaiah drank all of it. I saw him do it!”  I was consequently punished and sent home.  Before I left, I had one question for my now ex-best friend, “Why did you lie?”  His response, “Because I didn’t want to get into trouble.”

My cousin and I shared an intimacy that was impossible to replace so I called him and told him that what he did was really mean and it hurt but I missed him and I didn’t care anymore. I accepted him back, told him we didn’t ever have to talk about it again and Timmy surprised me by muttering the words, “I’m sorry.” In that moment, Timmy seemingly transformed.  For the rest of his life he never lied on me again (sometimes at great cost to himself), in fact he started looking up to me for advice, following me everywhere I went and the last thing he said to me before he died, in the same tone muttered before, was “I love you.”

In the Gospel of John we see Peter, after Jesus had been crucified, back in his hometown fishing with some of the other disciples.  I often wonder what was going through Peter’s mind as he sat there reflecting over what had just transpired at Golgotha.  What was he thinking as he reflected over how he denied his teacher, his friend / the Messiah in his hour of need?  Was it possible for Peter to have ever found a way through his shame?

I tear up when I think about Peter and Jesus on the shore having their Kool-Aid moment. To see Peter given a chance to wipe his shame away and to see Jesus transition Peter from that shame to a man transformed finally into the “rock”, is such an intimate and formative scene.  We see Peter, a man who once ran from the call of the cross, now fully embracing it as his reality and walking faithfully towards it.

How do we attract friends into our lives that have the same ability to transition us from shame to becoming our best selves?  In John 15:9-17, Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you… 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Another way of putting this is to say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  You will attract disciple quality people to you, if you become a disciple quality person.  Do you want a friend who is loyal?  Well, be a loyal friend.  Do you want a friend who loves you? Well, love your friends.  Do you want a friend who will speak truth into your life and help you to be your best self?  Well, be that type of person for your friends.

Meanwhile, I know life is challenging and you all have a lot of things coming at you everyday.  That’s why you have your APEX Youth leaders.  We want to answer any questions you have and we want to walk beside you through the frustration and confusion.  We will be with you while you sort out and build up your network of trusted and meaningful friends.  After all, doing that is what our closest friends do for us.

We’ve got your back and we are here for you!


Welcome, Isaiah Brooms!

Isaiah Brooms

On December 15, Isaiah Brooms began employment at Restoration as our full-time Director of Youth Ministries.  We are thrilled!  Isaiah has been a member of Restoration for over 5 years.  He served actively in our Kids’ Small Groups and as a member of vestry.  He is passionate about the opportunity for middle and high schoolers to know Jesus and to trust Him.

When you see Isaiah, ask him how his first week went on the job.  And then ask him about his hopes and dreams for youth at Restoration.  You will get excited, too!

Here is a reflection that Isaiah wrote as he was waiting for his first day to arrive…

“Finding Your Place”

Mary and Joseph, on the eve of Jesus’ birth set out to do the one thing every parent in this world wants for their child, they set out to find a place for Him where he could be protected from harm and grow.

As I stare at my now six-month old daughter, I pray that I will be able to help her navigate the world and find safe places where she can belong, be known, and grow in her relationship with Christ. I have heard these desires echoed among countless parents at Restoration as well as in previous professional roles I have held.

Middle School and High School are pivotal times as youth seek a sense of belonging and wrestle with their identity. Who am I? Who am I not? Am I loved? Who loves me? Voices of peers, the media, family members, and other adults clamor with often conflicting messages. 

This Advent season, as I waited with anticipation to become the Director of Youth Ministry at Restoration, I prayed that the youth of our church and their peers would find deep truths to these questions through the APEX community (Restoration’s Middle and High School Ministry) – you are a child of God, perfectly made and perfectly loved, and you are welcome here.  I long for students to build substantive and nourishing friendships with peers while also interacting with caring, invested adults who can speak truth and provide wise-counsel.

I look forward to the privilege of walking alongside parents of Restoration and their children as they seek to find their place in God’s story.

In Him,
Isaiah E. Brooms, 
Director of Youth Ministries

Giving thanks

Saying “Yes!” makes such a difference.  That day in May — before our building was finished — when I asked Jesus how He wanted us to use our building, was the day I got the phone call from Operation Christmas Child:  “Operation Christmas Child has been praying for a church in Arlington to be a Relay Center during National Collection Week; a place where people from your area can drop off their filled shoebox gifts.  Would Restoration be interested?”
So, we said “Yes!” in faith.  Faith that our building would be done in time.  Faith that we could find the volunteers to help serve.  Faith that people would come.  Faith that we could manage all that we didn’t even know to expect.  Faith that our space would be another link in furthering the good news of the Gospel.  Here’s how our prayers were answered and our faith strengthened:  We received 2,420 shoeboxes.  Packed them into 134 cartons.  Filled 3/4 of a 26′ truck and drove it to Alexandria. All of this with the help of  51 Restoration folks volunteering around 110 hours.  There are numerous stories of people we met who are the whole reason we did all this in the first place.  Pray for those folks who got to experience giving in this way and those who may have stepped foot in a church for the first time in a long time and  those who are so young, yet seem to hear and know more than the grownups do.  Thank you, Restoration, for participating and serving; for modeling for your children and family and friends what it is like to be part of a community that desires to see broken people, restored by grace, living God’s story.

Bridging the Gap tomorrow

Youth Outreach PicHey Restoration,

As David said on Sunday, the Bridging the Gap team is gearing up for another year of outreach to Washington-Lee High School.  Specifically, we’ll be teaming up with some folks from Young Life to intentionally get to know students, establish a presence there, and ultimately work towards forming a club on campus.

Here are a couple of important things I’d love for you to know about this opportunity:

  • The Bridging the Gap team is still taking shape – you could be on the team!  We’re looking to expand the team, so if this is something you feel God is calling you to, we’d love to have you.
  • This is going to be challenging in all the right ways.  One of the best ways to grow in your faith is to step out and do something scary – like walking up to a group of teenagers you don’t know and talking to them!
  • You will be trained.  We’re going to be shepherded by Carlos Dimas, who has years of experience working with youth generally and with starting Young Life clubs specifically. He’s a great guy and a great teacher.  We’ll also be working as a team, so you’ll be well-taken care of.
  • This is directly in line with our church’s vision for the next five years.  At the last parish meeting, David laid out our vision for the next stage in Restoration’s life – to reach 2000 disciples.  This opportunity will be a very concrete way to begin implementing that vision, as some of us to step out in faith to make connections with the people around us. And what better place to begin than virtually across the street from our church.  There are a lot of amazing kids at this school who need to know that God loves them, and I’m looking forward to Restoration playing a role in making that happen.

Tomorrow we will be having a meeting for anyone who’s interested.  Even if you’re not sure you can make a commitment just yet, come on out and hear more about what’s going on.

Here are the details:

Time: Wednesday, August 20th, 7:30pm.
Place: 4636 3rd St. South, in Arlington.
Contact: You can reach me at 202-459-7203 or

Hope to see you there!

– Clay

Bridging the Gap – Join us

Youth Outreach PicHey Restoration,

Over the last year, the Bridging the Gap team has been getting together to pray and brainstorm about ways that we can love our local high school, Washington-Lee. We’ve also spent a significant amount of time on the campus volunteering for their basketball and baseball games and getting to know folks in the process.

This coming school year – as Restoration prepares to move back to Quincy Street, virtually across the street from the school – our team is taking our outreach efforts at W-L to a new level. We’ll be partnering with Young Life to reach out to students and work towards forming a club on campus.

In order to do this, we need more people to be part of the team. This is a unique opportunity to be trained and be part of a team that connects with teenagers and makes a difference at our neighborhood high school. We’ll be on the front lines of something new, which will be challenging but also really exciting.

If you’d like to know more, we’ll be having a meeting on July 8th, 7:30pm, at 4636 3rd St. South, in Arlington. If you plan to come, or have any other questions, please let me know at

Hope to see you there!

Giving thanks for our leaders

Giving thanks for our leaders


The book of Hebrews says…

Remember  your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and  imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is  the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13: 7-8

Over the next couple of weeks, Restoration will conclude a few significant programs before taking a break for July and August.  APEX has already finished up, Tri2 of small groups ends next week, and our last day of Kids’ Small Groups is June 29.  Hundreds of people have benefited from the incredible people who volunteer as adult, Apex, and kids’ small group leaders.  HUNDREDS!!

The encouragement from Hebrews is to remember these volunteer leaders–  meaning to give thanks for them, to think about them, to be deliberate in praying and articulating gratitude for them.  They have opened their lives to us.  They have helped us wrestle with the Scriptures.  They have taught us how to make crafts.  They have asked hard questions and encouraged us to pray for each other.  They have let us learn from their faith and trust in the goodness of God.

Our Kids’ small group leaders have served at great cost to themselves.  Since we have gone to one service, they have not had an option for corporate worship on Sundays.  Our adult small group leaders coordinate child care, get snacks, study Scripture, and THINK ABOUT YOU all week long.  Our Apex leaders have been covered in cheetoes and asked insightful questions and given up Sunday nights to love our middle and high schoolers.

Would you consider how to thank them over the next couple of weeks?  Send them a note.  Look them in the eye and affirm their gifts.  Seek them out and tell them how grateful you are.

I do not take these servant leaders for granted.  Restoration is chock full of people who want to give and who want to see folks walk faithfully after Jesus.  I thank God for them everyday.  Would you join me?

Thanks Small Group Leaders.


P.S. Want to become one of these servant superstars?  Drop us a line.  There is always room for more.



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