Seven Hopes For Our Next Seven Years
Last month we turned seven years old as a church. You can read more about that here. Since many of you are relatively new to DCC, I thought I’d take this milestone as an opportunity to share seven hopes we have for the next seven years. These aren’t exhaustive, of course, and my assumption throughout is that our current culture of being a God-saturated, Christ-centered, Spirit-dependent, Bible-fueled, faith-filled, holiness-pursuing, people-loving-people will only deepen (which is why I don’t explicitly mention them below). If you’re not already a part of this family-on-mission, we invite you to join our next membership class this weekend. Here are seven of our hopes, in no particular order:
Hope #1 A Permanent Home
This can seem like a bland hope, but its not. We spent our first four years completely mobile, setting-up and tearing-down every single week. Every piece of equipment that was needed for a Sunday gathering fit into a barrage of boxes with wheels. During the week we had an office in a donated space on the 17th floor of a downtown high-rise. But, the office was so small that all of the staff couldn’t work there at the same time—and we only had four! For midweek classes, or meetings, we met at the Belltown Community Center or in various apartment community rooms throughout the city. In other words, being able to consolidate our base of gospel ministry in our current building has been a game-changer, even amidst its own challenges. With two years left on our current lease, in an inflated real estate market, finding a permanent home in the city is a significant point of prayer.
Hope #2 A Missional Culture
God’s mission for us is to make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Acts 1:8)—across the street and around the world. That happens as we cultivate a heart for the lost and seek to share the good news of Jesus with our not-yet-believing friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. It is easy for a church to subtly shift to being so preoccupied with its own needs that it neglects the greatest needs of our neighbors—to know and belong to Jesus. Therefore, a second hope we have for the next seven years is to continue to intentionally cultivate a culture that loves the lost and seeks to share the radical news of Jesus.
Hope #3 A Discipleship Culture
Christians are meant to grow, mature, and develop deep roots in God. That process is called “discipleship” where a follower of Jesus progressively—amidst starts and stops—learns to walk in Jesus’ ways for our joy (Jn.15:11) and his glory (1Cor.10:31). Discipleship doesn’t happen in a vacuum, or merely by reading books or listening to podcasts, but primarily in the context of relationships with others who are seeking the same. By God’s grace, we do have a culture of discipleship in place, but there is more to be done. Imagine if every member of DCC had two to three people they were intentionally investing in to help them grow in Jesus. Our aim is to kneed this even more deeply and fully into the fabric of who we are as Jesus’ people in the next seven years.
Hope #4 A Diverse Culture
We know that God’s great redemptive purposes span millennia, continents, ethnicities, ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses and more (Rev.7:9-12). Jesus’ redeemed bride will be a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic people. It will be like that then because that is the kind of people Jesus’ is redeeming now. That means we need to think intentionally and thoughtfully about how to cultivate a diverse people, in Jesus. We need to ask important questions like, “Why is the city, during the week, so often more diverse than the church, on Sunday?” Or, “Are there systemic and historical ways sin has created this bifurcation? If so, how we can intentionally bring healing there?” Believe it or not, as a church, we’re more diverse now than we’ve ever been. But, we know there’s room to grow. So we’re actively navigating these waters in hope, asking Jesus to allow us to grow as a diverse people in the years ahead.
Hope #5 A Forward-Thinking Culture
I was recently struck by verse four of Psalm 145, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts….” In his wisdom, God has chosen to spread his fame and saving goodness, in Jesus, as one generation commends him to the next. I suppose this stood out because I recently turned 40. Now that I’ve crossed the 50 yard line I have begun to think about the importance of the next generation—namely students. I’m not saying I’m ready to hang it up! Far from it. But, its never too early to think about those who will be here long after us. How I long to see a generation of young people, passionate about the Lord, convinced of the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, gripped by the gospel of grace, with lives open to follow his leading. But, that doesn’t just happen. As with everything, intentionality is required. Therefore, another hope for the next seven years is that we are able to implement a plan to reach, equip, and send students, and other young people, for the cause of Christ.
Hope #6 A City-Loving Culture
If you’re around long enough you will hear us say something like, “We’re not in the city to look down on the city in pride, nor cower under the city in fear, but to love and challenge the city with the reality of Jesus.” We love Seattle. God’s common grace here is staggering, if we have eyes to see. Yet, amidst the beauty, there is tremendous brokenness. So, we want be known for spreading the good news of Jesus, but also known for being good news in our city. Our hope is that this will continue to express itself in the form of expanding mercy ministries, partnership with like-minded churches, integration of faith and work, thoughtful engagement with the arts scene, and more. By God’s grace, we hope our roots sink even more deeply into the soil of this city for its good and the glory of God. Let’s love this city to life in the next seven years.
Hope #7 A Sending Culture
Our hopes for the next seven years go well beyond ourselves. Over the last seven years, together, we have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund church plants around the world, including places like Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, Japan, and all along the west coast (from San Diego to Alaska). This is, in large part, due to our affiliation with the Acts 29 Network. We hope to do even more in the next seven years. Even right now we are looking at developing a formal partnership with Radius, a training center for missionaries seeking to plant churches amidst unreached people groups around the world—three of our members are already involved. Will you join me in praying that the Lord will continue to grow us as a sending center for the sake of the world?
What Might He Do Next?
I write all of this fully aware that, “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Pr.19:21). The Lord of all the earth will do what is right. Our role is to be faithful, while allowing the Lord to determine the fruit. Knowing that should cause us to pray big prayers and dream big dreams. This is not the work of one man, nor a particular group of passionate individuals—this is our work. This is the work of Jesus’ church—and we’re all gifted and called to participate in his unfolding drama of redemption (1Cor.12:4-30). Let’s enter these next seven years filled with faith, hope and love. “Come Lord, Jesus!” (Rev.22:20).
What might he do next?
Expectantly yours, in Christ.