February 2021 Update
Hello DRCC Family,
I wanted to take a moment and give you an update on where we are and where we are going.
When we look back at 2020, I think there are many ways we will remember it. The year of the pandemic, divisiveness, unrest, protests, and uncertainty. But that is only one side of the story. Looking at it from another set of lenses, I see a totally different picture—a community that stood centered on the cross, that served joyfully from a place of abundance, that gave generously in a year of economic instability, that remained committed to proclaiming Christ, and that spurred one another to take our next right step of growth in Christ. A year of great challenges, yes. But also a year of incredible opportunities.
Two years ago, we entered into a God-ordained All In Generosity journey with a goal of raising $11.5 million. We started with three purposes:
1) first, to grow together in our generosity and trusting God with our resources, recognizing He owns it all and we are His stewards,
2) to expand our facility to reach this growing region with the hope of Christ, and
3) to deepen our partnerships locally and globally as well as launch a second site.
Our elders and leaders are fully committed to that vision. As of January, we were at 93% of our goal. Way to go! We will officially celebrate the wrap up of the campaign in March so I am asking those of you still finishing up your pledge or if you want to help close the gap, continue to be generous as we look expectantly to God’s plan unfolding in our midst this year.
We are expecting the building project bids to come in by the end of March which will reveal the actual costs. However, our elders are spending a lot of time in prayer for wisdom and discernment as we look at our goal, wait to receive project bids next month, and assess what, if any adjustments – to timing or priorities - we need to make as we discern God’s will. We are still working out the timeline, but the elders are committed to not rushing through this process (it’s not a question of if, but when). We want to be prudent as we consider the reality of the many changes in our community and our world (such as post-Covid gathering habits, increasing needs locally, and new ways of reaching people with the hope of Jesus). We are moving forward, but much more prayerfully and thoughtfully. As I said in my vision message last fall, our vision, mission, and core values will remain unchanged while our strategies, ministry methods, and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. We will move forward united like we have always done as we prayerfully discern direction on how best to each our region and beyond in a post-COVID world.
I said to our elders last month that my desire is that we will make this decision about our next steps birthed out of prayer rather than a meeting that opened with a prayer. And I am telling you church, our elders and leaders are spending hours in prayer. In fact, during the month of February, members of our elders, trustees, and staff are meeting daily at 7 am to pray. Would you set aside time to pray as well? We need wisdom and discernment as we move forward. We also have monthly congregational prayer meetings and I want to encourage you to come to those as well.
I am asking each of us who call DRCC their home church to hold this in a high priority prayer. Pray for clear direction, pray we become bold champions of the gospel, pray we clearly hear and obey the one voice that matters, that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, every single we pray, something happens!
I will give my next update on this during the worship service on March 14th.
Meanwhile, I have some exciting news. Our staff and ministry leaders are working hard for us to resume in-person services in March.
As I have said before, I am learning in this season that it is a tough balance to strike right now and we won’t all agree what the right one is. There will continue to be a wide range of emotions and opinions about gathering in-person. Some people will not want to gather in-person at this time while others of you have been ready to gather in-person for weeks! What I am asking of each of us is to extend a lot of grace to one another through this season.
We will be one community, meeting at two locations - online and at the church building. We know not everyone will return to in-person services, so we will continue to strive for excellence in our online services. For those of you choosing in-person service, please remember that this will be a contactless service. We will comply with all state and county guidelines. Your health and well-being are our top priority. And we’re actively planning to provide outdoor worship services and gatherings once the weather warms up a bit.
This plan will allow all of us to join in together - either online or in person at 10 am each Sunday! And for those of you who may miss joining in, the service will be online and available for you to watch on demand anytime afterward.
We are also exploring possibilities for starting microsites (smaller gatherings around the area to view the worship service) and initial plans for a second site. Watch for more information in the coming months. Reaching out to our neighbors and serving our community like so many of you have been doing will also continue to be our primary focus as we continue to remain steadfast on proclaiming Christ. Through our interconnectedness as the Body of Christ, we declare the dignity and worth of every person, and refuse to allow walls of hostility to be built around race, ethnicity, ideology, or politics.
I was just thinking how spring is only a month away. And a few days after that we will celebrate Easter. Spring, Easter, these things remind me that God is at work. New blossoms, new life, new beginnings, working for our good in all things—that’s what our God is so good at. And it starts here, in the church.
Where we catch the vision and live out these powerful words of Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22:
“You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.” Ephesians 2:19–22 (The Message).
I love that last sentence, and that is my prayer for us. You and I, all of us, are being built together as a holy temple where God is quite at home.
So pray for those words to be fulfilled in our midst. Pray for our leaders as we seek wisdom and discernment from our Lord on the best way to move forward. Pray for spring to come!
If we do this right, the church of Jesus Christ could have its finest moment in the season ahead. Only we have the hope that transcends all human pain, suffering, pandemics, and experiences, even death! Words cannot do justice when I say, how very much we miss each of you. I hope and pray your love for Jesus is deepening during this time and you are gaining a fresh appreciation for just how much we need each other.
I look forward to seeing you online this weekend.