If you were at The District Church last Sunday, you’ll already know this; but if you weren’t, here’s an email update that Aaron (lead pastor of The District Church) sent out earlier this week with the good news:
It was two years ago that we began meeting and praying in our home as we were in the process of starting the church. We wrote down the vision we believed God gave to us, “To be a multiplying network of neighborhood churches that exists for Christ and the renewal of our city.”
We believed that God called us to this city for a purpose. To build roots and seek the peace of the city in a way that lifts up the name of Christ. We knew that we wanted it to start in Columbia Heights but not end here. We knew that cities don’t change at once but rather one neighborhood at a time.
We began to dream: what if we were able to plant a church and start an urban ministry in every neighborhood throughout the city? We could have the strength of a large church but the flexibility and community of a small church. As we began to pursue this and ask ourselves what would it take to begin to make steps toward this huge vision, it all came down to one thing; leadership. Everything rises and falls on the quality of leadership.
We began casting a vision for a Leadership Residency program that would help train people who are called to plant a church or start an urban ministry. It would not an internship, which is only meant to gain experience in a field, but rather like a medical residency. We thought if the medical profession requires 3+ years of a residency to work on bodies than we should at least require a year residency to train people to work on souls!
Justin Fung was our first leadership resident and he was ordained in November, and is now serving as Associate Pastor here. Blythe Scott is our second leadership resident and is focused on the urban ministry component.
Leadership Residents are asked to raise their own support. It’s a way to test one’s calling; much like ours has been tested over the years! But we as the church have wanted to do our part as well. Since housing is the most expensive part of everyone’s budget in this city (it was over 50% of our budget when we moved here), we began to dream about being able to provide housing for leadership residents.
So we began praying that God would literally give us a house. This was a bold prayer to pray at the beginning as a house church of 20 people in the midst of a high priced housing market during an economic downturn, but we prayed. Deep down I was thinking that this would be 5-10 years down the road.
Well, I’m excited to share that God has provided! We have a house!
An anonymous donor loaned us the money to purchase the house and retain it for at least the next five years!
It will be used for some meetings and hospitality space for some church gatherings, but the main goal is to make sure we are providing a good pipeline of leaders for the vision God is birthing in our community to make disciples and truly be a church for the city.
The house is just a block south of where we live, and very close to many others in the church.
It gets me fired up to share this because I am reminded that our God is on the move! Our leadership community and several small groups have been praying for this. It is such an affirmation from God about the calling we have as a church.
This city is full of people with good ideas. Lots of people that move here have good intentions to make a difference in our city and world. But we are not just looking for good ideas, we are looking for people who are called and have a burden.
By purchasing this house we are saying to ourselves as a church that we value leadership at our very core. That making disciples who make disciples is the very essence of our mission.
I can’t wait to have you visit the house, but more importantly experience what God is doing here.
If you have some candidates for our leadership residency who are called to ministry in the city, send them our way!
Aaron & Amy