In case you haven’t heard via phone/email/Facebook/Twitter, I got the job at ONE! I’ve been working there for a week and a half now, and I absolutely love it. It’s a challenge—and it’s pretty exhausting, too—to work two jobs (30 hours a week at ONE and 20-25 hours at The District Church), but I love both; and am grateful for your prayers last week for the interview.

As a quick summary, the campaign that I’ve been hired for is coordinating a nationwide event on April 10, called “Lazarus Sunday” (so-called because one of the passages in the lectionary for that day is the raising of Lazarus in John 11). We want to use this occasion, in conjunction with the (RED)/HBO documentary “The Lazarus Effect”—which looks at the positive impact of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) on people living with HIV/AIDS, and which you can watch here—to raise awareness and push for advocacy asks through churches, and thus build relationships with churches to engage in the rest of ONE’s work on fighting extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

I’m excited to be working on such a worthwhile project; I love the people I get to work with; and I’m looking forward to seeing more churches engaged in fighting HIV/AIDS. I’ll include more updates on how this goes in future emails, too.

Getting this job definitely helps with raising support, as it’ll take me up to about $23,000 of the $30,000 that I forecasted I’d need for this year; but it means I still have a few grand of support left to raise for this year. If you know anyone you think would be interested in supporting a certain musician-activist-pastor, let me know!

Prayers please …

  1. For the family and friends of Lucki Pannell. She was a senior at Cardozo High School, where several from our church—including myself—volunteer with Young Life; in fact, she also attended Young Life. This past Saturday, she was killed in a shooting two streets away from where I live. Please pray also for the peace of our neighborhood and the life of our community.
  2. For the boys I’ve been getting to know at Young Life, whose lives are so different from mine, and yet whom I know God has called me to invest in.
  3. For The District Church, as we continue to grow, build relationships within the church and in our neighborhood, seek opportunities to serve and love the people around us, and seek the transformation of our city.
  4. For myself, as I try to be disciplined with my time, balancing a couple of jobs, trying to give my best to both, and also to take some rest and not burn out! Prayers for the success of the ONE campaign I’m working on would also be appreciated!

Grace and peace to you and your loved ones,

Previously on “Justin @The District Church”

  1. Washington, DC: Chapter 2(October 11, 2010)
  2. Beginning November (and the Leadership Residency)(November 1, 2010)
  3. Why The District Church?(November 18, 2010)
  4. My First Sermon(December 15, 2010)
  5. What a difference a year makes(December 29, 2010)
  6. If I Keep Going At This Rate(January 18, 2011)
  7. A Message and a Job Interview (January 31, 2011)


I/we would like to offer monthly support by donating on the 1st____ 16th____ of the month:*

$500____  $250____  $100____  $50____  $25____  Other______

These contributions will be mailed ___ transferred online___ automatically drafted online ___.

I/we would like to give a special gift of $_________________

Name:____________________  Phone:________________


City:______________  State:____  Zip/Postcode:_________


Checks can be made payable to “The District Church,” with “Leadership Residency” in the memo and sent to: The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010.

* The initial commitment would be for one year, though you’re welcome to lengthen or shorten your commitment; just include this information in your response.

** The most convenient option for you to give would be online via the church website. Please make sure to select “Leadership Residency” when it asks you to “Choose a Fund.”

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.

Jesus is a liberal democrat

Stephen Colbert tells it like it is, almost crossing over from satire to sincerity in doing so:

If this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit we just don’t want to do it.

Why The District Church?

Hey friends,

Having shared some of my personal journey in Washington, DC: Chapter 2, I thought that you might appreciate knowing a little more about the church. (Let me warn you now: this email is long. Like, really long.)

A Church for the City

At The District Church, we want to be centered around and excelling in worship, community and justice; we want to be a church that seeks to love God, to love our neighbors, and to love the city to which God had called us. If you look on the church’s website (, one of our first descriptors is “A Church for the City.”

This vision and passion is built upon God’s words to the Israelite people in exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).

Washington, DC is a fascinating city. On the one hand, it is a city rich in culture and history, a city to which movers and shakers from all over the world come, a city that leads the country in terms of life expectancy, education and income.

And yet it is also a city with devastating poverty, a struggling public education system, and an HIV infection rate higher than many sub-Saharan African nations—it’s estimated that one in every twenty adults in DC has the infection.

People come to DC to change the country, to change the world … and yet changing the city is often overlooked. We want to be a church that seeks to make a genuine, tangible difference in the place to which we have been called.

Moreover, community is hard to find in a city whose transience is so ingrained by the political cycles; in this context, we want to be a church that provides such to people. People may—and will—leave DC because God calls them to other things, but we don’t want people leaving DC because they couldn’t find a faith community and friends.

What We’ve Been Doing

As “A Church for the City,” we’ve been doing outreach into the neighborhood, including:

  • Cardozo HS Footballmaking connections with schools in the neighborhood, including cheering on one of local high schools at their football games with Young Lifers;
  • Central Union Missionserving at Central Union Mission last week;
  • sponsoring a Christmas tree for Columbia Heights, and organizing a tree lighting, complete with alternative Christmas marketplace. We’ve already got the support of the local councilmember, so we’re just working on getting a tree and lights!

In short, things are happening, and we’re super excited!

Prayer Updates and Asks

Your thoughts and prayers have been appreciated. To recap:

  1. Aaron and I have been figuring out job responsibilities, schedule and routine;
  2. I’ve applied for a couple of part-time jobs, as well as giving my résumé to friends at faith-based non-profits in case project/consultancy work becomes available; and
  3. I’m still (happily) ensconced in the Grahams’ dark (important when you’re a light sleeper like me) and warm (important when winter starts rolling in) basement.

Moving forward, I’d appreciate prayer for the following:

  1. For continued development of the job, and particularly for discipline and discernment on my part. It’s easy for me to get carried away doing work that I love, but I need to be consciously drawing boundaries and taking time off, otherwise I’m gonna burn out real soon!
  2. That fundraising continues apace (more below), that the church is able to purchase a house in the area to serve as a community outpost of sorts (which I would be able to stay in, which in turn would reduce the amount that I need to raise), and/or that a part-time job works out.
  3. That we continue making inroads into the community—it’s exciting to begin building some good relationships with folks in the neighborhood, and we want them to continue!
  4. For me on December 12 since that’s the date that I’ll be preaching for the first time (ever)! I’m starting to get really excited about it, and will post a link to the audio when it becomes available in a few weeks.

Support Update

The support has been slowly and steadily rolling in, and I’ve now raised about 33% of what I need for the year (November to November). To put this into context, I’m looking to raise about $2,500 per month (or $30,000 for the year), which includes rent, utilities, health insurance, food, transportation … everything, really! Through a combination of monthly and one-time gifts, I’m now at just over $10,000 for the year, which is pretty phenomenal for just a month of support raising!

Thanks to you all, whether you’ve given, committed to give in the coming months, or been willing but unable to give; your support and encouragement has been invaluable to me.

The next step for me is to ask each of you to connect me with somebody you think would be able, interested and willing to support me; I’ll be emailing again soon to follow up with this!

Thanks again, friends. Happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it)!



Previous installments:

  1. Washington, DC: Chapter 2 (October 11, 2010)
  2. Beginning November (and the Leadership Residency) (November 1, 2010)

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.”

To mark Earth Day, head on over to God’s Politics and check out the post I wrote. Here’s a teaser:

Today is Earth Day, an occasion for marking our responsibility to care for our world and the environment. It seems trite to have just one day to remind ourselves of the importance of this — though the same could be (and often is) said about Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. We should always be aware of how we ought to be good stewards of the world and the resources God has entrusted to us; not just one day a year.

UPDATE (04/23): The link is down. Sojo’s working on it!

UPDATE 2 (04/23): Back up!