Thursday, September 10, 2009

It is His Kingdom...not Mine


This Sunday is the “hard launch” of the Village Church Dallas Northway. This is the next step in a congregational story that started September 8, 1952 when Northway Baptist Church began. Started in what were then open fields on the outskirts of far north Dallas, the burgeoning population of Dallas soon brought rapid growth to the area where the church was planted. Its proximity to the heart of the city made it a desirable location for young families. Fifty years later the area has passed through significant transitions, especially to the south and west. Today, those compass points find poverty and diversity among those living near the church facilities. At the same time, to the east and north of the Northway campus are communities of affluence.

Through the years, Northway was involved in God’s mission, ministering locally while engaging members to the ends of the earth. As the church neared its 30th year, it gave many members to begin Prestonwood Baptist Church ensuring a vibrant evangelistic congregation in the rapidly developing “new” north Dallas. Within another 25 years, Northway although still carrying the name, could no longer be considered “north,” instead she became a metropolitan inner city church.

Following different eras of transition, it was my privilege to become the bi-vocational pastor for Northway Baptist Church in June 2007. By then, the congregation was predominantly comprised of elder saints many of whom had been part of the church since its earliest days. The congregation continued to do its best to care for its campus of large aging facilities, buildings that had once been filled with people of all ages. Northway had adapted its services to become more contemporary…and having made that transition was not going back.

It continued to serve those in its community with needed ministries while committing itself to new missional initiatives, giving itself away to the purposes of God’s Kingdom. I was and am so proud of the Northway family for their selfless commitment, giving themselves in God’s mission. While the congregation grew, it continued to be encumbered by facilities that had become much more than what could be adequately maintained and effectively utilized.

As pastor, I prayed that God would do whatever would be required to sustain His mission at Northway. At the same time the Village Church of Highland Village was also praying for a place to plant a new campus in the heart of Dallas. The church had more than 400 families who lived in Dallas and were driving to the Highland Village campus for worship, even though their lives were planted in Dallas. They had a heart for the city, but no location in which to give expression to that heart.

During the first five months of this year, God performed a miracle in bringing the two congregations together. On May 17, Northway Baptist Church voted unanimously to unite with the Village Church to become the Village Church Dallas Northway. I would become the last pastor ever to serve Northway Baptist Church. Some will likely not understand, thinking that I led the church to “give away the farm.” My position of leadership ended June 7, 2009 with a service in which we Celebrated our Legacy of Faith. It was not the end…it was a new beginning.

Summer months have been spent in a “soft launch,” a private time during which the two congregations “marinated” into one. This Sunday, September 13, 2009 is the “hard launch” of the church. Facility enhancements have been accomplished, and a common vision is shared. A facility previously characterized predominantly by elder saints, is now rich with young adults. Each group has found the other to be indispensable in what God is seeking to accomplish. The two have become one. It has not been, and will not be, without some pain. But God is present, hope is full, and the missional future is rich with possibility.

For more information on The Village Church please visit them at www.the villagechurch.net.


2 comments:

Lisa M said...

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. It has been a pleasure serving Him with you. It's been a pleasure to marinate.

Now, let's get cookin!

April said...

As a Village Church member attending the Northway campus for the first time last Sunday, I can't tell you how excited I was about the opening of Northway. It was such a blessing to have a campus only 15 minutes away and to fellowship with those in the Dallas community. I have such a high respect for the original Northway members, as I'm sure the decisions that led us together were not easy. I love your selfless heart for the Lord and your willingness to endure change. I've never been greeted with so many smiles and hugs on a Sunday morning! I didn't take 10 steps through the front door before I was hugged by three original Northway members. Ya'll are a tremendous blessing to us, and I look forward to serving together as one body of Christ!