ANDREW: I Have A Dream
I have a dream. My dreams are limited by my wisdom. God’s dreams for his kingdom are much better, deeper, bigger, and richer. My prayer is that this dream is rooted in God’s wisdom and woven into the story of his kingdom. It is my prayer for this church—for you, for us.
I have a dream of a church that exists to be an authentic, worshiping community proclaiming and embodying the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I dream of seeing the powerful effects of the gospel transform the lives of both Christians and non-Christians. I dream of a Gospel-centered church because it is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). It is the real story of God’s creation, man’s rebellion and God’s redemption; that sinners are forgiven and acceptable to God solely because of the completed work of Jesus Christ. The gospel transforms life in terms of what we think (mind), feel (emotions), and do (will). In short, the gospel is this:
We are more sinful and weak than we ever dared to admit, and in Jesus,
We are more loved and accepted than we ever dreamed possible.
I dream of a church where the Gospel is a reservoir that quenches our thirst, cleanses us, supplies the community, and is so refreshing we never want to leave it. I dream of the Gospel saturating our relationships…freeing us from hypocrisy, faking it, and putting on a show while we actually live in silent, isolated desperation. I dream of a safe place where people can be authentic and genuine, where we can admit our doubts and struggles with sin, where we can ask skeptical questions, and where we find a community that will not reject us or merely “put up with us,” but come alongside us for help and healing. I dream that the depth of our prayers will go below the surface to drink deeply of the waters of grace, that we will express our earnest and thirsty pleas for help with anger, self-righteousness, perfectionism, lust, apathy, critical attitudes, and whatever prevents us from living as an authentic community of faith.
I dream of a church where nobody feels ignored, overlooked, or marginalized. I dream of a church that goes beyond “niceness” and demonstrates loving unity amidst our diversity—where younger people want to learn from older people and older people respect the ideas and dreams of younger people; where people of one ethnicity eat with those of other ethnicities and learn to appreciate their respective cultures; where healthy people listen to, learn from, and love people with chronic illness, diseases, or disabilities, and where they serve and are just as much a part of church as anyone else; where people who have been blessed financially freely associate with those who have less and give generously to help those in need, and where those who battle unemployment or struggle to make very basic ends meet are integrally involved in serving and leading in the church. I dream of a church environment where the religious and the irreligious can be challenged by the grace and truth of Jesus. I dream of people hanging in there with each other when they disagree rather than running away. I dream of people looking for how they can be contributors rather than just be consumers. I dream of it being similar to marriage where we are in it together for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health.
I dream of a church whose services and ministries show us the power of the gospel and are more life-giving and necessary to people than excitement of a football game—where people miss gathering for worship and look forward to coming back from a much-needed vacation to be part of the worshiping community at Spring Run.
I have a dream of a church that strives to make growing followers of Jesus who influence other with the gospel for the good of individuals, families, our community, and the world.
I dream of a church where people are growing as followers of Jesus and influencing others to be followers of Jesus, where the serious follower and the skeptical seeker are on a forward-moving spiritual journey. I dream of most of us (not just a few) being filled with the gospel so much that we cannot help but to invite others to taste and see. I dream of us praying for, bringing, and connecting unchurched people into friendship and membership in our church. I dream of many new Christians every year, and complacent, numb Christians coming alive again to the love of God. I dream of them understanding the Bible and learning to pray as a normal part of life. I dream of them growing into leaders in our church. I dream of helping them discover how they can best serve God using the gifts he has given them rather than the ones we dream up for them.
I dream of our children and youth understanding the gospel and embracing a view of the world that is informed by the Bible and guided by the Holy Spirit. I dream of college students and singles taking risks and using the unique time in life to influence others around the world with the love and mercy of Jesus. I dream of marriages that showcase the gospel in the way they relate to one another. I dream of parents who don’t just endure their kids but enjoy the moments they have to shepherd their hearts and point them to Jesus, who go beyond behavior modification and pray for and look for heart transformation.
I dream of our students having significant influence on their middle and high school campuses and for students to find the belonging and acceptance they long for in the love we show. I dream of ministries that meet needs in our community and provide counsel and help to so much of the brokenness of life. I dream of participating in a movement that multiplies churches through planting new ones in the Richmond metro area, throughout Virginia, and the world. I dream of people willingly making big sacrifices to proclaim and embody the gospel locally and globally—some through helping start new churches in the area, some through mission trips as a bold vacation that you won’t forget, and others through moving to live in another place.
I dream of impacting culture in such a positive way that the community is glad we exist, and would miss us if we ceased to exist. I dream of striving for more than safety, comfort, or a sentimental story. I dream of being bold and taking risks to play our part in the cosmic gospel story that God is working out in the world—that what we strive for would fail unless God worked powerfully in us. I want our lives, our families, and our church to count. I want to see the fingerprints of God all over my life and all over our church. I pray the dream continues to shape into reality—into a beautiful story in which we are characters—and I pray that you want to share the dream too.