The way home is through Dallas. I know that's weird, but my sense of direction is not off. I just cannot escape how God has used the "Metroplex," deep in the heart of Texas, with that awful dry rub Barbeque, to pull me back west.
DALLAS EXPERIENCE #1
I think it all probably started in August of 2013. Exhausted, I landed in Texas after a week in Haiti, (only a week after a seven state tour with my worship band.) Honestly, I didn’t want to be in Texas, in the middle of summer, in the middle of the busiest year of my life. I also didn’t want to be in fancy pants Dallas after being in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. (Culture shock much?)
However, the Southern Baptist Church was putting on The Send North America conference and as a part of an SBC supported Church plant, I felt compelled to go. The whole conference was compelling. There were so many great speakers including Dhati Lewis, Lecrae, Kevin Ezell, Luis Palau, Ed Stetzer and music led by a personal favorite, Kristy Nockels. But there was one particular moment that really stuck out to us. Casey, our lead pastor, pushed all of us to go to a break out session on the SEND cities in North America. (Cities with great influence, size and lost-ness) Ashley and I decided we might as well go to San Diego since it was our hometown. At the breakout we heard all about the need for Christ Centered churches in San Diego. (90% of the people don’t claim Christian faith) Our SEND coordinator, Victor, painted a great picture of why churches needed to be planted in San Diego. We left the break out convicted but not convinced that we might be called home. We also ended up spending time with the staff of the Village church in Dallas and were encouraged. This led to:
Dallas experience #2-
After my time with The Village Church in 2013. I scheduled a return visit in February of 2014 with the worship pastor, Michael Bleecker. Michael is a super encouraging dude, who doesn’t really care if you know that he’s won ASCAP and Dove awards. The fact that he spent an entire day with me was overwhelming. He’s talented and crazy humble. While there, Michael and the entire worship staff was sharing with me their excitement over planting a church. Something stirred in my heart after hearing the fruit of the plant. I went home and listened to everything I could from the Village about Church planting and felt the same stirring in my heart, which we felt at the SEND conference. They also began a series in Acts that left me inspired.
June 2014, The day we announced our desire to plant city life San Diego, I left after the service for a conference put on by DCPI (Dynamic Church planting International) at a building for Gateway Church in…DALLAS. I learned and grew more in my resolve and drove back to Kansas a better pastor.
Once again I was back in Dallas in October 2014 for the Village 101 conference. There, I was heartened by the encouraging staff and found myself with an even deeper love for the Church and doing it all the right way.
Would I have planted without Dallas? Yeah, probably, but God used this flat, crowded mass of earth to draw me closer to Himself and to his will. I am not sure when I’ll return to Dallas but I am forever thankful for the SEND conference, The Village Church, DCPI and Mr. Michael Bleecker who encouraged me. Dallas, your BBQ is inferior to Kansas in every way but you equip the church well and for that I am forever grateful.