I was having coffee yesterday with a young missionary who has been visiting the church while on furlough. As we sat outside at White Rock Coffee and shared our stories and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon, we were interrupted several times by people I’ve come to know in the past year of planting All Saints East Dallas. I saw parishioners - you know who you are! - other pastors, and friends from the Lake Highlands neighborhood. At one point, a woman we were sharing the outdoor bench asked, “do you know everyone here?” I confessed I didn’t know her, and then introduced myself to her. The three of us had a brief but great conversation.
All Saints East Dallas is a parish of All Saints Church Dallas in Oak Lawn. This means we are a geographic subdivision of the larger church. We have one financial and governance structure, yet we exist to incarnate the All Saints vision, “to live in God’s presence and live out his love” in the three-stream model in the East Dallas context.
Much interest has grown in the past decade in renewing the parish model, namely going to church, doing life and mission in the same general area where you live. As the dream of All Saints East Dallas began to percolate in my heart and the heart of others, a consistent desire was, “I want to go to church where I live. I want to invest in a part of the city I love. I want to love my city well."
This desire has much more to do with God’s mission to the city than it does convenience. Do I enjoy not driving Central Expy if I don’t have to? Of course. But more than that, I love living where I live, knowing my neighbors and being known by them, and praying for them to be connected with the living God and his people.
That moment at White Rock Coffee of seeing so many different people who are relatively familiar with me, the ministry of All Saints East Dallas, or just my face, was a beautiful reminder from God that where we live, what we do, and who we are matters immensely, that our parish can be the seed bed for his mission.
The kind woman my friend and I introduced ourselves to later came back to White Rock Coffee to introduce her teenage daughter to us. As a result, I had the opportunity to invite her to one of our services. I hope she comes some time. But more than that, I hope she remembers a normal interaction she had with a Christian, and that God would use those seeds to draw her to himself.
See you Sunday -