This Sunday we launch into one of the most pivotal moments we’ve ever faced as a church. Behind us we have a sixty-year history of changed lives; in front of us we have tremendous opportunity and hope for another sixty years of gospel ministry in the city of Austin. These are deep roots, which will cause to flourish us by God’s grace in this new season.
My own story has intersected for almost a decade with the larger story of our parish. As I’ve been reflecting on the early days I remember vividly my first Sunday of worship. As the service ended the acolyte and I processed down the aisle, but instead of stopping at the back we kept walking, inviting God’s people to follow us out of the building and to the hilltop view of the city skyline, standing under the iconic 15 ft. Celtic cross. From that elevated prospect we stretched out our hands to bless the city, our mission field, and declare the day of the Lord’s favor upon every hurting and lost person below. From there we declared that we would “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!” and we shouted our “alleluias.”
Now, almost a decade later, we have a new prospect. As two of our campaign leaders, Karen Friesen and Eleanor Chote, have so eloquently spoken: “now, with the purchase and renovation of the new property, we will move into that view, we will be an incarnate presence of the gospel in the middle of that city.” Eleanor, born in Austin and now in her retirement years, said to many of you in meeting at the new property: “I like to be in the middle of things.” I can hardly believe the beauty and favor of our Lord that has put us in this position to fulfill our mission.
The new property is the centerpiece of Deep Roots, New Season, and will require the largest portion of the $2.5 million goal, but it is not the only focus. A successful Deep Roots, New Season journey will also enable us to embark on some church planting efforts and local mission through neighborhood development and cultural engagement initiatives.
I want to ask you to be part of this new season with us, to earnestly listen to the Lord and respond to His invitations. It will cost us something.
We believe that God wants to use Christ Church in the city of Austin as a people with lives transformed, changing our world, together for His glory. The call is challenging (Mark 8.34-35). The opposition is great (1 Peter 5.8). But Jesus stands with us (Matt. 28.20).
Lastly, I’d like to call for the next four Mondays to be a day of fasting and prayer. Please join me and other parish leaders to submit this new season, and our own participation, to the Lord.
Your co-worker in the gospel,
PS It’s not too late! Please join us this Sunday at 1pm in the Stott Room for our Membership Class. It’s the next step, if you’ve never attended one.