I got an e-mail today with this pic from Joe Wilson, a NewThing movement leader in Russia. This is a photo of some of the church planters with whom he is currently working. The guy holding the book is the Baptist Bishop for the Altai Region of Russia; and the book he is holding is a Russian version of On The Verge. Alan Hirsch and I wrote On The Verge and published it last year to help existing church make a shift to get all their people engaged in the mission of Jesus. You can get an english copy HERE.
A little over a year ago, a small group
of people began meeting in an apartment in the Edgewater neighborhood of
Chicago with the dream of helping this community become all that it can be. They couldn’t help but notice that
Chicago is filled with hurried, worried and busy people. In an effort to give their
neighbors some encouragement and hope one of them got an idea for #chalktheblock. The idea is now spreading all over
Chicagoland and is something that everyone can participate in. In this video,
Rich Gorman tells the story of how it all got started.
The weekend started on Saturday morning with hundreds of leaders cramming into the Yellow Box for a spirited Leadership Community to celebrate the commissioning of Rich & Dori Gorman and our COMMUNITY-Edgewater team. The photo above is our lead team praying for the Gormans and our elders praying and annointing the volunteer team from the Edgewater neighborhood that lead our new COMMUNITY campus there. When Jon Ferguson asked Dori, "What was your greatest fear?" With a laugh Dori said, "My greatest fear was that no one would want to help us start this new site." With more than 20 leaders surrounding the Gormans on the stage during the commissioning, that fear was definitely not realized. This was a great moment as our leaders prayed and celebrated together the beginning of our twelth COMMUNITY location.
Then on Sunday morning at 10:30 am those prayers were answered as a friends and neighbors from Edgewater filled the theater of Swift Elementary School. The photo above shows a diverse crowd standing and worshipping together.
With each new site we start there are new learnings and one of the key insights we've gained from this new site is the priority of being a church both "in" and "for" the community. For the last year the Gorman's and others bulit relationships with Swift Elementary School, Eco-Andersonville, Peterson Garden Project, Organization of the Northeast, Care For Real and Alderman Harry Osterman's office. Each of those partnerships are strategic in helping us reach, restore and reproduce God's dream for this neighborhood. And it was so good to have each of those partnerships present for the first service and join us in this celebration.