It’s really hard for me to process what just happened tonight at The Parish. For most of the day, I walked around in a bit of a dazed stupor, wondering “Is this real life?” Something about it felt odd, out-of-body-experience-like. Even as the room began to get set up and take shape, I thought, “surely this isn’t real, this couldn’t possibly be happening.” But it did happen. And it blew me away.
What really made tonight special for me were two big things. First, I don’t feel like people experienced “my church.” Several people asked me, “are you excited about seeing your church come to life?” In the end, I didn’t feel like that at all. The community of incredible people that has been slowly growing and meeting in our living room, tonight it was their church, and I couldn’t stop smiling as I watched them lead the charge and welcome people into our new congregation. It was so humbling to see, and I can’t wait to see it continue in the days ahead.
Second, I walked away with a strong sense that Jesus showed up in a powerful way. I sensed His presence in our singing, in our prayers and readings. But more than that, I sensed a deep sense of His presence in the people around me. It was the kids running around in the back of the room, the smiles and laughter as people hung around and made new connections and friendships, Jesus was with us and it truly felt like a family.
6 months ago, The Parish was an idea on a pin-board hanging on my wall. Tonight, that idea came to life, and the exciting thing is that it’s only the beginning. I can’t wait to see where God wants to take us, what story He wants to tell in and through us. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this crazy journey.
To those of you who were there, thanks so much for coming and packing the place out. Your excitement was infectious, and I hope we don’t lose it any time soon! To those that couldn’t make it, you missed out! But don’t worry, you can join us next time on January 4th, and we’d love to have you. For those of you who have given financially to help bring this vision to life, we can’t thank you enough. Your generosity matters, and it made a huge difference tonight.
Finally, for my wife and all of our Parish Launch team, I’m so humbled by the people you are, the work you’ve put in, and the community God is forming in you. Can’t wait to see where God takes us all in the days ahead!
…now I’m going to bed.