I like La Madeleine. The coffee is hot and the refills are free. It's convenient, comfortable, and not as loud as SBKS. When I'm near church I usually am at the one on Lemmon.
La Madeline is self-serve. You go through the line and order. You get your own drink refills. They bring your food out, but otherwise your left alone. They don't have "wait staff" like many restaurants.
Although, consistently the staff will come around to check in, chat briefly, and say, "Can I get you anything? Would you like a refill on your coffee?" It's my responsibility to get my own coffee. It's not their job to do this. AND YET...
What does it look like for us at Central to practice this level of hospitality? To go beyond assignment or expectation? To "attract, retain, delight"?
Who have you surprised recently by reaching out to them, taking an extra step, so that they experienced a small joy at being seen and served? Perhaps you sent a note or made a call? Perhaps you greeted someone you didn't know. Perhaps you even offered to refill a coffee cup.
And regarding STARBUCKS , they're also rockstars at hospitality. If you go more than once a month they work really hard to learn your name and your drink order.
Churches ought to be "out serving" the service industry when it comes to engaging visitors. We do this not to reinforce a consumer mentality, but to convey care, and then bring people into the circle of carers where they begin serving also.
"Come, and I will teach you to fish for people."
Central Christian Church &
Central Westside Campus
SEPT 7th, 9a-3p
4711 Westside Dr, Dallas
Hopefully you've already saved the date of 9/7.
We are excited to have you join us for our retreat where we explore together how God is working in, through and among us as we partner with our neighbors to experience God's transforming love.
Please RSVP using the comment box below and let us know you can make it.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Some amazing things have transpired since we met last year.
Rev. Dr. Katie Hays will lead us again this year. You're invited to share 1 story that encapsulates the work that you do and how you're engaging the twin missions of our church and campus:
At Central Christian Church we partner with our neighbors
to experience God's transforming love.
We do this with a focus on Diversity and Inclusion,
Creativity and the Arts, Wholeness and Flourishing.
Central Westside is a hub
of community engagement,
innovation and impact
Can't wait to hear your stories and dream together of what God has in store for us.
Seeking Input for New Teaching Series Coming this Fall
It’s easy to recognize that Jesus loved to teach through stories. Nearly every description of God’s kingdom involves a narrative. When he described God’s love for us and the aspiration of our love for neighbor, again he told stories.
In our own lives we experience the power of telling our own stories, hearing the stories of others, and immersing ourselves in a novel, TV show, movie or play. Even poems and songs, however brief, enfold us in imaginary worlds that move us.
This Fall we will again explore the spirituality of stage and screen. You are invited to share below stage plays, musicals or films which you find powerful or provocative. Which stories from our culture give insight into the human condition and call us to our better selves? Which characters highlight the heights and depths of this life? Which teach you about God and self?
Send your thoughts to Central(dot)Christian(dot)Dallas(at)gmail.com.
Or fill out the form below:
Lent is a season of spiritual gardening, of inviting God to unearth in us what lies fallow, what needs to be tended, and what needs to die for new life to emerge. These 40 days before Easter help us prepare our hearts and minds to encounter the power of the Resurrection and the Glory of God’s Love in Christ in a new and fresh way. This year, the scriptures offer us images and stories with themes of earthiness and grit.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th. We will gather in the sanctuary at 7pm for our service of ashes, which is a time of reflection and repentance in preparation for the 40 day journey. Join us prior to the service at 6:30 for a light meal.
The first five weeks of Lent we will follow a rhythm beginning on Sunday mornings with Sunday School at 9:45 and Worship at 11am. Then on Wednesdays we will gather for a light meal at 6:30, followed by prayer, scripture, song. Each week we will hear a faith story (testimony) from someone in our community, and join together in a creative faith practice.
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday service on 4/14. We will hold a Last Supper / Last Words service on Thursday night. On Easter Sunday we will join the community for a sunrise service at White Rock Lake where we will lead communion. Back on our campus at 9am we will have worship in the dog park. At 10am we will have our Easter Brunch followed by the Egg Hunt at 10:30 on the lawn. Then our Resurrection Celebration culminates in the sanctuary at 11am.
As you prepare, be thinking about what in your life would best be “let go” and what you might cultivate for greater faith and fruitfulness. Remember to get your copy of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown for our reading group. Get the resources offered on campus and online (cccdt.org) that will help you to live and share your faith this Lenten season.
Below is a fresh articulation of the vision God gave me for the ministry at 4711 Westside Dr in Dallas that begins with Central Christian Church AND extends far beyond. Here's a preview:
SNAPSHOT: In 2025, Central Christian Church has transformed to become a center of community life. People come onto the campus for a wide variety of aims and activities. We have developed the campus to not only allow but encourage and inspire this. All the work people do here helps them flourish and thrive through the range of life experiences. Our presence among and alongside them enables deepening relationships, conversations about things that really matter, and companionship in the joys and sorrows of life. Through it all we bear witness to God’s Transforming Love revealed in and among us. We listen to their stories, and we get to share why we follow Jesus, and what difference He makes in our lives. So, is Central still a church in 2025? Yes! Is it also a community center? Absolutely! And thanks be to God for that!
Gratitude is a posture, an attitude, a perspective and way of life. Gratitude is choosing how and where to focus our attention. Everyone has difficulty, and everyone can find beauty and joy. This is not to say that all beauty and joy or all experiences of suffering are equal. Nor can I say I understand your suffering and hardship simply because I’ve experienced my own. We can each attend to the ways that the world, God’s world, demonstrates divine love and provision. And we can name and acknowledge the real ways that the brokenness, lack and chaos in the world and in the human family causes harm, committing ourselves to strive for justice and righteousness.
We can have gratitude even in the midst of loss. When we see people who live in extreme poverty sing and dance with joy, we are reminded of these truths. When we encounter families who lose loved ones to savage illness or violence and yet they are able to be generous with organ donation or turn their loss into a life mission and ministry, we see beauty transcending sorrow. Paul reminds us to focus our attention on that which is good and praiseworthy – to actively and consciously chose.
One of the reasons we need community, specifically Christian Community, is so that we have people who will remind us of these truths when the circumstances of our lives threaten to overwhelm us.
Below is a journal page for you to reflect upon the place of gratitude in your own life and how you can develop a more focused and consistent spirit of THANKS-LIVING.
Please share with us your responses and what you are learning / committing to grow your gratitude.
It’s election day eve. Every US citizen age 18 or older has the right, the privilege, and I believe the duty to be informed and to exercise their freedom to vote. In this way we help to secure the future for ourselves and coming generations, and we honor the legacy of those who have come before us. This is one way we show our patriotism, our love of our home.
Patriotism can be a good and honorable, if for people of faith it is secondary and submitted to our faith commitments. It is right and good that we love the place we live, the place that has shaped and provided for us. The United States is a great country with wonderful ideals toward which we yearn but which we have never fulfilled. We are at our best when we care for the vulnerable among us, those who for whatever reason cannot fully care for themselves.
Christianity is inconsistent with nationalism. We are called not only to love our neighbor who is like us, but the stranger who is different, and even the enemy at the gate. Followers of Jesus are to welcome the foreigner. Jesus explicitly challenged the power of the Roman Empire, as well as the power of the Jewish political and religious establishment of his day.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves, so when we enter the ballot box and vote for love, vote for blessing our neighbors, vote for caring for the least and the lost at least as much as we do ourselves, then we are serving the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When our vote works to privilege some while excluding others, to limit possibility and potential, then we are working for Human Empires and against the Reign of God. And we are working against our own long-term self-interest. Communities and nations are weaker when we seek our own short-term self-interest above the common good.
The wisdom, word, light and love of God call us, and the Holy Spirit compels us, to use all the opportunities and resources at our disposal to build the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Our vote is most certainly one of those opportunities. May God grant us wisdom. May God forgive us when we are greedy for gain and motivated by fear. May God give us courage. May God bless us to be a blessing, now and always.
(A collection of sometimes disconnected thoughts on current events in our church, community and world. This might be a new practice as I enter my 3rd year at Central Christian Church as Lead Pastor. Or it might be a passing fancy. Time will tell. ITMT, here are some Monday Musings...)
It matters where you focus. Paul counsels us to not obsess over negative things (even when they are very real, painful and consequential) but rather to turn our hearts to God in petition and praise, setting our minds upon things that are good and praiseworthy. (Phil 4:4-9) So after a week that saw two middle aged white men perpetrate and attempt extreme, hate-driven violence in our nation, it would be easy to focus on the fear and heartache we feel. We definitely need to acknowledge them, and reflect upon the meaning of these events, their causes and consequences. Yet we must not and will not sit in our sorrow too long. David mourned his son while he was dying, begging God to spare him. But when that did not happen, David rose up and set his life path to learn from this experience and live in a way that honored the grief and the loss. (2 Samuel 12:15-23) We can similarly ask ourselves, “How will we now live? Will we allow our hearts to be broken by this senseless violence and hate? How will we live and work to transform our world so these attitudes, beliefs and behaviors become less frequent?”
One answer is that we must call out and resist hateful speech and actions every time we see it. When we see something questionable and the motives are unclear, we must ask in humility, “Can you say more? I’m unclear what you mean by this?” and then we can respond with an informed heart and mind to what we hear.
I am rededicating my life to seeking to build the beloved community, at Central Christian Church and in the wider community. This means I will be actively seeking deeper relationships with people who are different from me. And I will be actively seeking to lead us in providing more space and opportunity for relationship and conversation. And I will be joining and building teams of likeminded leaders. To that end yesterday I preached from The Greatest Showman about our longing and struggle to be accepted and to create welcoming communities. I was in the Dog Park helping to host a St. Francis inspired pet blessing and build spiritually open community among people who love their pets. I represented Central, Disciples of Christ, and Faith Forward Dallas at Congregation Sherith Israel for the community wide vigil for the martyrs of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh. In the midst I had numerous conversations with individuals and small groups along these same lines – “How will we foster beloved community within our own hearts and in our communities of practice?”
I want my life to matter. And for me that means passionately urging, supporting and equipping others in the same quest. I recognize not everyone seeks this. And not everyone who seeks it understands it in the same way. This itself is sadly a source of conflict and division.
Even so, I humbly walk forward toward The Light. Won’t you join me?
+ + + + + +
Some ways you can engage at 4711 and beyond…
Connect at one of these opportunities to seek / promote wholeness and flourishing
Identify 1 person with whom you are in a disagreement / conflict, and ask them to lunch. Seek only to better understand their story and point of view. This is not your time to convince anyone of anything, but simply to see God in the other and thus allow the Spirit to heal you both.
I'd love to hear back from you. Share your thoughts below or contact me directly.
Telling your story of Christ in the World
CentralChristianDallas.org ~ 9/16/18
What is your story of Jesus? How has God transformed you? How are you still being transformed? The most powerful witness for Jesus is your own story of transformation. Who are you because of Jesus? Who would you be without him?
What story do you want to tell with your life?
If your life were a novel, movie or play, what story would you want it to tell? What message of impact would you bring? How would you want the reader/audience to be moved, to be different after encountering your narrative?
Within this narrative, what role does God play? How are Jesus’ love and the Holy Spirit’s power present and impacting the arch of your life?
How do you introduce others to your story? Where does your story begin? In the present, and then flash back, or do you start at “the beginning”? What do you think of as “the beginning” of your story of faith and transformation?
How do you filter or sanitize your story? Do you hide the chaos and brokenness? If so, why?
ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM WORSHIP:
TEXTS: Acts 26:11-18; Psalm 126
Also (Gal 1:11-24; Psalm 107; Exodus 12)
CTW: from Ps 107)
L: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
P: Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story
L: God delivered those who wandered in the wilderness, hungering and thirsting and without hope.
P: Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
L: God redeemed and restored those who rebelled against God by oppressing their neighbors.
P: Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
U: God lifted the needy out of their affliction. The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LORD.
Who are our neighbors?
How can we partner to bless
each other and the wider community?
Please join us here at
Central Christian Church, Dallas
4711 Westside Drive in Fellowship Hall
Saturday, September 8th, 10am – Noon
followed by a catered lunch
We believe that when we join together in conversation
to truly see, hear and understand one another,
amazing things can happen that will transform
our lives and our community. Won’t you join us?
Read more at CCCDT.org/blog/mission
Contact Pastor Ken with questions or comments.
Our primary goal with this retreat is to bring both congregation and community into dialogue around the mission statement and missional priorities, leading to collaboration and resulting in actual calendared events for late 2018 and through 2019 that are expressions of our mission and priorities.
In this we are prompted to ask: How do we partner? Who are our neighbors? Who is being left out/behind? How can we do better? What does it mean to experience transformation for ourselves, for others, together? We recognize that this calls us to affirm true transformation only comes when all experience God’s love, and that it is indeed God who works in/through/among us. The power is not ours to transform ourselves or others. Transformation is not something we accomplish internally or externally. It is something we receive, and something in which we cooperate.
The Mission of Central Christian Church of Dallas:
As followers of Jesus Christ we partner with our neighbors
to experience God’s transforming love.
This expression of our particular mission here at Central was crafted by the Elders over the spring and summer of 2018. Our invitation to the congregation and community is to join in pursuit of this mission. In the process we will focus on three particular Mission Priorities which are part of our legacy, are essential to our present, and we believe will strengthen our future. They are commitments that give particular shape to our core practices of Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship, Evangelism and Outreach. These priorities are being articulated as: Diversity and Inclusion, Creativity and the Arts, Wholeness and Flourishing. A brief word about each:
Diversity and Inclusion: Central expresses this in a variety of ways. though the congregation is predominately Caucasian and some folks might not look at us and think, “Wow, that’s a diverse group!” We are diverse in income and education and in political philosophies. We are fully inclusive of women and men in leadership, and of both straight and gay folks at all levels of leadership. These are significant priorities that distinguish us from many congregations in our community. We also currently have 4 different worship services on weekends which represent racial, ethnic and age diversity – Sundays: 11am Sanctuary Service, 10am Berean Ethiopian Church, 9am service in the Dog Park, and Saturday 6pm with The Gathering. That’s over 100 people per weekend worshipping on campus and online. We strive to serve people with a variety of physical and intellectual abilities – specifically though not exclusively through our partnership with Connecting Point.
Creativity and The Arts: Obviously we have wonderful music in worship, with talented musicians and vocalists focused on traditional church music but extending their range periodically. Our legacy theatre program Westside Players is currently dormant, but numerous folks would love to see its revival. A Sanctuary Drama Team is in development now! Last summer we hosted a two week Summer Showtunes Broadway camp and we’re hopeful to serve a much larger group in summer 2019 focused on kids from Maple Lawn and Rusk. We have several incredibly talented painters and there’s talk of a gallery show this Fall with consignment pieces. We have drawn creative dancers and cooks, and innovative entrepreneurs.
Wholeness and Flourishing: We may not be accustomed to using these terms, but we certainly know their meaning, and when they are present or not. We seek wholeness when we encourage physical health and wellness through tai chi classes (and soon yoga). We support wholeness when we host 12 step groups where individuals work together to achieve and maintain sobriety. We encourage flourishing through our partnership with Connecting Point – a program designed to help individuals and families living with disability to pursue their fullest potential in life. Our current Dog Park and former community garden are both expressions of seeking wholeness and flourishing through our partnership with God at work in creation. When we welcome people who have historically been marginalized and oppressed in society and even in the church – including the disabled, immigrants, people of color, and the LGBT community – we are supporting their wholeness and flourishing as well as our own.
A quick look back at our 2017 Community Impact Report shares even more of the story of how we partner with our neighbors. Click on the link or get your printed copy at the church.
The Invitation: God continues to call us forward in mission and ministry in this community, in fact a nexus of 6 distinct communities. The Mission Statement and Missional Priorities help clarify why and how we go and do our work together with one another, our neighbors, and of course with God. In the process we work to build God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven, glorify God, lift up Jesus whom we follow and serve, and share the transforming light, love and power of God’s Holy Spirit. What better way could there be for us to spend our lives and all that God has given?