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?
In our staff meetings we allocate time regularly for leadership skill development.
Continuing our discussion of communication, we watched the following video
Elizabeth Lesser - Take the "Other" to Lunch
She also appeared with Guy Raz on Ted Radio Hour, and you can read the transcript here or download the mp3 and listen here.
Here are some of our quick notes for your reference.
As we "partner with our neighbors to experience God's transforming love" we will increasingly be called to practices like this - getting to know and appreciate (and eventually love) our neighbors.
"Neighboring" as a verb means to treat "the other" as we want to be treated, and seek to know and see the image of God in them.
Start by taking "the other" to lunch.
See you at the table.
Join us for a free, public event of peace through understanding. Please RSVP so we can prepare sufficient food and seating for all who wish to attend, learn, and grow together as neighbors.
Christians, Muslims and Jews trace their heritage to Abraham and his descendants. As such, we are siblings within the family of the three great monotheistic religions. This is reason enough to share life together. Beyond this, we understand that at this time in human history (and in our own nation and communities) it is essential that we seek peace through understanding. We fear what we do not know and understand, and we learn to hate what we fear because this emotion is less threatening somehow. The holy month of Ramadan is a time for faithful people to draw near to God through prayer and fasting, reminding ourselves that we are dependent upon the provision of a loving God.
We are excited to invite you to join us at Central Christian Church for a special Ramadan Dinner on Wednesday, June 6th at 7:30pm.
The evening will start with a welcome by the host and followed by a Ramadan presentation. Tasty home cooked meals will be served at the dinner. Fast breaking time is at 8.34pm sharp and the evening will end after dinner.
Join us to make this a memorable night and break bread together in the holy month of Ramadan!
This event is cohosted by The Dialogue Institute of Dallas, whose aim is to promote mutual understanding, respect & cooperation among people of diverse faiths & cultures by creating opportunities for direct communication. You can also find them on Facebook at @DialogueInstDFW.
Central is located in the geographic center of six distinct neighborhoods:
We are invited to consider and discern how our context points to God’s dream for us. How might this particular location and these specific groups of neighbors be part of God’s plan for our ministry together? What would the LORD have us do here and now?
One way of approaching these questions is to wonder what needs are shared among most or all of the residents in these communities? How are they more alike than different? This question itself points to one of the foundational answers.
The reality is that we do have much in common, though demographically we appear very different – race, language, economics, education, country of origin, sexual orientation, generation. Yet we all share basic human needs for meaning and purpose, belonging and love. Particularly in the divisiveness and conflict of our current social and climate we need places where we can come together and learn from one another. We need a safe place to tell our story and to hear the stories of others - to know and be known.
Above all Churches ought to be places of welcome, healing and hope. Our context implores us to engage with our neighbors and draw them together in meaningful ways where we can all recognize, affirm and celebrate our common humanity.
The social and economic pressures of our time are best alleviated by solutions that arise from our common knowledge and shared experience. We see in the letters of Paul and the book of Acts these same conflicts arising from fear born of difference. In Christ we learn that our common humanity surpasses the value and power of any distinctions. The human race is made one in Him. We are reconciled to God and to one another, and given the ministry of reconciliation.
How will we claim and live into our reconciled nature? How will we learn and practice the ministry of reconciliation so that it spreads throughout our community and world?
One glance at the above map should make clear the amazing opportunity we have to be a hub of community connections. We can host gatherings, events and programs on our campus that meet real concrete needs of our neighbors and bring them into relationship with one another. We can partner with other individuals and groups as allies and catalysts for similar encounters in other settings.
As we make direct relational connections to our neighbors, we have the opportunity to hear their hopes and fears, their dreams and their struggles. Then together with them and the Holy Spirit we can become the answer to our own prayer that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.