What’s next? That was the question that stared my wife Sharon and me directly in the face in the summer of 2014. Where did we fit? In leaving a ten year church pastorate and a six figure salary, we pondered if we had just made one of the biggest and most epic fails of our lives OR had we just taken one giant and freeing step of faith?
We felt lost and yet found all at the same time. We were in a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. And this space is what is sometimes called a liminal space, the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’
And it was in this liminal space that we believe God led us to a tribe of people like found in Forge Dallas and the greater Forge family of passionate Jesus followers and missionary practitioners. The more we immersed ourselves in conversations, friendships, and the moorings of the movement, we knew we had found our tribe. And that was a new word for us, tribe.
Author Jane Howard writes, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” And we needed one! After serving inside the walls of churches for 35 years, we knew God was shaping our hearts and breathing a fresh breath into our calling. He was leading us into our community and to our many neighbors who had little faith connection and who were not part of anyone’s church.
This new season of community calling became the catalyst for the founding of a faith based 501(c)(3) public charity we named Loving Community. Our passion and mission is that of being good neighbors by connecting people into relationships and serving the needs of our community.
Our context is the neighborhoods within our zip code in Lewisville, TX. Our rhythms of life and engagement are modeled after Jesus and his teaching of being good neighbors.
This led us to begin to identify and then serve the practical needs within our community, and to provide meaningful ways for others to join with us. It has created a network of friendships from which gospel conversations have naturally happened, one act of service at a time. Loving Community’s volunteers serve all throughout our city and with some of the most vulnerable populations such as school children, senior adults, and refugees. By our actions we get to be the good news.
We are pleased that our city leaders, the business community, and educators have been welcoming and encouraging of the “good neighboring” of Loving Community. Recently our organization and volunteers were awarded the 2016 Nonprofit of the Year.
And so as we seek to live out the missional rhythms of Jesus, we are grateful for others on this missional journey as in our Forge Dallas tribe and the community and friendships we find as together we aspire to see the reign of God revealed in the everyday places we live, work, and play.