The Dream that Will Inspire Us
Living Hope is sending out the Jackson’s (Greg, Brienne, Ada and Lyla) to plant a new church in East Memphis. If you want to hear more, visit eastmemphischurch.com and fill out a Connect form. Also, watch for dates for upcoming interest meetings.
Below, Greg shares a little about the mission and vision for this new church.
Our family has lived in East Memphis for 6 years, and in our current house off Walnut Grove, near Richland Elementary, for 4 years. Feeling compelled to live in a particular neighborhood, near Brienne’s work and walking distance to the school where our girls will attend, God blessed us with a home. Over the subsequent years, we have developed a love for our neighbors and our community. We love Living Hope dearly, but the longing to worship in our part of the city has grown each year, along with the dream of seeing a certain type of church in our area. The mission, or the engine that will drive us as a new church, is this: we exist to seek out new friends where we live and work, welcoming them into our lives and into God’s family through Christ. The vision, or the dream that will inspire us, is this: we believe that God is preparing people in our neighborhoods to trust Christ and enter His family. Increasingly, many in Memphis have never experienced life inside of the church, or at least not since they were children or teens. And when you ask those who are not a part of the church what goes on inside the church, the answers are often the same – hypocrisy, judgment, rules-focused, harsh, etc. We envision a growing number of churches that change people’s perspective of what Christians are like and what life inside the church is like. We will be a community that loves, encourages, serves one another, bears each other’s burdens; rejoices and mourns with each other. We will see our homes in a new way – no longer only as a refuge for me, but also a refuge for others. The light of Christ is glowing within our homes as our families and Gospel Communities share life. The Spirit is at work in living rooms. The Good News is celebrated and applied to each other’s lives around the kitchen table. Christ is present on the back porch. There is a refuge from the rushing waters that many around us are struggling through, in danger of being swept away. But how will people know this unless they are invited in? How can we change people’s perspective of what Christians are like and what life inside the church is like? We dream of a church in East Memphis where new people are encountering our community every month; where gatherings and open conversations with believers and non-believers are commonplace; where new Christ followers are joining God’s family. This new church will emphasize practicing Biblical hospitality, driven by God’s grace toward us. In the Old Testament, hospitality is defined as “welcoming the stranger”. The strategy is to open our circles, inviting “outsiders” (Colossians 4:5-6) into our homes, our world, and our hearts; serving, eating and partying with no strings attached – welcoming people because of love and with joy. And speaking often about the most important, life-giving things in our lives, including what Christ has done for us and in us. As God’s family, we will urge each other to be who Jesus says we are - the light of the world…a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14).