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Hey friends,

While I was in London last month, taking time to figure out where my life was at, I read some of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon on “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart.” In it, he said, a tough-minded individual has “firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment.” It was that phrase that stirred me, as I realized that my approach to making decisions has always involved more bet-hedging and playing it safe, waiting until the dust has settled before striking out, holding out until I know things will work out before committing.

And it struck me that God wants more than that. God wants more than playing it safe. Being responsible doesn’t equate with playing it safe. Making wise decisions doesn’t always mean going where things are guaranteed. Following God doesn’t always entail knowing how I’ll be taken care of, only that I’ll be taken care of.

So I decided to try to make my decisions based on who I want to become—who I believe God has created me to be—rather than just on who I’ve always been or what’s safe.

Which leads me to where I am now, about to step out in faith.

The District ChurchWhen I return to Washington, DC at the end of October, I’ll be joining the staff of The District Church, the church that I’ve been a part of since its inception late last year and that had its public launch only four weeks ago! It’s based in the Columbia Heights area of DC, and is committed to being “A Church for the City,” a church that seeks the good of the neighborhood and area it has been called to.

What I'll be doing at the church essentially covers the gamut of pastoral urban ministry: teaching, preaching, discipling, chaplaincy, church and community outreach in the neighborhood, and leading worship. My journey with God over the last 28 years has been an adventure, but I can say that in being a pastor at a church, I have finally found my vocation, that which author Dorothy Sayers describes as, “not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. … the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.” I’m excited to see my passions for theology, music, and justice worked out in this context.

Due to the church’s youth and its identity as a non-denominational missional church plant, the pastors—Aaron and Amy Graham—have raised support in order to live and serve full-time. And I’m committing to do the same, raising support as well as working part-time in order to enable me to serve the church and the city, the church in the city. My intention is to raise two-thirds of the money I need through the support of individuals and to work part-time to supplement this, though if I’m able to cover my expenses entirely through your generosity, as would be preferable, I’d be able to commit all my time to the church.

So I’m asking you to think and pray about supporting The District Church’s mission and my calling.

If you can contribute financially, that would be fantastic; but I also understand that these are tough times. Even if you can only give $10 a month, that would go a long way to helping me out. And if you’re unable to give at this time, I’d definitely welcome your support through prayer.

There’s information below on how you can give, if you so choose. You can expect a follow-up email or phone call from me in the coming days and weeks leading up to my return to DC, to see if you have any questions or thoughts about this. I’m also very open to talking about this over the phone or in person (if possible). Feel free to give me a call (626-319-7622) or an email (justin@districtchurch.org). And if you know of anyone else who might be interested in supporting this church or this person (i.e. me), please do pass on this information or my contact info.

Thanks for your friendship and support; I look forward to walking a little further on the journey with you.

Peace and grace,
Justin.

TO GIVE, PLEASE FILL THIS OUT AND SEND BACK TO justin@districtchurch.org.

I/we would like to offer monthly support by donating on the 1st____ 16th____ of the month:*

$500____ $250____ $100____ $50____ $25____ Other___________________

These contributions will be mailed ______ transferred online______ automatically drafted online ______.

I/we would like to give a special gift of $_________________

Name:____________________ Phone:________________________

Address:______________________ ______________________________

City:______________ State:____  Zip/Postcode:_____________________________

E-mail:_______________________________________________________

Make checks payable to "The District Church," with "Leadership Resident" in the memo and send them to: The District Church, PO Box 3116, Washington, DC 20010.

* The initial commitment would be for one year, though you’re welcome to lengthen or shorten your commitment; just include this information in your response.
** The most convenient option for you to give would be online via Auto-Tithe. Please make sure to select "Leadership Resident” when it asks you to “Choose a Fund.”

All gifts are fully tax-deductible.
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