4 Amarillo Pics and Links

The four downtown churches got together here at Central last night to celebrate what our God is doing through our “4 Amarillo” coalition with a homemade ice cream social. And, wow, what an event! We CofC’ers do pretty well when it comes to food. We may not be social drinkers, but we are certainly social eaters. We had a great relaxed evening of eating and sharing and laughing together, renewing old community bonds and forming new friendships determined not by our differences, but based on what we have in common: Christ Jesus our Lord. And ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is the last day for the Block Party / Bible schools at the Wills and San Jacinto school parks. But the work on the Chavez house is expected to go through tomorrow and probably in to Saturday. What fun it is to see men and women and children of all ages and from all denominational backgrounds scraping and painting, sanding and sawing, pulling down dead trees and laying new floor together. Together.

Of course, when we’re washing paintbrushes together, the Methodists use a lot less water than I think they should. The Presbyterians feel like they’re predestined to spend all of their time in the kitchen — they don’t have a choice. The Baptists keep trying to organize us into small classes. And the Church of Christers have a tendency to think we’re the only ones there. But it’s working. It’s working because Jesus Christ is Lord and he is very interested in his disciples showing the same love and grace to one another as he shows to us. It’s working because we all realize we’re part of something so much bigger than our four individual congregations or our four distinct denominations. We’re all a part of the eternal Kingdom of God. And when we work and worship our God together, the world sits up and takes notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the story KAMR-TV did at the Chavez house yesterday.

And here’s a link to yesterday’s Globe News story about Central’s Gifted 2 Go.

All four churches are gathering at First Baptist Sunday night in another combined worship assembly. We’re planning to praise our God together in song and prayer, to share a bunch of stories from the block parties and the food bank and the house project, and to celebrate the privilege it is to partner with our God in redeeming all of creation back to himself. We’re hoping Ray and Gloria Chavez can be there. If you live in Amarillo, I’m hoping you’ll be there to witness and experience what it’s like when God’s people put the needs of others ahead of their own. And I’m praying that our God continues to bless us with his spirit of unity and cooperation among all the Christians in our city.

Peace,

Allan

3 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    Leonard,
    The 4 Amarillo work is way cool. My question/challenge to you and your 3 compadres is: Have you taken the time to really document how this group came together? How have you been able to do the things you have done within each congregation and within the community?

    I don’t doubt for a minute that God is at work here. But there is more to it and you owe it to yourselves and everyone else to put it on paper.

    Is it just a rare, once in a lifetime confluence like the Mav’s championship? Or is there a way that you show other communities how to do this?

    Take the time to really analyze it. Don’t settle for the surface, anecdotal answer. Use the 5 Why Technique as a starting point. It will take time so don’t take shortcuts.
    Trust me – I know a little something about process improvement and outsourcing.

    The Rangers are done, NBA free agency is done, World Cup is almost done. You’ve got 3 week until the Cowboys open camp – what are you waiting for? 65 Toss Power Trap can’t run on it’s own…

  2. Allan

    Drake,

    I’m wrestling with each of your questions and have been for a while. I’m actually being forced to organize and timeline and document a whole bunch of this because I’m going to be presenting it at the ACU Summit in September. Three sessions: one each Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

    I’m thinking about spending the bulk of the first session on the theology of breaking down denominational walls, on the Scriptural and Gospel demands to work and worship together across the traditional lines. I would also review the ways we presented this here at Central, how we’ve taught and explained our unity with these other Christians, and arrived at these conclusions among our shepherds and ministers.

    The second session is actually going to be a roundtable discussion and Q&A with all four of us downtown pastors. We will each talk about how this started within our own congregations, how each church sold it, how each congregation has embraced it, how each church has dealt with push back, and how each church has responded to the unity efforts here.

    For the last session, I’m considering going over the nuts and bolts of the prayer meetings, the worship assemblies, the service projects, and the elders’ discussions that have played such a huge role in this thing. And then, maybe, opening it up to a final Q&A from a purely CofC perspective.

    As I reflect more on how this has all happened, I wonder if it could ever be duplicated anywhere else? You know, three of us four guys all arrived here within nine months of each other and our church buildings are just three blocks apart. We bought a house right across the street from Howard. It was natural that we were all going to be friends. There’s a community spirit here in Amarillo, I think maybe in the panhandle in general, in which everybody relies on everybody else to pull through really rough times together. Whole families live here for generations and all know each other really well. And there’s a rebellious roughneck/cowboy spirit that doesn’t care much for what outsiders might think. Or what people on the outside might judge as being right or wrong. People here pretty much do what they want to do, regardless of how others might react. The timing, the geography, the personalities of the pastors, and many more things like that make me wonder if this is a once in a lifetime fluke deal, never to be repeated again.

    Then, as I wrote earlier today, I know in my heart that this has very little, if anything, to do with planning and timing and location and luck. This is all the work of our mighty God. And if he wanted to duplicate this effort in your town or with your church and its neighboring congregations, he definitely could.

  3. Rob's Dad

    “And if he wanted to duplicate this effort in your town or with your church and its neighboring congregations, he definitely could.” What a layout.

    Of course it’s His work and it’s His will. However I believe it’s people who are doing the work.

    I freely admit it might just be a wonderful, glorious fluke. But you won’t know it if you don’t really try to figure it out. All of you need to do the investigative work and see where it leads. When you’ve really wrung it out and all 4 of you have reached a consensus, you’ll know.

    I would hate for all of you to be haunted by the phrase “I wonder what would have happened if we had tried to figure it out”.

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