Renewal, Here and Now – Introducing “The Parish”

On October 24, 2013 by Eddie

If you’ve been tracking with my last few posts, you know that our world is changing in some very big ways. God turned the page on a new chapter of my life, and after a lot of prayer I left an incredible full-time job at North Point to begin walking toward whatever was “next.” At the same time, Danielle and I learned that we were having a baby boy, which is thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.

After taking the leap, and in the midst of the uncertainty, God began speaking to us in a way we never expected. It’s a great story, and I’ll share it in a follow-up post, but here are the basics of what has happened:

Most of you probably know me as a worship leader and songwriter, but what you may not know is that God has been leading me in the direction of pastoring a church for the last several years. I had a strong sense that I was designed to be a pastor, and Danielle and I both dreamed about creating a different kind of church for years. We thought this dream would take a long time to be fulfilled, but in the matter of a few short days, God completely surprised us and told us the time is now.

We are partnering with a great organization called Churches for the Sake of Others, an Anglican church planting diocese that is helping start new churches all around the country. The church will be called The Parish, and will be a completely new and different experience for many of us. I have been following the Anglican church planting world for a little while now, and God has been blessing this movement in a huge way, especially among Millenials (18-29), a generation that is leaving the American church in record numbers. Danielle and I are extremely passionate about designing a church that reaches the Millenial generation, and we believe the Parish can be uniquely positioned to do just that.

Our vision for the Parish is not new, in fact it’s extremely old. For centuries, the church was organized into small, neighborhood gatherings that drew Christians from the neighborhood together to worship, and then sent them back to transform their local community. That is exactly what we want to see happen. Our vision isn’t just to plant one church, but to plant a network of neighborhood churches. These congregations will be intentionally smaller in size and focused intently on ministering to the community around them. Parish members will attend church with their neighbors, the people they see at the grocery store and coffee shop. Meanwhile, they will be focused not only on coming to a gathering on Sundays, but on seeing God’s renewal in their entire community.

Our hope is to see God’s grace change the entire city, one zip code at a time. By remaining networked as a community, these churches will stay connected to a story that is much larger than their individual footprint. Rich and poor communities will be connected, ethnic diversity will be reflected across the spectrum of the church, and when the entire church gathers to worship together a few times each year, the Body of Christ will be uniquely represented.

At the same time, while we are planting a “new” church, we are tapping into a tradition that is rich in its ancient heritage. The history of Anglicanism stretches back to the 3rd century, and has been formally organized for over 500 years. Today, the Anglican Communion is the 3rd largest group of Christians in the world, with over 70 million members. This may seem strange in an American culture that celebrates new technology and brands, but the fact that Anglicanism is not new makes it incredibly appealing to the next generation. Millenials are the generation that never knew Myspace, is done with Facebook, and is moving on from Twitter. The Anglican church provides an anchor that is stable, time-tested, and can speak to the culture we live in today from a unique long-term perspective.

Now, when you hear “Anglican” you probably think robes and funny hats. That’s not quite what we’re thinking. In fact, the Parish will find a way to express the richness of Anglican worship in today’s culture, and we’re really excited about finding that balance. Scripture, History, and Spirit, all working together in balance to help people connect with their heavenly Father.

So that’s our news, and obviously this information is just the beginning of a long journey. We are so excited about what God has in store around the corner, and we’re going to need a lot of help to get there. If you would like any more information on The Parish, please feel free to visit our website at parishanglican.org , and if you’d like to sign up to receive more information as it comes, please click here.

More than anything, please pray for us as we move forward. This is a huge step of faith, and we know that it won’t happen without a lot of hard work and prayer. We can’t wait to get started, seeing God renew Atlanta in the Here and Now!

8 Responses to “Renewal, Here and Now – Introducing “The Parish””

  • I suppose it is wrong to be jealous…but I AM SO JEALOUS!! This is the kind of church I have been longing for for years. May The Lord richly bless you and your family as you step down this beautiful path. :)

  • Ps…and I am no millennial. I’m older than you are. 😉 But I see God leading the church this way, and I long to be part of it.

    • That’s awesome Jennifer! Thanks so much for your encouragement and prayers. We need them!

  • Sound very similar to Missional Communities. i.e. Reggie McNeal, Jeff Hoffstetler, etc
    It is a dominant movement in Europe and is fast-growing here is the U.S.
    May our Lord continue to bless you Eddie as you follow Him in your journey of love.

  • Eddie, I’ve always been a “fan” of yours from early years. You are a wonderful young man and I know God has great plans for you. May God Bless you and yours!

  • Hi, Eddie! I’m from Spain and ‘attend’ NorthpointOnline every Sunday. I love your songs – you’re a very gifted musician.

    Spanish people are mostly Catholic and there is no place here for the church in “today’s culture” as you put it (or at least not that I know of). I have always felt a little bit uncomfortable because deep down I knew I needed something different. I can’t remember how I found Northpoint Online, but I am so glad I did. I wish more people knew the work you guys do. You’re truly making a difference, believe me. I’m here to let you know that what you guys do in Georgia has impacted my life here on the other side of the world in a huge way.

    I wish you the best of luck and I hope one day I’ll be able to visit and see the wonderful things God has in store for you, for your family and parish. Please share everything on facebook. I’ll be cheering from Madrid.

    • Thank you so much Luisa! I absolutely love Madrid, what a beautiful city. Hope you stay tuned with North Point online, and I’ll see you there soon.

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