Today I am on my way to a songwriting retreat at the Nashville Treehouse, a recording studio in Franklin, Tennessee. It is a beautiful opportunity that came through a random facebook connection that led to a scholarship through Water the Tree, a nonprofit focused on empowering female songwriters and musicians. I am looking forward to a couple of days immersed in the craft of songwriting, of inspiration and creativity that flows in the presence of other passionate folks. The Art of Songwriting Retreat doesn't start till tomorrow so I am planning to tackle half of the 10 hour drive this afternoon, with hopes of not arriving completely late or utterly exhausted......but I digress Restoration Church.
This past Sunday, I found myself in the midst of a brand new faith community in Reston, VA. The start of a multi-site campus of Floris United Methodsit Church so new in fact, that the name Restoration was only picked a few days prior to their very. first. preview service. Which really evens the playing field for this wandering, vagabond worship leader. Everything was new; from the set up and structure, to the leadership and volunteers working together to start this community in this time and place. We met at the Frying Pan Park Visitor Center, in a spacious and sunny room only a short walk away from fields of sheep, cows and turkeys.... It was a blank slate into which we brought chairs, sound and av equipment, coffee and donuts.... can't forget the donuts!!!
Few places that I have been can match this group's level of excitement and energy. Yes, there is always some level of excitement around the start of a church plant, but the desire of the people I met on Sunday to pray for one another, to worship together, to sit at the feet of Jesus.... it was a bit holy spirit overwhelming.... in a good way! Tim Ward is a vibrant and engaging pastor, with a clear love for the people around him and the people yet to come. And I love that the heartbeat of this group is to reach deep into the community of Reston. To dig in, build relationships and invite others to know Jesus. What if we were the church? What if?
From a sung worship perspective this was a beautiful and anointed morning. Tim and I both later reflected on our personal experiences within the context of this corporate worship time. It was more than the chairs set right and everything going according to "plan". It was the profound and limitless presence of the Holy all around us, in us, and through us. During communion I found myself singing a simple prayer in response to Tim's message, "We will live with open hearts, we will love with open arms, we are Your church, and we will live like You." Rare and beautiful indeed.
I'm not sure how to wrap up a post like this. There's no shiny bow to put on top and call it a day. There is lots to be done... There are a million details and questions and unknowns......but what is known is that God is moving in a powerful way in the Reston community. I'm excited to be back with them in November for Preview Service #3 and witness all that happens in the short span of a couple months!