The Man Who Knocked On the Door With His Foot: A Christmas Parable

Many years ago, when much of the earth was yet unknown, an explorer who had spent years at sea was weary and ready to return home. His long walk from the harbor took him to a sight that had only been a dream. There in the distant valley was his village. “I’m finally here! Thank you, God!” he exclaimed. Reading again the words in a letter from his family and friends, “We’re waiting for your soon arrival!” he hurried on.

Home at last, he did what he had been taught from childhood, “Always knock with your foot,” his parents had told him, “because your arms will be carrying many gifts!” So he did, because, indeed, many gifts he had brought.

The door flew open. Lively music poured forth like water, singing and dancing broke loose. He mingled with the crowd, telling with excitement all the things that he had seen on his many adventures.

But then, a very strange thing happened. “Stand over here,” they said. “Let’s look at what you’ve brought.” They examined one gift and said, “We don’t like this one. Put it outside.” And so it was with each one. After all the gifts were outside, they exclaimed, “We want you outside, too! You’re different from what we thought you would be.”

With a heavy heart, he said to his family and friends on the other side of the closed door, “I wish that this had not been so.” Picking up his gifts, he made his way to other villages, where he found people who received him and his gifts with gladness.

The man who knocked on the door with his foot was like Jesus. 

He came from heaven to His home on earth bearing gifts. Talk about an extraordinary arrival…

Angels were deployed for the most important assignments of their careers.

Stars were activated.

Prophecies were satisfied.

One would think that with such an arrival, his people, the entire nation of Israel would open their arms when Jesus came to their door. But, strangely, they didn’t receive him as one of their own, much less as their Savior. They rejected him and the gifts that he brought. At the end of his life, at the cross, just a handful believed in him for who he was. Yet, he was successful. He had fulfilled his purpose.

What can we learn from Jesus?

You may have come to your family, your school, your people, your neighborhood, your place of employment, your marriage, with great expectations. You knocked with your foot, wanting your gifts to be received as a blessing. But, they’ve been rejected. Perhaps you have also been rejected. What do you do? Here are a couple of thoughts that we learn from Jesus.

1. Be yourself, the person you were made to be. Jesus rejected rejection of who he was. For example, it didn’t matter if people rejected him as a qualified Rabbi because of his socio-economic status (the carpenter’s son), or his cultural identity (from Nazareth), or his spiritual self-identification as the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. He knew which words were true of who he was, and he lived by those words. The words that others used of him had no effect on the truth of who he was.

2. Stay focused on your purpose. Jesus knew that his name meant “Savior” and that the cross was his destination. He came to seek and to save those who were lost in life without him. Interestingly, it was because he had a life-style of “enduring pain” and “rejecting shame” that he was prepared for his divine mission on the cross, paying the price for saving us from our sins.

Who were you made to be? What are the talents and spiritual gifts that come naturally to you, with which you want to bless others? What is your purpose? Is it one of the roles you have – such as a spouse, parent, follower, leader, administrator, counselor, or teacher? Know yourself and stay faithful to who you are.

No matter the setting where you are with others, be yourself and fulfill your purpose. Offer your gifts. Keep on knocking and offering to those who will receive.

The Mark of Manhood

By Charlie Thomas, @MBC Arlington Leader

We’ve all done what David did, and, unfortunately, it’s not defeating Goliath. So, what have we done? At the 2014 MBC Men’s Conference, speaker Jonathan “JP” Pokluda challenged us by bringing to life the greatest triumph and the greatest tragedy of David’s life: Victory over Goliath and his fall with Bathsheba. While David’s sin with Bathsheba was certainly egregious, Christ tells us, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” Matthew 5:28.

As I sat in the conference listening to JP talk about David’s fall and read that verse, my stomach churned at the thought of cheating on my wife of two months. But the stark reality is that for any of us—single or married—who have ever allowed our eyes and minds to wander in lust, we have committed adultery in our hearts.

When we allow God to define sin, we realize that we are far more broken that we ever dared to imagine.

Before I trusted Christ three years ago, I recall thinking it was absurd that “lust” could be equal to “adultery.” At that time, I believed our cultural norms regarding manhood and sex, but the Christianity found in the Bible and explained at the conference runs counter to our culture on these topics. This is particularly evident in how we find our identity and develop relationships with others.

As Christian men, our identities are to be solely found in Christ, not in any achievements, successes or self-gratification. This is really a freeing concept because we don’t have to meet the cultural standards of salary, sex and supremacy for our manhood. Rather, manhood is marked by faith, humility and sexual purity as an act of worship and thankfulness to God (among other characteristics). While true, it’s very difficult to do on our own.

That’s why we have to be honest with other guys and develop relationships predicated on the principles in the Bible. I’ve benefitted from these deep friendships with three men, in which we were honest with each other about our struggles, studied together, and held each other accountable. However, in life’s transitions, we gradually moved to different cities, committed to different churches, and fell out of our regular conversations.

David’s faithfulness and reliance on God earlier in life did not protect him from future temptations and mistakes of shirking responsibility and adultery. Why should I expect such protection, having the same sinful nature as David, but with less wisdom, faith and discipline? Attending the conference with several other men from MBC Arlington helped knock down some of those prideful barriers and reawakened my need for honest, accountable relationships to fight for purity.

What about you? The stakes are high; so let’s fight together as men pursuing the honor of Christ!

Faith in the Real World

By Joe Kelty, MBC Tysons Director of Men’s Discipleship

In today’s morally relativistic culture, can we really be expected to share our faith in the “real world”? Let me give you a couple real world examples of a “rookie” Christian sharing his faith.

When I was a younger man, my wife and I had only been married for two years when we were blessed with our first child, a precious little girl. I was working in downtown DC at a firm with several young men in the 20-30 age group. One of the VPs had established a tradition of taking men out to lunch for their birthday. Somehow that tradition devolved into a group of rowdy men going to a gentlemen’s club in DC to celebrate a man’s birthday.

As a Christian and new father of a little girl, I decided that I could not participate in such things anymore. So when the next birthday outing was gathering, I stood up and announced that I would not be going. The group of men unleashed a barrage of peer pressure and insults on me. But I stood firm. I explained that “it just wasn’t right” for me as a Christian man, and as the father of a little girl. The insults continued. So, I offered to help pay for the birthday boy’s lunch, and sulked back to my office. The group of men left. Then about 10 minutes later, one of the men returned and came to my office. He said, “That took guts.” I smiled. He said that he also had a young daughter, and that maybe it was a good time for him to start taking the family to their neighborhood church every Sunday. Looking back on this memory, I realize that I had successfully shared my faith in the real world—and it helped someone take a step closer to Christ.

Years later, I was the VP at a different organization. Our company had teams of IT consultants working at various large clients in the DC area. One of the clients announced that they would have to cancel our contract, effective immediately, because the government had cut funding to the entire project. The client apologized, but without funding, they could not pay us. This meant that I would suddenly have several consultants sitting idle, and not earning profits for my company. I looked at the contract terms for this client, and realized that there was a clause that prevented termination of my team without one month’s notice. I could essentially force the client to keep paying for an additional month, even though they were not being funded by the government. Not my problem, so I thought. I informed my boss and my team that we would be forcing the issue, and that our profits would still look good for the month. But all that night my conscience kept convicting me. I prayed about the  situation. The next day I decided to change my mind, and let the client off the hook. Then I had to go tell my boss, and announce this to my team. In front of everyone, the team leader asked me why I had changed my mind. I told them that I was a Christian, and that I have been striving to live my life accordingly. It would not be a godly decision to sacrifice my personal integrity in exchange for profits. I apologized to all of them, and promised to be a better leader and a man of stronger Christian character. Later that day, a few of the team members came up to me individually. They each encouraged me, and thanked me for making this decision. One of them even asked about attending my Bible study. We had a tough month in profits, but ended up with a record year, financially.

Don’t become overwhelmed by the challenges you face because you are a Christian. Remain faithful and cling to your Christian integrity. Be intentional about telling people why you believe in the Lord Jesus. They will respect you for it—they may even find salvation because of it. And one day the Lord will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Dissolving Reluctance, Resolving to Pray

By Julie Stoll, MBC Tysons Attendee

Remember Jonah the reluctant prophet? God shared His heart of compassion for the people of Nineveh, and told Jonah to go make a difference there. But Jonah went in the opposite direction, intentionally refusing to join God’s plan. Why? What prompted Jonah’s reluctance and emboldened him into rebellion?

Perhaps Jonah had bought into the cultural perspective of his nation. The Jews at that time had a nasty history with the Ninevites and viewed them as despicable. Why be involved with anything good directed toward a “bad” group who chose to be that way? I can relate to that in my prayer life. I am reluctant to pray for people I don’t understand or who don’t have direct influence on me. Only my favorites—those who deserve betterment—get face time. I sadly see my resemblance to Jonah; I am a reluctant pray-er.

Modern day Nineveh is Mosel, Iraq. The ancient ruins of Nineveh still stand on the eastern side of the Tigris River, which could remind all of God’s compassion at the time of Jonah. But instead we see it frequently on the newsa hotbed of warring Islamic factions—and chalk it up to someplace remote where God isn’t. But today I am challenged that God is indeed active.

He is actually sovereign over all peoples and cares about their well-being, just as he cared about the Ninevites so long ago. Even when it seems that injustice is the rule of the day, where oppression and violence abound, God still desires His people to be messengers of hope, of His offer of redemption. Yet I find myself comfortable in my reluctance. It is startling to think that I may be acting on deep prejudice or, at best, intentional avoidance of “those” people who sadly suffer by their own choice of where to be born. Really?

The news stories of Christian refugees in Northern Iraq challenge me to pray. At the very least to pray for justice and safety for my brothers and sisters in Christ within warring Northern Iraq and now as refugees in Turkey. With Christian backgrounds, they are in positions today where God sovereignly placed them (Acts 17: 26-27). But can Christian Iraqis be embedded messengers of hope in that region without their broader global Christian community praying for the strength and wisdom they need to stand firm?

I am told to pray for workers in the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). To pray for God’s plan to get His message to all the “Ninevites”. Whether I am prejudiced against them or not. He is going to act and my choice is whether to join Him in His work or just hear about how it was accomplished in the sweet by-and-by. I am more aware than ever of my own reluctance to engage in something that costs me so little—prayer. And that is for my brothers and sisters in Christ. That is not even to consider the majority population—people Jesus died for!

So here are five things I have decided to pray for this week as I try and dissolve my reluctance and resolve to pray:

  1. Pray for God’s gracious justice and peace to be present in the area surrounding Mosel. I think I will actually Google map the city and visualize it as I pray.
  2. Pray for laborers to be effective in the harvest fields of Northern Iraq and in the refugee camps in bordering countries. For me, I will pray for efforts of Samaritan’s Purse.
  3. Pray for Iraqi believers to be strong and effective in evangelism and planting seeds of hope among the culturally Christian Iraqi people.
  4. Pray that God’s offer of redemption be heard through brothers and sisters there (Colossians 4:3).
  5. Pray for my own heart to be renewed toward His purposes that includes a dissolving of my reluctance to pray for His work.

The Tale of Two Fowl Cousins

The time has come once again to remember the tale of two fowl cousins: the Bald Eagle and the turkey. Back when America was very young, there was a lot of talk about the turkey. That’s because the founders were trying to figure out which bird qualified to become the symbol of their newborn nation.

Pro-turkey talking points

Benjamin Franklin had suggested, “How about the turkey?” To him, the Bald Eagle’s distant cousin was perhaps a better choice. He wrote to his daughter, “For the Truth, the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America…He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

Good points. But as we know, the Bald Eagle won the votes to stand as our national symbol, representing the moral fiber of America. We feel good when we see the Bald Eagle sitting majestically high on the branch of a tree. We feel even better when we see the turkey sitting on a plate in the middle of our table. For a different reason, of course! And it isn’t just because the turkey tastes so good!  It’s because the turkey has come to represent the blessings of God.

Turkeys, the symbol

In the early 1600s, the newly arrived Pilgrims and Native Americans joined each other in fellowship around the table, to thank God for bringing them through the ruthless winter and harsh realities of beginning life in a new world. From that first Thanksgiving until now, the turkey stands as the symbol of blessing.

As we offer our boxes of turkey dinners at Turkey Outreach, we are saying to those who receive them, “In Christ’s name, we offer this blessing of God to you.” As we gather with families and friends on Thanksgiving Day for feasting and football, we push pause on the festivities  to offer heartfelt gratitude to our great God, “Father, in Jesus’ name, we thank you for the liberality of your love, mercy, and faithfulness, given to us and to our nation, in spite of our clear unworthiness. Amen!”

God’s symbols

I’ll end with a question. What symbol has God chosen to represent the magnificent qualities of our Savior Jesus Christ and the vastness of his amazing blessings? The choice wasn’t a tough one for God. He chose his children: that’s you and me. He chose us.  We, the people of God are his living symbols to represent the brilliancy of his moral character and the grandeur of his generosity. Peter, the Apostle, wrote: “Show others the goodness of God…proclaim…and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!”[1]

So, let the celebrations of Thanksgiving begin! Be the symbol of God to those around you. May others see, taste, feel, smell, and hear of God’s love and blessing through you! During this time in America’s history, our nation is in great need for these truths of God.


[1] I Peter 2:9 (NLT, NASB, and Amplified Bible)

Why Do We Sing?

By Drew White, @MBCTysons Kid’s Quest Volunteer Recruiting Coordinator

Why does almost every church around the world have music as a part of its worship service? Other than the fact that there are countless Scriptures that tell believers in Jesus Christ to use music as a way to praise God, what reason do we have to make it such a central part of our corporate worship time? The answer might actually be found in something as simple as a definition. A simple question, with a simple answer, that has a profound impact on our lives as followers of Jesus. That question is, “What is singing?”

If we were to come up with a basic definition of singing, it might sound something like this: Singing is the transformation of basic spoken language into a melodic, rhythmic, harmonious, series of tones. But why do we sing at all? Why is it that music seems to be able to reach into every part of our life?

When we are happy, there is a song for it. When we are sad, there is a song for it. Mad, there’s a song. In love, there’s a song. No matter what happens in our life, there is a song that most likely can relate to what we are experiencing. This is because when the thoughts and emotions we experience are put to word, and then that word is put to music, it has the capacity to reach into the very heart of what we are going through at that moment. That is why poems make us sigh with appreciative wonder, but songs make us jump to our feet, dance or even cry. This is why we sing. So what happens when we pair this phenomenon of singing with the power of God?

When the spoken Word of God, The Holy Bible, is opened, taught, studied, read aloud and meditated on, an incredible transformative power is unleashed. Lives are radically changed, brokenness is healed, identity is restored, hope is given, the majesty of God is put on display, souls are saved. When this happens, how are we to respond? What can we possibly do or say that can convey what just happened in our hearts? This is why we sing. It is one of the methods we have that can in some small way come close to expressing to God what He is doing within us, and it allows us to do this in a unified connected way with other believers of Jesus. It allows us to express the gravity, the levity, the joy, the peace, the relief, the thankfulness, the love and the appreciation we feel when we encounter the overwhelming grace and love of our risen King. This is why we sing. It is a natural response to our supernatural Savior. This is why we sing. Music, singing in particular, allows us to express the emotion behind what happens when we come face-to-face with the majesty of Jesus. It is our emotional conduit to the transforming power of God in our lives.

At the end of the day, we sing because our God is worthy of our most authentic response, not only because of what He has done for us, but also because by His very nature He deserves our praise. Worship is a fundamental reaction between Creator and the created, and singing is one of the best ways we have to be able to express that. This is why we sing.

When Leaders Fail Us: Responding to Mark Driscoll’s Resignation

By Nate Keeler, @MBCArlington Campus Pastor

When I first heard the news last week that Mark Driscoll, Senior Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, had resigned under multiple allegations and criticism for his leadership and character, I had three immediate responses: 1) I grieved the fall of a church leader and the pain he and his family must be experiencing; 2) I was unfortunately not surprised given some troubling signs over the past decade; and 3) I prayed for him, his family and all those who are wounded because of the trust they placed in Pastor Driscoll to lead them spiritually.

Because we don’t have the full story I want to avoid speculation or gossip about Pastor Driscoll. At the end of the day, I believe he is an incredibly gifted, zealous, courageous servant of Christ who is a sinner saved by grace. While it appears that he allowed bad choices and some sin to go unchecked, I also believe we are all capable of the same, if not worse, failure. So I urge you to pray for him more than judge him.

So I urge you to pray for him more than judge him.

Pastor Driscoll has an extensive reach. He has inspired many pastors, young leaders and especially men to step up and give their lives to Christ. Several times a month his name comes up from men I meet who podcast his messages or read his books. So when he fell we can assume there are many who feel the tremor.

When leaders, especially spiritual leaders, fail us what should be our response? Here are three thoughts:

1) Remember that Christ is the head of the church—NOT the leader!
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 16:17-18 that the church belongs to Him, and He will make sure that it is an unstoppable movement throughout history. When we place too much emphasis on the strength, charisma, experience or agenda of the leader, the foundation and leadership is no longer Christ but a fellow flawed, imperfect person (just like you) who is bound to disappoint you from time-to-time. Leaders come and go, but Christ is eternal.

2) Anchor your identity and spiritual growth in God—NOT the leader!
When we place too much of an emphasis on a leader, pastor or program, we can mistakenly believe that person or thing is the basis of your spiritual growth and wrap our identity around the wrong source. When we do this we are bound to be tossed around when leadership changes, fails or disappoints. But Paul emphatically corrects this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. In verse 6-7 he says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” If there is any spiritual growth in your life you can ultimately attribute it to only one source—God’s work through the Holy Spirit!

3) Support your leaders by maintaining accountability structures for them.
One of the signs that a leader might go off the rails is when their accountability and authority structures are compromised or neglected in some way. Often this happens slowly and because of fear, success or ignorance. Over time the senior leaders can be running the show with little to no checks and balances. There were signs of this at Mars Hill, but this can happen at any church. So what can you do to help support the accountability structures? Ask leaders how they are doing spiritually. Become a member and voice concerns you may have. Talk to the elders and ask them how they are doing at maintaining accountability structures. Paul reminds us constantly that the church needs all parts working together, not just the leaders. I am thankful for the men and women that surround me, and I know who surround Lon.

A couple of quick bonus thoughts:

  • Don’t give up on the church or your leaders. They need your encouragement and trust.
  • Pray, pray, pray for your leaders.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and prayer for MBC! Let’s continue as one church with Christ as our head to move the needle for Him!

Focusing on what really matters

“God’s problem with his people in Greater Washington, DC is their availability. They’re always busy. There’s so much going on. I’m serious, Joe, that’s a problem that God has.”

This assessment of life in the DC area was given to me by a seasoned veteran of public service (he served under a President or two), who had lived in Greater Washington, DC for many years. I don’t think things have changed.

How about you? Do you feel like you’re always in fifth gear, speeding from one demand to meet yet another, dashing from one exciting event to the next? Maybe some of those things are necessary, but do all contribute to the things that really matter?

Do what’s necessary, said Jesus, but “…do not neglect the more important things”.[1]

The difficulty of focus
We intuitively know what’s important: things like healthy relationships, and being a good person who does good things for others. Yet, knowing what’s important in your head can be worlds apart from putting it into practice as a way of life. Putting the two together takes focus and, like loose change, focus is easy to lose.

If it’s any comfort, a circus lion has the same problem. Here we have a 550 lb beast with jaws and claws powerful enough to crush any opponent. But it just sits there like a well-behaved kitten, yawning and growling with frustration in one spot. The articles I read say that’s because a lion’s brain is wired to focus on one thing. So, when the man shows up with a stool and sticks the four legs in front of the lion’s face, the big cat gets all confused. Its eyes can’t choose on which leg to focus. Poor lion, lucky man.

It’s not hard figuring out why we lose focus on things that matter the most. Staring us in the face are the horrors of ISIS and Oklahoma, the tragedies of Missouri, wars in the Middle East. Job got it right, “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from the fire!”[2] Troubles are like magicians, diverting our attention away from what’s important to do and see. Of course, it’s not just troubles that distract us, it can be anything, like climbing the ladder to success.

Choosing the main things
What’s the answer? How do you choose priorities and stay focused to make sure that the main things stay the main things?

Some priorities are easy to figure out. For example, if I asked, “Is there something that you should be doing and it bothers you that you’re not doing anything about it?” you’d probably already know what it is. It’s on your mind all the time. Stop putting it off. Start with that one thing.

In everyday decision making, however, things can get blurry because of the simultaneous mix of responsibilities and opportunities. I’m going to share a secret formula that I use to help sort out the really important things in daily life. Of course, now that I’m sharing, it’s no longer a secret, but if it works for you, take me out to lunch and we’ll talk about it.

I sort out my options into three categories: What I need to do – What only I can do – What I love to do.

What I need to do
The things that I need to do are the logistics and details of life and work. That’s everything from mowing the lawn to scheduling appointments at the office. I can delegate, train, or pay someone to do most, if not all, of those things. Or, I can learn greater efficiency in doing them. Maybe they don’t need to be done right away.

What only I can do
No one else in the world can do what only I can do in two areas: my person and my position.

My person refers to my personal integrity. As an example, am I open with others, honest, and use information to serve them? Or, am I closed, dishonest, and use information to manipulate others to serve my purposes? While I learn from others how to choose and develop good character traits, they are ultimately my responsibility to achieve and maintain. I can’t borrow someone else’s integrity.

My position is the important place that I occupy in someone else’s life. To my children, I occupy the place of the father, to my grandchildren, the grandfather. To my wife, I am the husband. To the church, I occupy the place of a pastor-trainer. Each place that I occupy has specific responsibilities. While I use the natural talents and spiritual gifts God has given me to fulfill those responsibilities, I also look to others who will partner with me. Some could teach me more knowledge. Others could coach me to hone my skills and abilities. Others could provide a service for which I don’t have the expertise or resources. The point is this: each place that I occupy requires me to be fully engaged and intentional in being what God wants me to be for those under my care. No one else has my unique combination of talents and gifts blended with my experiences, personality, ideology, and culture.

What I love to do
Fly-fishing, exercising, learning, enjoying all aspects of God’s world, and being with good friends: these are among the activities that I especially love. I invite others to enjoy these activities with me, and I know that gives God pleasure.

When it comes time for decision-making, I simply ask myself: Do I need to do this? Am I the only one who can do this? Is this what I love? Whether some things stay or go depends on the answer that I give.

Staying focused on the main things
Before I go on, this question can’t be ignored: Are lesser categories active in your life?

  • “What I don’t need to do at all.” These are the things you do to look good and/or to please others.
  • “What I shouldn’t be doing.” You know certain things are wrong, but you do them, anyway.

Free yourself from these traps as fast as you can.

Train yourself for Godliness.
“Train yourself for godliness,” said Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith.

The essence of godliness is living life as Jesus, who was able to say, “The one who sent me is with me now: the Father has not left me alone for I always do what pleases him.”[3] Jesus was focused. Do likewise. Discipline your will, mind, body, and soul on doing the good things that God planned for you to do and on becoming the good person God made you to be. That’s what really matters.

 


[1] Matthew 23:23 (NLT)

[2] Job 5:7 (NLT)

[3] John 8:29 (J.B. Phillips)

A New Chapter in Reaching Young Adults

By Nate Keeler, MBC Arlington Campus Pastor

One of the reasons I was drawn to McLean Bible Church when I first moved to the DC Metro area was because of Core Value #10: To accomplish our mission we must be willing to step out in visionary faith and take risks for God. Because of our passion to reach emerging generations for Christ, we have a rich history of taking risks to reach youth, college students and young adults through the Rock, the Gathering and Frontline, just to name a few.

When we transitioned Frontline into the larger church family a former Frontliner asked Lon the question at a congregational meeting, “Does this mean that we are giving up on ministry to young adults?” Lon emphatically stated in reply that we will continue to be very passionate about reaching young adults, and we would be developing plans for that in the near future.

Well for the past year, our Senior Leadership Team, along with a few other young adult staff and volunteers have been dreaming, planning and praying about how to reach the de-churched, unchurched and spiritually drifting millennial generation in a post-Frontline context. We believe God has been leading us with a new ministry to pilot.

Imagine what could happen if we took the compelling and transformational experience of the Young Adult Fall Retreat and made it accessible to your spiritually disengaged friends in a hot spot in Metro DC.  That is the vision behind “Citywide!” Starting Thursday,  October 9 we will host a 4-week retreat-quality experience at the Clarendon Ballroom from 7-9 pm complete with powerful music and relevant, dynamic teaching in a heavily relational atmosphere. Mike Kelsey, MBC Silver Spring Campus Pastor, will lead us through a series addressing the biggest questions of regret, anxiety, doubt and possibility that young adults wrestle with called, What If?”  

Citywide will have some similarities to Frontline (relevant young adult teaching, dynamic music and creative arts, a relational culture, etc.) but with at least four key distinctions:

  1. Citywide is NOT church. It is an evangelistic outreach of the church to and through millennials.
  2. Citywide will NOT be a weekly Sunday service. We will host a 4-week series on Thursdays.
  3. Citywide is NOT the end goal. Instead the end goal is connecting young adults to the local church.
  4. Citywide will NOT take place in the church. It will be out in the community where young adults live, work and play.

As you can see, God is opening up a new chapter for us in ministry to millennials in Metro DC. So how can you get involved?

  • First, we ask you to join us in praying for Citywide this fall with anticipation of what our great God can do!
  • Second, start inviting your friends and getting the word out to others.  Here is a quick promo video that you can use on social media. You can include our Twitter handle (@CitywideDC) and/or Facebook page (facebook.com/citywidedc) to point people to information, and our hashtag will be #citywidedc.
  • Third, we will need many people to serve with set-up and tear down, host teams and connect teams.

Are you in? Can’t wait!

Back to School Outreach Update

By Roxy Hockensmith, Director of Local Outreach

Over the last several weeks, McLean Bible Church organized the largest back-to-school outreach program in the history of the church. Thousands of backpacks, crayons, notebooks and other supplies filled the church as donations came streaming in at every service. Due to the overwhelming generosity of our congregation we are happy to report that over 4,000 students returned to the classroom better equipped for success. Our congregation responded with an outpouring of donations and gifts. It was a true blessing to see the Lord work through our church and meet a real need in the community.  The end result was nearly 30,000 school supplies collected with an estimated value of over $100,000! Returning to school can be an exciting time for students but it can also be a time of economic burden for the families who cannot provide these basic needs. Through the awesome support of our church family we were able ease this burden for thousands and show the love of Christ in a real and tangible way.

On August 23volunteers helped distribute backpacks, clean up school grounds and pray with families throughout the region. At Hutchison Elementary school in Herndon over 500 people attended the outreach event. Volunteers not only met physical needs by providing backpacks and food, but also spiritual needs by praying with families that attended. Each student who attended this event was given an Action Bible due to a generous donation made by a member of our church. Other locations included 6 Title I schools in DC, the Metropolitan Police Department, various homeless shelters in the region, Bethesda Baptist Church, Independent Church of God in Southeast, Daybreak Ministries, the House and KIPP Schools.

None of this would be possible without the love and kindness of our congregation. We want to thank every person who donated supplies, volunteered their time and partnered in prayer during the weeks leading up to our back-to-school outreach. For more opportunities to serve, please visit our Ministries page at mcleanbible.org/ministries.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

Overview

Our back to school drive has been a huge success. The generosity of the congregation made a huge impact on the community and thousands of students are now more equipped for success as they begin the school year. We distributed over 4,000 backpacks and thousands of supplies. The total estimated value of the materials distributed was $103,292.50.

Distribution

  1. Backpacks were distributed to the following elementary schools in Fairfax and DC:  Hutchison, Burrville, Nalle, Randle Highlands, Savoy, Malcolm X and Houston.
  2. We also distributed backpacks and supplies with our ministry partners like Daybreak, The House, Bethesda Baptist and Independent Church of God.
  3. Lastly, we gave over one thousand backpacks to the DC General Shelter, Emily Ruckers Shelter and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Volunteers

Approximately 100 volunteers from MBC helped pack supplies, distribute materials, clean up school with DC Beatification Day and show the love of Christ with the community.

Hutchison/Herndon

One true success story of our back to school drive was the overwhelming turn out at Hutchison Elementary. On Saturday, August 23 approximately 500 people in the community came out to receive backpacks and enjoy fellowship. Volunteers prayed with people, organized games for the children, cleaned up the school grounds, distributed action bibles and provided hot dogs for all those who attended. The back to school drive was a success throughout the DC area, however the impact was most evident at Hutchison Elementary.

Additional Statistics

Materials

Cost per Unit

Amount

Total

Backpacks

$8.50

4009

$34,076.50

Crayons

1.80

2510

$5,562.00

Markers

4.00

2210

$11,160.00

Binders

2.00

2210

$5,580.00

Notebooks

1.80

6630

$15,066.00

Scissors

1.80

1105

$2,511.00

Rulers

1.00

1105

$1,395.00

Erasers

2.00

2210

$5,580.00

Pens

3.00

2210

$8,370.00

Pencils

2.80

2210

$7,812.00

Glue

2.00

2510

$6,180.00

Total:

$103,292.50

 

Location

Backpacks

Herndon

200

Hutchison

50

Daybreak

360

The House

100

Bethesda Baptist DC

100

Independent Church DC

100

Burrville

100

Nalle

100

Randle Highlands

100

Savoy

100

Malcolm X

100

Houston

100

Clothing Shop

200

DC General Shelter

400

KIPP

400

DCPD

900

Career Network

20

Food Pantry

20

Silver Spring

20

Access

20

Shelter

200

Elizabeth Ruckers Shelter

100

Other Ministries

219

Total:

4,009