This past Thursday, over 1400 leaders gathered together for Greater Dallas Movement Day, in what was surely a marvelous and much needed gathering for Christian leaders from our local cities and region.
The Bible is clear on the significance of Christian unity. God promises an overflowing blessing when his people live in unity (Psalm 133). Jesus thought that it was so important that he made the future oneness of his followers one of his last prayer requests (John 17:20-23). He tells us the reason too – so that the world will believe! The Apostle Paul tells us to “Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:3 NTL).
I believe God selected Mac Pier, who just happens to be my old ministry boss, to lead this movement even from another city, because he understands citywide unity at a profound level. I have been living in Greater Dallas (McKinney) for the past eight years and six months, and 15 days now. I know that the functional unity I witnessed in New York City has been absent from our region. When I moved here in 2005, I was surprised that there were no ongoing efforts to unite the Church. Rather, I discovered the proud independent spirit of Texas instead.
Prayerfully, Greater Dallas Movement is a leap forward toward being “united in the Holy Spirit,” not just as an invisible spiritual extension of who we are in Christ, but in visible meaningful ways the world can see. Thankfully, there have been some small steps in that direction that led to this significant day.
It was 2011 that I first met Rebecca Walls of Unite Greater Dallas and I praise God for her vision to move the Church in the direction of unity. I believe it was her groundbreaking work these past few years that, in large part, made Greater Dallas Movement Day possible. The Church needs to get behind her leadership in significant ways and resource her organization well for this important work.
When Rebecca first shared with me the vision to bring together 1,600 leaders at the Dallas Convention Center, I was skeptical. “Not in Dallas” was my first thought. Even a month before the event, it looked like my skepticism would be vindicated, as registration was slow coming in. But God is able, in his perfect timing, to do what is impossible to our feeble thinking. I therefore must now repent of not trusting our Lord for what He would do on January 23rd, 2014 at the Dallas Convention Center. It was truly a “united in the Holy Spirit” day for Greater Dallas.
Such events as Greater Dallas Movement Day however have a way of becoming monuments instead of movements. I am sure we have all experienced wonderful, motivational, conferences where we come away from the time with fresh vision, new ideas, and grand plans to change the world. All we need is more action, more advocacy for the poor, hopefully more acknowledgement of our need for God and we will get the job done. More people will hear, more people will be cared for, more good works will happen, now that we’ve been charged up, pumped up, and spiritually fed by the likes of Dr. Tim Keller, Dr. Albert Reyes, and Dr. Bryan Carter.
Not so fast. We all know we don’t stay on the mountain-top for long. Life happens.
We must now pray Greater Dallas Movement Day does not become just another moment in time, a monument to our resourcefulness to create big events. Will we as, one speaker asked, look back on this event a year from now with the thought, “oh yeah, I was there, great event.” Or will we see greater progress toward a greater expression of unity, through collaboration, in the bond of peace?
To see the later, we must pray for the movement of the Holy Spirit that Tim Keller spoke of, for a transformational movement of the “whole Gospel” that is Word centered, and seeks “a most excellent way” forward. We must commit before God to be part of His great movement as we obey His call to be His witnesses in Dallas, Irving, Richardson, Plano to the outermost parts of the Metroplex and beyond.
At a reception after the day’s event, I said to Mac, “the hard work really starts tomorrow.” Another version of Paul’s admonishment toward being united in the Holy Spirit says, “make every effort….” The hard work starts now toward a movement, as we make every effort in that direction - in united prayer and collaboration.
Will we as Greater Dallas Christian leaders, partakers of what God did on January 23rd, 2014, “make every effort…” to pray together and work together, as never before. Will our motivation be solely to see a movement of the Holy Spirit for the knowledge of God’s glory to fill Greater Dallas to the outer most reaches of His world? Will we do it together, even as we work on different issues?
If not, we will be left with only a monument of a marvelous day where it could be said, "a good time was had by all."
If so, to God be the glory, great things he will do!