Honestly, I Want You to Know Jesus

Honestly, I Want You to Know Jesus

I just had my first conversation with a friend that has a friend that died from Covid-19. One degree of separation. Darrell is a true friend and brother. He stands 6'7" tall and towers over every room I've ever been in with him. He can hit a golf ball a country mile. He beats me every time we play. That pains me to admit on the internet. But it's true. More than anything, though, I see Jesus in Darrell. His eyes radiate the love of Jesus.  Darrell and I talked for thirty minutes today. He pastors a great church in West Charlotte and he is exposed to some of the most pressing needs in our...

read more
A Week of Waiting (Since My Covid-19 Test)

A Week of Waiting (Since My Covid-19 Test)

"Ok David," the doctor said as he placed two q-tips in a hazardous materials bag, "We will get back to you in 3-5 days. Best of luck and please stay healthy." I looked into his eyes that were covered by an oversized face mask. I wondered what he was thinking. He was face-to-face with a stranger that may have an unknown disease directly at his fingertips. He was kind, confident, and communicative. He had tried to prepare me as best as possible for the fact that he was going to put a q-tip farther up my nose than I ever thought was humanly possible. He asked me multiple times how I was doing....

read more
Fellas, I Hope You’re Ready. The Future is Here and She is Courageous.

Fellas, I Hope You’re Ready. The Future is Here and She is Courageous.

Carissa arrived at Cafe Grumpy just off of Wall Street with a double shot of energy. She immediately hugged my daughter (whom she had just met) and talked about how she could one day move to New York City, as well. “Mary, you will love it here,” she said as if the wheels were already in motion for my fourteen year old girl to move to the Big Apple. Carissa and I met when she was speaking at the CCDA Conference in Detroit a few years ago. Her passion was infectious and I was captivated by her passion for business and justice. I stuck around for a few minutes after the presentation to say...

read more
A Note to My White Pastor Friends About What You’re Doing (or Not Doing) for Black History Month

A Note to My White Pastor Friends About What You’re Doing (or Not Doing) for Black History Month

Pastor - Thanks for reaching out the other day regarding advice about your plans for Black History Month (February). Simply being willing to reach out and be intentional shows that you're starting to see that it's important to think outside the box that we were raised in and highlight times of the year that are significant to people of color in our country. I'm certainly not an expert in navigating the complex dynamics that have divided our culture, but I deeply care and have some thoughts on how you can create an environment at your church to recognize the significance of this month and why...

read more
What Your Church Said (or Didn’t Say) About MLK Jr. Says Something About Your Church

What Your Church Said (or Didn’t Say) About MLK Jr. Says Something About Your Church

I have to preface this post with an admission. I had the privilege of being the lead pastor at Center City Church for ten years and during that time, we recognized Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend four times. That's six years that I never intentionally honored Dr. King or the many folks that came before and after him that have fought for justice in our country.  Here's some back story... I cut my teeth in ministry at a predominantly white megachurch in Orlando, FL. If we recognized MLK Jr. each January, I have to admit that I don't remember it being a momentous occasion. Prior to that, I...

read more
Questions to Reflect on a Decade

Questions to Reflect on a Decade

"If this is real, it will spread." This phrase kept going through my head as I prayed about the beginning days of Center City Church at the end of 2009. We had been meeting in our living room with a small group of friends that committed to come alongside us to start a new church community in Uptown Charlotte. We decided to go completely word of mouth at the outset of this new church family. If what we were experiencing in our hearts was real, I genuinely believed it would spread. And it did.  I remember my mind racing and imagination going wild as 2009 was winding down. The start of a new...

read more
Big Impact vs. Sustainable Impact  //  A Guest Blog by Hannah Beavers

Big Impact vs. Sustainable Impact // A Guest Blog by Hannah Beavers

I am thrilled to introduce you to Hannah Beavers. She is the Executive Director at Freedom Communities. I have the privilege of being on the board of this organization that works with neighbors in West Charlotte to achieve equitable access to education, housing, employment, and community wellness. This is accomplished by aligning partnerships, investments, and the community to create an environment where every family can thrive. Hannah gives an inside look at what it's like to lead a nonprofit organization that focuses on holistic strategies that take time to produce outcomes while living...

read more
Finding Peace When the Answer is No

Finding Peace When the Answer is No

Buddy the Elf and I have a lot in common, and I'm guessing it's driving my literary agent nuts. If you've never seen Will Ferrell's Christmas movie, Elf, I need you to stop reading this and find your closest Blockbuster* and go rent it now. You won't regret this decision. One of my favorite scenes from Elf is when Buddy is talking to his dad and interrupting his work day. His father is obviously annoyed and Buddy isn't picking up on the signals. The call is coming to a close and Buddy says, "I love you... I'll call you in five minutes!"  In my defense, I am a first-time author that has had...

read more
How the Docusens Prepare for Christmas (Advent: What, Why, & How)

How the Docusens Prepare for Christmas (Advent: What, Why, & How)

"I love the tradition, organization, and structure that comes along with the traditional church calendar." Dara said this to me as she looked across the breakfast table at me, eyes beaming. I've got a list on my phone that is titled Things Dara Likes. I add another line to the list whenever I see her eyes light up. The list includes things like hot air balloons, bridges, bubbles, a warm cup of coffee, etc. I have twenty-three things on her list that make her eyes light up. Actually, twenty-four as she looked across at me this morning and talked about how much she loves Advent. "There's just...

read more
Reconsidering Reconciliation

Reconsidering Reconciliation

I think we need to reconsider using the word reconciliation when talking about finding friendship across the dividing lines of race. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the work that folks are doing that genuinely try to bring racial reconciliation to our culture. However, the more that I've explored these topics and found friendship across racial lines, the more I am thinking that we may not have a reference point to which we can return that was healthy, unified, and expressing the oneness that God has always intended for us. At which point in American history would we return that was equitable...

read more