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Summary & Intro
Dhati Lewis – Christ-follower, husband, dad of 7 kids, pastor of Blue Print Church of Atlanta, Founder/Leader of the Rebuild Network, missional urban strategist for the NAMB Send Network, author, disciple-maker, sports fan, mentor to 116 Clique and Reach Records artists (Lecrae, Trip Lee, KB, Andy Mineo and more) and all-around great guy.
Recap & Synopsis
In this episode, I interview Dhati Lewis. I love Dhati’s heart and vision for the church and the mission; especially his passion for living the Gospel out in an urban context. Dhati moved from Dention, TX to Atlanta with his family and 40 other people to plant Blueprint Church of Atlanta. He believes deeply that the local church is the visible expression of the Gospel in our culture. Dhati and I plumb the depths of identity crisis of men and the church, diversity and unity, urbanization and gentrification, neighborhood missiology, differences and similarities between rural and urban mission and biblical hospitality. I know you’ll be greatly empowered, equipped and encouraged by Dhati’s unique story and inspiring passion for the church, the mission and the city.
*The following are my favorite top quotes from Dhati and I. Use them freely and widely, but please offer credit where credit is due. Thanks.
In this new urban reality, we have to go from an ethnic missiology to a neighborhood missiology.
The answer to gentrification is not relocation, the answer is the Gospel. The power of the Holy Spirit abiding in His people. The church has a tremendous opportunity to be the Gospel in the inner cities.
*(gentrification: arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, usually used negatively)
Instead of flight, fight. Fight darkness with light. Fight hopelessness with hope. Fight sin with grace. Fight tension and division with a common goal and unity. (Jonathan)
The overarching thing is when we begin to engage people we’re not comfortable with.
The church is becoming more of this social justice movement. This is huge and needs to be a part. But that is not our identity.
If the Church is the Gospel made visible, then the local church needs to be a tangible demonstration of how people live in a tragic world.
5 Questions to Ask:
- What is the church?
- Why does the church exist in the world? (relationship with God, believers, the world)
- What should the church be known for/identity of the church? (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness)
- How do we protect that identity? (right preaching of the Word, discipleship, membership, community)
- How do we put that on display for the world to see? (love for one another, intentionality, living Gospel)
John Stott said “the most neglected doctrine is the doctrine of the church”. We need to go back to what the Word of God identifies as the bride of Christ, the flock of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Diversity is a means to an end, or a result of having a Gospel-centered church in a diverse area. We shouldn’t see diversity for diversity’s sake. What we should do is reach our neighbors. Our diversity should reflect our neighborhood. We need to focus on the Gospel.
We’re a church in the city, for the city that looks like the city.
Action Round (1 Take-away & 1 Action-Item)
1 TA (One take-away for YOU to think about)
Engage with your neighbors. Be there with your wife. Understand where you are emotionally. Emotions are a good thing, a great indicator to tell you where you are in life. 90% of ministry is just showing up.
1 AI (One action-item for YOU to go do.)
Choose 5 people in your life that you can show up to and Be Present in. And then go do it.
Be Intentionally relational. Explicitly Christian.
Dhati on Twitter: @dhati
Favorite Resource on this Topic
The Gospel Made Visible, Mark Dever
The Voice of the Heart, Chip Dodd
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out
Quote from Henri J. M. Nouwen that Dhati referred to:
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” (other quotes from Nouwen)