Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Church of "the back on track"

Sunday, June 24, was a special day at the Central Dallas Church.

The men of the congregation organized what turned out to be a day-long "extravaganza."

Beginning in the morning with the church's regularly scheduled activities, continuing on through a great meal at noon and concluding with a time of celebration outside on the parking lot under the tents and in two giant "bounce houses" for the children, the day was something very special.

The Central Dallas Church (located at 1950 N. Washington Avenue) celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. Planted alongside Central Dallas Ministries in 1992, thanks to the support and commitment of the Preston Road Church of Christ and the hard work of Carey Dowl, the organizing minister, the church has continued to grow and to serve its community.

Two-and- a-half years ago, the church moved into its new "home" in what had been the home of the Washington Street Presbyterian Mission for over 30 years. CDM purchased the building from the Mission and the church leases the space for its various services, activities and community outreach.

The location has the benefit of being directly across the street from the Roseland Homes Housing Development where CDM has enjoyed an active partnership with the community since 1996. The church has made the Roseland community its focus of service and care since relocating to the new building.

Several things impress me about the church and its recent growth and maturity.

Preston Weaver serves as its minister. Preston is an amazing man, to say the least! Having worked in Human Resources for over 25 years with Brinker International, Perot Systems, Fox Meyer Drug Company and Dallas Market Center, he returned to seminary at Perkins School of Theology at SMU and embarked on his "second career" in ministry as a pastoral counselor at CDM in our Community Health Services division. He touches, cares for, listens to and assists so many people every day in our clinic and across the entire organization. He has been serving the Central Dallas Church for the last two years as its minister and leader. He is an inspiration to all of us.

The men of the Central Dallas Church have really "stepped up" over the past several years. Lorenzo Brown, Randle Bailey, Robert Grigsby, Don Williams and many other leaders have been so committed to serving others and to influencing young men in the community to join in the process of improving the health and well-being of the entire neighborhood.

On this very special Sunday, it was very clear that their efforts are paying off, as so many young men and older teens were involved in the day.

The church is thoroughly non-denominational today. It is a community church, and more, a church of the community from inside out. The people involved set the course for the life of the church and everyone is welcomed without exception!

This church engages in all sorts of community service, outreach and caring.

A few years ago during Spring Break, a group of students from the University of Kentucky spent the week with us. During their stay, members of the Central Dallas Church accompanied the students into the Roseland Homes community where we knocked on every door.

We asked our neighbors two important questions.

First, "Are you registered to vote?"

Second, "Is there anything about which you would like us to pray?"

To say the least, we learned a lot about the community, shared many prayers and registered a few new voters!

It is that kind of church.

I am especially impressed with the church's music and with how the church uses music to plug folks into its life and mission. A children's choir, an adult praise team, a teen choir and a men's group are all very active in the church's worship and inspiration.

As I looked across the crowd on Sunday, I was moved simply by the stories of the people there whom I know, and there were so many I don't know. It struck me that the Central Dallas Church is quite unique.

It wouldn't be at all inaccurate to say that the Central Dallas Church is a church of "the back on track!" So many of its members have been through so much and have come so far--it is amazing and inspirational!

You may want to check it out some Sunday morning. I can promise you this, everyone would be very, very glad to see you!



chris said...

While you are a church of community outreach, service and caring, I hope you are also a church of sound doctrine. Church is more than a social agency although service is important.

owldog1 said...


Church is the people not the building. I can tell you Jesus and God are at the services and their love is shown.

chris said...

I don't recall saying anything about a building.

Anonymous said...

Chris... If we're going to rail on false assumptions, I don't recall Larry saying ANYTHING that would raise the question of sound doctrine.

Perhaps you have a bias that a church with a strong outreach into the community will compromise it's beliefs rather than simply accepting that church's ability to be Christ in the community?

Anonymous said...

Somehow, the idea -- of Larry writing a post about an inner-city church (or any church) and their 5 steps to salvation, emphasis on acappella worship, and baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins -- just doesn't seem that exciting.

I think Larry made a better choice, writing about the church showing love towards the community. We have enough churches focusing on "doctrine" and not enough "practicing" the doctrine of Christ in the community.

Larry James said...

So, chris, what do you consider to be "sound doctrine"?

chris said...

Sound doctrine is to follow the teachings of the New Testament, as John Westley said, "Let them put nothing in the place of it or add nothing to it."

Christ emphasized true doctrine by saying that those who taught "as their doctrine the precepts of man" were worshiping God in vain.
Matt. 15:9

Paul always put doctrine first. He said that anything contrary to sound doctrine was as sinful in the same degree as fornication and murder. l Tim.1:10

He told Timothy to give heed and attention to doctrine. l Tim 4:13,16

All practical teachings in Paul's letters comes after the doctrinal parts of the letter.

It's not ethics that produces doctrine but doctrine that produces ethics.

Anonymous said...

So if this church is being praised for it's Christian ethics... shouldn't we assume it's doctrine is on track... (since ethics flow from doctrine, according to your logic?)

Oh yeah, I forgot... you're a conspiracy theorist! So we need to be bombarded with the "doctrine" and actually never even get to the ethics part.

Chris -- you didn't even answer Larry's question -- "what do you consider to be "sound doctrine"?"

You stated the importance of sound doctrine, but you didn't say what that doctrine was.

My hunch is that you simply don't want to accept these people for the good their doing in the name of Christ in their community because they're different from you.

When I visited Central Dallas Church, I didn't see a problem with any doctrinal issues. In fact, they seemed to be following the commands of Christ as well as any church I've seen. 1 - Love the Lord you're God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. 2 - Love you're neighbor as your self. And Jesus' prayer for his disciples that they love one another. And the mark of a Christian to the world: their love.

I could go on.

Does it bother you that there is no church of Christ in the church's name? Is that what this is about? If it is, then I perfectly understand your "doctrinal" concerns.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows... James 1: 27

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? I John 3:17

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 3:23

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

chris said...

I expressed the hope of sound doctrine and some became very defensive. Paul told Timothy:

"As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou might charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine." 1 Tim. 1:3

I think the tendency today is to discourage talk about doctrine but Paul talked very much about sound doctrine to Timothy and, in essence, repeated to Titus when Paul commanded him to "speak the things which benefit the sound doctrine." Titus 2:1

So, in my opinion, the church needs community outreach AND sound doctrine. Perhaps there are both in Central Dallas Church. I hope so. I did not say there wasn't. I have never heard Larry speak of doctrine so I don't know where he stands on that.

Anonymous said...

Most of the exhortations for "sound doctrine" by Paul were for people who were coming into the church and challenging the deity of Christ or that he even died and was resurrected.

Is this what you're referring to?

All I'm saying is that your concern seems somewhat random and unfounded, which leads me to believe you're more worried about issues that come up in typical denominational squabbles than what Paul seemed to imply were serious doctrinal issues.

chris said...

In the last 2000 years, "typical demonational squabbles" have become an elephant in a china shop. One only has to look at church history. What you would call small issues became hugh doctrinal issues, for example, church government. Hugh doctrinal issues started out small.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you're worried about church government, Central Dallas Church seems to be relatively autonomus, so you can put your worries to rest, Chris.

I just find it quite odd that you haven't voiced any specific concern -- meaning you have a general dislike for something about that church (which you know nothing about). Otherwise, you wouldn't be making a mountain out of a molehill.