This winter I’m learning a new language. Nope, it’s not Italian, French or Farsi. I’m not listening to some Berlitz instructor parse verbs in German. This one’s more difficult: I’m learning to speak Windows. Now that I’m officially your pastor, I can make this confession: I’m a Mac user. Ever since that memorable day 25 years ago when I first pressed a computer “on” button, it’s been Apple all the way.
So when D’O Dillard let me know, in the gentlest way possible, that First Baptist DC office operates in a PC world, I’ll admit I was a bit up-ended. “Tim!” I wailed, “I don’t know how to be a pastor on a Dell!” Luckily we figured out a compromise solution: I can keep my Mac and work in Windows—thanks be to God.
Truth is, I’m learning a lot more than Windows these days. After almost nine years of speaking Georgia, Atlanta (or Atlanna) and First Baptist Decatur, I’m learning how to speak “DMV” and The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC.
And as anyone knows who’s ever studied a new language, before you speak it you must first listen. I’ve got some listening to do as we walk together. It will take some time to become more proficient. But as I listen for your particular rhythm and meter, and the inflections and intonations of FBC’s unique dialect, God will open my ears.
In that vein, here is a missional question: What language is our church’s neighborhood speaking, and is First Baptist engaged in language lessons of its own? Parlez-vous Dupont Circle? ¿Habla usted Millennial? Sprechen Sie Embassy Row? Every church is in the befriending business. Learning someone else’s language opens the door to deeper connections and cross-cultural friendships. This is going to be fun.
Listening for the One whose first language is Love…