It has been almost three years since I was invited into my current role at The Dale. The time has simultaneously crept and whizzed by. So MUCH has happened and as I sit here I am reminded of the many valuable lessons I have learned (and continue to learn) along the way…
1. You do not need a building to be a church.
2. The use of other people’s buildings that might be otherwise empty is a good use of resources.
3. The Dale needs and thrives because of partnerships.
4. It takes time to convince others that a crazy idea like “spilling into the streets” is a good one.
5. You can do a lot with very little [money].
6. Being present in a neighbourhood matters.
7. Sharing stories is important.
8. People are built for and need community.
9. People who live on the margins are some of my greatest teachers.
10. God provides.
There’s more of course, but a list of ten seems a good place to start.
My desire for The Dale is that it will always place at its core people who know poverty, for it is through them that Jesus invites us to recognize our own. I just finished telling some people this afternoon that The Dale pours more into me than I will probably ever pour into it. It’s absolutely true.
The last three years have been a roller coaster ride, one that has exposed both my fragility and strengths, my brokenness and restored health, my deepest fears and highest hopes. I have seen money arrive when we had none and food feed more people than it conceivably should have. I, along with a whole team of people decided to keep going when by the world’s standards we should have stopped. The Dale tells the story of a community’s resilience through God’s presence and provision. It is a story that I am humbly grateful to be a part of.