STARTING A CHURCH? DON'T DO IT ALONE

Dreams Come to Life

By Andy McMahon

The power to dream is a God-given ability! Humanity can, although it pales in comparison to His ability, imagine and create as He does. Dreams, aspirations, and goals are necessary tools to have in your tool belt as a pastor. And just like tools, if they are just left on the shelf to collect dust, they can become useless and even dangerous.  From inception to culmination, the process of a dream can be long and difficult, perhaps seeming as if it will never come to pass. This gift of dreaming does not discriminate, nor does it look at surrounding circumstances. It is not a respecter of culture, race, or class. Anyone can dream!

But here is the thing, dreams sit and wait to see if the dreamer makes an effort to attain it, or at the very least glance at it and still desire to achieve it. You see, dreams wait on action. But the good news is dreams dont expire.

"You will record an album, not just one but several.” Those words were spoken over the lead pastors of our church 20 years ago. That seems like a long time to hold on to hope and faith. But despite all the transitions and changes, those words remained a dream in their hearts. Who would have thought that the puzzle pieces would begin to fall into place five years ago? Moving from Miami, FL, to Lawrenceville, GA, Manny & Victoria Rivera became senior pastors at Discover Life Church (DLC), a church body of fewer than 150 people.

The dream given in Miami now faced the realities of Lawrenceville. Establishing culture, empowering leaders, and demonstrating the love and power of God took the front seat to any other personal goals or promises. Which meant that this dream was pushed to the back temporarily. Our pastors teach and live by the truth that there is no personal calling outside of the corporate call. Giving their time, resources, energy, and giftings to raise up the body of Christ at Discover Life Church once again challenged their dreams. DLC met in a school and was still in the planting” stages of establishing itself in the community.

As many churches do when they welcome new pastors, there was a period of transition in which dreaming seemed like a distant, well, dream. As culture was established and dreams of the future emerged, suddenly COVID loomed across the world as the extinguisher of plans and goals. Rather than letting circumstances stifle the vision, our pastors got fired up about the need for change. What was, for many churches, a devastating blow became a catalyst and a reminder that the focus of the church is God and people. Creativity gave way to the use of new technology, funny online segments, and solid Bible teaching, despite having the option of gathering together taken away by the school where we rented. New dreams of a building, land and a church campus of our own emerged stronger and in clearer focus as the school was silent on when, or if, we could gather again. After several offers and almosts," the perfect building was presented to us, thanks to Gods provision through ministry friends and partners.

With a new campus and the planting” days in our rearview mirror, the new Discover Life Church that emerged, more established and rooted in the power and presence of Jesus, forged ahead to see dreams realized. This "perfect building” came with everything a church needs, including an essential component that would help us to realize one particular dream. This building came with a recording studio. Reminded, armed, and revived, our churchs passion and dreaming were much bigger than our size. But since when does God box in dreams? And since when does He tell a church of a certain size that it cannot do certain things? He doesnt.

DLC instead expanded its impact locally and internationally. While bringing in new partnerships and planning local outreaches, thoughts of new ways to expand the kingdom were being birthed in the church. Committed to discipleship, DLC became a place to encourage leaders to teach and preach, cultivate a heart for missions, and create an environment for personal growth and expression. All this happened while the dream of recording an album remained in the heart of our pastors.

During 2021 we pressed in, despite a slow return from COVID, seeking Gods face and pressing in for a revival. Revival came, and we saw a genuine move of God in our midst. New faces were coming in, and lives were being transformed. Not by the church itself but through Jesus. Our worship team was growing, expanding, and seeking Gods face. Creativity, songwriting, and worship expanded as we sought Him and experienced more of Him.

In August of 2021, Pastor Manny asked, "Do we have enough original music to record an album?” The answer was a resounding Yes.” The months of September through January were spent dreaming and planning: which songs to use and who should sing which song. Planning meetings, worship practices, and creative brainstorming all came together to complete the vision, the dream, that was finally coming to fruition. February through April was spent with more dreaming and organizing: sound, lighting, media, videos, and rehearsals.

Design elements were laid out, discussed, and tweaked. Mixers and producers were hired. Now, did this all take an investment of time, money, and talent? Of course. But we knew that the songs that were written and the dream for the album were all given for the glory of God, not us. So, investing time, money, and talent is a part of stewarding what the Lord has given. And the Lord provided ideas for profiting and investing money back into the church for the initial investment. Who knew sweatshirts could make $1800 in one evening?! Apparently, God did (and to this Gen-Z population who wears a sweatshirt in every weather scenario, we say thank you).

Finally, on May 5, 2022, the Holy Love album was ready to record live at our church. With singers and musicians taking part from our sister church in Miami, we invited friends, family, and neighboring churches for a night to remember. We did not just" record a live album; we came together to worship and celebrate what the Lord can and will do if you allow him to turn your dream into reality.

Was waiting a part of it? Of course. Did it take hard work and an investment? Yes. Yet, no matter the size of the church, you can still dream and achieve because achieving has nothing to do with your churchs size but with faith, action, and passion.

Stream and download the new album from Discover Worship today! Click here


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