All posts written by Daniel Montgomery

Sovereign Grace Moving To Louisville: What Does Sojourn Think?

Recently Sovereign Grace Ministries announced they’re moving to Louisville and are planting a new church here, led by C.J. Mahaney. Several of you have asked what I think of this announcement.

I think it is wonderful.

Sojourn leaders have a deep and abiding friendship with Sovereign Grace. Bob Kauflin has preached here and led workshops for Sojourn Music, and Dave Harvey has taught here as well. Finally, C.J. Mahaney is my dear friend and mentor, and I am so thankful for the Sovereign Grace team.

I’m also thankful for the church they come from, Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, led by my friend Joshua Harris. Josh is a gifted writer and preacher. Covenant Life is definitely in great hands to continue impacting Maryland and beyond.

Meanwhile with nearly a million people in the city of Louisville, there is always room for more churches. Some might say we’re a religious city, and that is true. But as one pastor expressed, we’re an “overchurched, undergospeled” city. So when a church springs up that emphasizes the centrality of who Jesus is, what he has done and what he’s promised to do, we welcome  that church as a friend and neighbor.

  • C.J. Mahaney in Louisville is great for me personally because I have a mentor in my backyard.
  • It’s great for the entire Sojourn congregation because we’ll be able to collaborate on leadership development and theological training.
  • It’s great for Sojourn Network and Sojourn Music as we work together and learn from each other in church planting and worship ministry.
  • And it’s great for Louisville. In Sovereign Grace, we’ve all gained a neighbor who will work for the good and pray for the peace of this city we call “home.”

Wendell Berry and Rest

Rest artwork by Chris BennettThis past Summer, the pastors of Sojourn blessed me with a three month sabbatical. Several people asked me what I did on my break:

  • What I wrote
  • What I accomplished

…and I told them the same thing every time: absolutely nothing. This was a time to put work down and bring restoration to my soul. I just journeyed through a short passage of scripture each week, meditating on the same verse daily, and answered a few reflective questions a pastor friend had prepared for me.

Besides my Bible, I read A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry. These are poems from Berry’s own Sunday morning “walking meditations.” I read this poem often:

Whatever is forseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we’re asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.

In this poem, he captures the essential rhythms of work and rest: good work leads to good rest and good rest leads to good work.

  • How do you trust that great work is done when you’re asleep?
  • Do you have a “sabbath day”?

Where Will You Be When Thunder Rolls?

Thunder Over Louisville airplanesThunder Over Louisville is this Saturday — good thing the Sherman Minton bridge is back in business. I’m not sure what this city would have done with Thunder if they couldn’t shut the Clark bridge down early enough to set up fireworks, but I’m glad it’s not an issue.

So now, the most pressing issue is: Where are you going to be for Thunder Over Louisville this year?

We Montgomery’s live on the edge of Germantown and downtown. We’re right where the Highlands literally start to go “downtown,” sloping towards the river. For that reason we can see Thunder pretty well from our second story.

So while we have gone downtown before, most of the time we enjoy it from our own house. Sometimes my oldest son Elijah and I even climb on top of the garage in our backyard and watch from there. It’s a fun time for me, and I hope it will become a good memory from Elijah’s childhood once he’s grown.

  • Share some places you recommend. Waterfront Park? Downtown high rise? From the Indiana shore or the Knobs?
  • What’s your favorite Thunder Over Louisville memory?

Thunder photo courtesy Chuck Heeke

There Are Thousands of Stories in the Sojourn Community …

One thing I love about this community is how pastors, community group leaders and members work together and live for the mission that God has called us to. This plays out in community groups, in the arts, in women’s ministry, SojournKids, SojournInternational and many different directions. The past few days saw this play out in several ways.

Pastors from around the U.S. visited our Pastor's School Open House

Our Pastor’s School has made a lot of news lately, as churches and seminaries around the world look for ways to partner and to provide solid training for the next generation of church leaders, at the local church level. Last week we hosted a couple hundred church leaders from around the country. They came to check out our weekly Pastor’s School session, and were treated to breakfast courtesy our partners at Southern Seminary.

Then Friday night, singer-songwriter John Mark McMillan performed at our music venue, The 930 Listening Room. He rocked the house, along with opening artists Kye Kye and Jude Moses. John Mark has written songs like “Death In His Grave” and “How He Loves.” And of course, the entire crowd at The 930 sang along with every word of those songs and many others.

Hands raised and voices lifted in praise, as John Mark McMillan led the Listening Room in songs of worship

And Matt Perman, whom I wrote about here, joined us for two events this past weekend. On Friday he taught the Sojourn staff about a biblical theology of work and productivity. Then on Saturday he went to Sojourn New Albany and led a mini-conference, Fruitful Leadership in the Marketplace. This latest SojournWork event helped many of you to think and act theologically in the workplace.

Matt Perman at Sojourn Church

Matt Perman teaches the Sojourn staff about the gospel & productivity

Our vision is to see the earth filled with the glory of God as men and women become more like Jesus. I’m thankful for our guests and the many Sojourners who worked behind the scenes this weekend, just as many of you do every day of the week in the many spheres of our culture.

If you attended the John Mark McMillan show or Matt Perman’s Engage@Work seminar, what did you think?

What has been your favorite Sojourn event in recent memory?

Top photo by Chelsey Scott
Middle photo by Chuck Heeke
Bottom photo by Bobby Gilles

 

Upward, Outward and All Together: For He Has Risen!

Nearly 2000 years ago, the sins of mankind and the love of our God led to the defining chain of events in all of history: Christ suffered, died and was buried for our sin, and then he rose from the dead. His resurrection was the final, decisive proof that he was who he said he was, and that God accepted his once-for-all sacrifice.

And for this, we put it all together:

And there’s so much more. Easter is the catalyst for the Church — a new movement formed and fueled by the gospel, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and the means by which God continues to restore this world to himself.

50 days after Easter, Christ sent his Spirit to his followers during the Feast of Pentecost. They rocked Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and all the world. It continues today, and it continues with us. This time. This place. This people.

I’ve said before that Sojourn isn’t just an organization; it’s a movement. And this movement progresses outward and upward, in our homes, our community, this city and the world, because He has risen.

How have you seen this upward-outward movement take effect in your own life? Your family? Your community group and this church?

 

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