The power that sparks creation
Want to learn more about Uptown Church?
Uptown Church, the newest campus of Highland Park UMC, is committed to being In the city, and for the city. They will continue to offer people in the Uptown and Downtown neighborhoods of Dallas a community to belong to, a cause to live for, and a church they can call home.
They plan to open our doors for worship at House of Blues this December 2020. In the meantime, they are serving our city through local outreach events, building relationships with their neighborhood at safe, socially distanced meetups and connecting through virtual ministry.
Click below to find out more or discover upcoming events by following @uptownchurchdallas on Facebook and Instagram.
With a bold, beautiful explosion of confetti, our church announced plans to open a brand-new campus at House of Blues, and the dream of Uptown Church was born. That was February 23.
A few weeks later, everything changed. Everything. Instead of preparing for a new local church, we were preparing for an unimaginable, highly contagious, and terrifying virus. Oh, and did I mention I was also nine-months pregnant at the time?
My second son, Max, was born on the same day the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. Not exactly ideal timing. Max didn’t care that our hospitals, our city, our world was in turmoil. And Max taught me an important lesson that day: New life doesn’t wait.
New life doesn’t quietly linger until we decide our situations and circumstances are perfectly aligned. New life is born when God decides our world is ready for it. As a minister of the Gospel, I believe wholeheartedly that God has ordained this exact moment in time to launch Uptown Church because our city and our world is ready for it.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the story of new beginnings. It teaches us about the birth of life as we know it and the way God chose a group of people to live in relationship with Him and to share His love with the world.
And you know what? The world wasn’t perfect then either. In those first powerful verses of Genesis, when God creates all things — the ultimate birth of new life — he chose a moment of darkness, uncertainty, and chaos. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3a)
Since the beginning of creation, this is how God works: He hovers over the disruption, the disorder, the chaos, the void, and then brings us new light and new life.
How incredible! This is the creative energy of God. God takes nothing and creates everything. God takes emptiness and births overwhelming abundance. And what’s so cool is that God didn’t stop with creation. God transformed a cross and a grave into redemption and hope. God empowered His disciples with His Holy Spirit to reach and bless every nation on earth.
This is why the local church is the hope of the world. Because it was created by God and is sustained by God, not by us. The church exists and persists because of God.
We are the local church, and we can’t stop, and we won’t stop. Because the power that sparked creation and brought Jesus from death to life is the same power that lives inside each and every one of us. God needs nothing more than chaos and disruption to bring new life into our world. Currently, God’s got a whole lot to work with!
This uncertain season of life has reminded me that as a Christian, my hope is not naïve or rooted in blind optimism. My hope is built on the unwavering reality of our Christian story, that God takes our brokenness, our pain, our dark, disoriented, and disrupted lives and says, “Let there be light.” And there is light.
This is the story that offers us enduring faith and hope to persevere, even at a time like this. Even during a pandemic. Because it’s also the story that so many in our city need right now and have never heard. As Christians, we know how the story ends, with beautiful light and hope. But countless others only know the narrative of unavoidable illness, addiction, injustice, divorce, unemployment, prejudice, depression, and hopeless devastation.
The local church is the hope of the world. And our world could use a lot more hope right now. So, we are answering God’s call to create new life and new hope at Uptown Church. Even as our city and our world seem uncertain and closed, God is calling us to be confident and to open. Because new life doesn’t wait until it’s convenient. New life is born when God decides we need it most. Our city needs Uptown Church now more than ever. So we are open!
Rev. Joy Gonzalez is the campus pastor of Uptown Church, the newest campus of HPUMC, launching for worship this winter 2020 at House of Blues!