Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Doug Paul on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Doug’s local newspaper the Richmond-Times Dispatch and Style Weekly. Here is Doug Paul on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS

The only way I know how to talk about the Good News is to talk about where I live, to talk about the people and the reality these people exist in. While urban church planting is en vogue right now (and our prayer is that it stays that way), my wife and I have a clear call to the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.

You probably won’t find anything surprising about these people. Upper middle class, they’ve been to college and probably graduate school. They have a lovely spouse and 2.5 kids. To tell you the truth, they’re living the American Dream: Starbucks in the cupholder of their European car. An HDTV and a two-car garage. A substantial amount of debt (which they have learned to hide), strain on their marriage and no clue how to fix this troubling sense of isolation that comes with living in the suburbs.

For these kind of people who have been given every advantage and every luxury, what is The Good News?

You see, we know these people. We work with them. Live by them. We seem them when we drop our kids off at gymnastics…when we pick up dinner at Ukrop’s (our local specialty grocery store). We sense they desperately want more out of life. We understand that the nagging sense that we were created for more than the stuff and the next promotion and the upcoming ski vacation continues because it’s real.

The Good News is that God has created us for significance. For relationships. To be part of something bigger than ourselves. To be a part of His work in the world.

The problem is that most of our neighbors have settled for very small stories-stories that revolve around their work and their possessions. Stories that highlight their problems and offer no better way of life.

The Good News is that this doesn’t have to be the dominant reality these people live in. We don’t have to lives this way anymore.

For centuries we have seen The Good News break into the present. It brought redemption to the poor, the abused, the broken…and yes, even the affluent. The ambassadors of this news seemed to think they should step right into the thick of it-right into a world that at one time can seem so beautiful, but in the same glance be so fragmented. And when they do this, they invite others to live in a story that is much bigger than themselves. People who are hungry are fed. Broken relationships are put back together. Objects of abuse become givers of forgiveness.

The Good News is that the world is even now being mended.

The Good News is that the Kingdom is near, yes, even at our very fingertips.

The Good News is that God is renewing all things.

The Good News is that God wants us to get in on it.

The Good News is that there is finally a story big enough for us to live in.

Doug Paul lives in Chesterfield, a suburb of Richmond, Virginia. He lives with his beautiful wife Elizabeth, their three month old daughter Avery and their quirky Weimaraner Chandler. They are currently in the throws of planting the Eikon Community and when they aren’t making fun of Twitter and their lack of commitment to keeping their blogs updated, they enjoy making dinner with friends, good wine and indie movies.


4 Responses to Doug Paul on The Good News

  1. I lived in Richmond for a number of years (downtown near Ginter park and then in the Staples Mill area of Henrico County. I’ve enjoyed the different angles and contexts represented in this series: urban and suburban. Both contexts present challenges and opportunities. Both demonstrate the need for the transformation that the Good News offers. Seemingly the common thread is the reality that the Gospel is bigger than any other story present in the world. This is good news indeed.

  2. Ian says:

    I’ve noticed that in the Christian pursuit to help the marginalised and poor, we can often forget that people who seem to ‘have it all together’ are often the ones who are coming apart at the seams.

    Bored kids getting high and pregnant, making stupid mistakes late at night. Parents who’s marriages are falling apart. Depression and anxiety are on the up for these people.

    I think what Jesus said – that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven – is true. The upper-middle class, with its pastel coloured walls and tasteful kitchen/dining space is a place devoid of the excitement, thrill purpose and direction of the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Good news for everyone.
    Amen

  3. John Santic says:

    Doug, thanks for posting this. I admire your calling to a place where there is on the surface, perhaps, little need for god in light of the comfort of affluence. Truth be told, and you said it well, there is brokenness in the suburbs too, perhaps a little harder to admit for the affluent. but the way you love among them in the spirit of Jesus will soften hearts and drop the veils that seem thick around the faces of those who have it all in their small stories.

  4. jrwoodward says:

    Doug, thanks for sharing a message of good news to where many people live today, the suburbs. Your invitation to a bigger story that brings a sense of significance and legacy sounds like good news indeed. Thanks for your entry on the good news. Peace.

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