If there was ever a time when radical change was needed, it would be now. Such a change, I think, rests upon the shoulders of our next generation. They hold, in their hand, the pen to write the future of their communities. Because of this, I am excited to see Millennials active in helping to plan Movement Day Greater Dallas 2015. I believe that it is here that the story of city transformation will be written.
On Jan. 22, 2015, the second annual Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD) will convene for the purpose of gathering and catalyzing Dallas leaders from the Christian community. Through this interactive and collaborative effort, we will build upon strategies set in motion earlier this year—strategies that aim to impact the city for the long term. Millennials have been quick to take notice and have jumped in with both feet.
A huge turning point for MDGD has been a Christian network whose goal is to connect passions, expose needs and empower young adults to transform Greater Dallas with the gospel. This new non-profit called Initiative is headed by my friend Grant Skeldon who credits MDGD for fueling the collaboration.
"It is the most proactive conference I've ever experienced," states Skeldon, further noting, "Millennials are leaving the church because they're tired of just gathering to gather. They want to gather for the purpose of actually doing something. Movement Day Greater Dallas doesn't just offer action, it invites us into the grander story of what God is doing with the gospel through leaders in their cities."
Skelden's talk is backed up by action. This energetic group regularly explores ways to serve alongside other ministries in the city and to effectively address various social and spiritual issues. Over 300 young adults gather each month with a different focus on the issues facing the city. But regardless of the topic, everything is geared toward taking action.
To further emphasize the importance that the leaders of MDGD place on this generation of Christ-followers, a new evening session has been added to the day's calendar, and Grant and his team from Initiative are taking the lead for the evening that will feature Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, as the keynote speaker.
Earlier in the day, conference attendees will also hear notable Christian leaders Chip Ingram, Jim Denison, Bryan Carter, Jeff Warren, Shelette Stewart and Mac Pier cast vision of the city transformation that can be achieved through gospel movements like MDGD. An afternoon of interactive track meetings will follow and allow participants to collaborate and personally explore best practices on issues like hunger, marketplace influence, immigrant and orphan care, prisoner re-entry, and education among others. Participants with similar passions will create strategies that will bring the Christian community into an ongoing, collective impact solution that works with existing local ministries wherever possible.
I believe that Dallas is in great need of positive impact in all of the aforementioned areas and radical change is long overdue. Did you know...
- Nearly 90 percent of DISD graduates can't start college without some form of remedial education in core subjects?
- 97 percent of children in South Dallas live in single parent homes?
- Less than 10 percent of the student population is involved in religious life?
- The number of North Texans seeking help from food pantries or soup kitchens each week has risen 80 percent since 2006. Nearly half are children?
- 44 percent of the residents in DFW are first or second generation immigrants and the number continues to grow. More than 239 languages are spoken in the city?
- 94 percent of America's cities are safer than Dallas?
- The Metroplex has the nation's third greatest disparity between rich and poor of any American city?
Millennials have felt the weight of these statistics at a very personal level and are seeking to make changes for the future. Together MDGD calls us to action by providing the time and collaboration that's needed for such efforts. As MDGD's Executive Director, I believe that God is doing something special through Movement Day Greater Dallas by introducing Christians to each other and providing the atmosphere for collaboration that will bring great change for this city. I am beyond excited to see Millennials' involvement and the city transformation that will result from it.
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