RVA: Under Construction – Jen Hatmaker Speaks

 INT presents Jen


Jen Hatmaker Speaks…



METRO Richmond, VA is under construction!

WE, the Church, are being called to rebuild it by fulfilling the mission Jesus gave us: 

Love God. Love Neighbor.

Make Disciples who Make Disciples.

Join us in welcoming Jen Hatmaker, as 700+ attendees will hear Jen speak and discuss what it means to live on that mission as an individual, as a small group or family, and as a church!  Jen’s message is NOT just for women only! GUYS – You are welcomed and encouraged!!!  Although many of her books are geared toward women, her message is for everyone who is part of the body of Christ in RVA: men, women, church leaders, young adults, singles and parents!


St. Giles Presbyterian Church
5200 Grove Avenue
Richmond, VA 23226

Weekend Schedule:

Friday  8/15   6-9:30pm

Saturday   8/16     8:30a – 1p

Saturday “Un-conference” – Attendees are encouraged to continue the dialogue following the event with new friends and old by joining them for lunch at various places throughout Richmond. More information will be provided as the date approaches.

Who is Jen Hatmaker?

Jen Hatmaker and her husband, Brandon, live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church and raise their brood. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global nonprofits for the spiritual and social renewal of Austin and beyond. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted and 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Jen and Brandon have five children ~ Gavin, Sydney, Caleb; and in 2010 they added Ben and Remy from Ethiopia.

What is Into The Neighborhood?

Into The Neighborhood is a newly formed nonprofit Christ-centered ministry, founded by Louis and Marti Williams, based on scripture:

The Word became flesh…and moved into the neighborhood.    John 1:14 (MSG)

For more information, click here > Into The Neighborhood.

Where can I get tickets?

Please Note:  Early Bird Prices are available through May 31, 2014. Prices won’t be this low again, and numbers are limited.

purchase tickets

Where can I get information about sponsorship?

If you are interested in a sponsorship package please contact Marti below.

We are super excited about seeing you at St. Giles on August 15-16 and are praying for all attendees..


Being the Mission

You know….for the last 6 years I have loved and served my neighborhood friends.  What a joy it has been!  I love my community!!!  I am often a ‘go-to’ person for a lot of people.  My neighborhood has been my ‘mission’ and way of life.  Now, it was time for Louis and me to be their mission.

A month ago, Louis had emergency surgery due to 2 massive kidney stones drop about the same time jeopardizing function of both kidneys.  They are too big to pass. Although the doctors created a temporary fix, Louis had 3 additional procedures to go through.  One down…two more to go!  The kidney stents relieved the emergency, but he is still extremely uncomfortable and still can’t do a lot.  When he does, he suffers for it later.

On Friday, I had some outpatient abdominal surgery and have spent the last few days laid up in stretchy pants.  Our neighborhood and community friends have been nothing short of amazing.  Visits, flowers, food (and ICE CREAM!!!), dishes, carrying out the trash, prayers, phone calls, etc.

At times, this has been difficult for me….more so than Louis, actually.  He does a much better job of ‘receiving’ than I do.  Louis likes to remind me of Jesus’ words…

Acts 20:35  New International Version (NIV)

35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Louis tells me, ‘don’t steal someone’s blessing’.  That when I don’t accept someone’s help or gift, I could be robbing them of a blessing.  So, I pray the Lord pours out his blessings on all who have helped, visited, gave or will give and especially on those who have offered, but I was too prideful to receive!  Pour it out, Lord.

Although Louis would probably disagree, I think we both have problems with asking for help, but are more willing to receive it when offered. Why is it so hard for us to ask? For me, I guess this is still an issue of pride getting in the way.  A facade that it’s all good. I got it all under control.  When in fact, I don’t have it under control at all, and need the help of friends and family.

I need to keep this in mind when I give and help…or offer.  Some of my thoughts since I’ve been chillin’…How can I reach through or around other’s pride to reach real areas of need?  How can we assist people and still maintain their dignity?  How can I show my own vulnerability in a real and humble way?  How can I expose my needs and still feel OK about it?  What am I really worried about?  What keeps me from doing that?

Thanks again to everyone who has played a role in our care!  We love and appreciate you greatly!

Gratefully yours….Marti

ps.  I’m now off pain meds and about it get behind the wheel of my car!  YAY!

immersion…aka “a dunking”

As you know, Louis and I attended the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Institute’s Certification Training called Immersion, but some fondly referred to it as a “dunking” instead of an immersion.  We received so much great information in a week’s time.  In addition, we met a lot of great people from across the United States.  We had A LOT of reading to do for the class, but I only have 2 books left to read…and I brought a couple more home with me, too!  If you are interested in the list of books, check out my post 1276/27=47.259259.

Some of you have asked…What is CCDA and what is immersion?  Thot I would just share a little about it.  Taken from their website….

CCDA’s Mission


The mission of CCDA is to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.


Wholistically restored communities with Christians fully engaged in the process of transformation.

Statement of Faith

The Lord Jesus Christ, God’s son, redeems us through His death and resurrection and empowers us by the Holy Spirit. The Bible is God’s Word and through it we are called to live out justice, reconciliation, and redemption. The church nurtures God’s people gathered in a community to carry out God’s Word.


  • To strengthen existing Christian Community Development organizations.
  • To encourage new Christian Community Development efforts.
  • To promote Christian Community Development through regional training.
  • To educate and mobilize the body of Christ at large to become involved in Christian Community Development in their area.
  • To sustain, enable and inspire those

CCDA’s History

CCDA is so rich in history.  Founded by John Perkins and other like-minded leaders  in 1989, CCDA began with one purpose in mind…

expressing the love of Christ in America’s poor communities, not at arms length, but at the grassroots level.

CCDA’s Philosophy

CCDA’s philosophy is based on what are called the…

The Eight Components of Christian Community Development  Revised 11/07/2011.  CCDA has recently updated their website, and these links may not work.  You can learn more about the components at this link> CCDA Philosophy.

Click on the links above to read more, but I will take time to write on each of the Eight Components…some of what I learned and how I think we can apply this within our communities in our city.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what you read, from CCDA’s website and from my posts.  Louis and I have begun talking to CCDA about bringing the training here for weekend sessions…starting in the fall.  This is still in the development stages, but I would love to know if you or your church would be interested in participating in this training.  Initial thoughts would be to bring the “Three R’s” (Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution) first.  Let me hear from you!

Our lives have been changed…and yours will, too.


Follow-up to MissionSHIFT – Pt 1 ~ What WAS I thinkin’?

So…this is a follow-up from my post yesterday, MissionSHIFT – Pt 1 ~ What WAS I thinkin’?

In yesterday’s post, I was not apologizing for being simple-minded and intimidated, but I was just being real.  Ya’ know…there is something to be said for both…keepin’ it real and keepin’ it simple.  Most people can spot ‘fake’ a mile away, so I do my best to be real and sincere.  Some people pontificate (how’s THAT for a big word?!?!?) on their thoughts and beliefs; and I have been known to do that a bit!  But, I have also been told that my communication is often brief and simple.  Regardless, I was honored that my words were selected to be used in Ed’s follow-up blog post.  Too bad they weren’t all my words!  LOL  But, I am grateful for my dear friend and mentor, Don Coleman, who keeps it real, and simple, with me.

But, I would much rather hear your thoughts on the idea of Mission, especially after reading Ed’s thoughts on the results from yesterday’s discussion.


MissionSHIFT – Part 1 ~ What WAS I thinkin’???

A month or so ago, I (along with a few dozen others) agreed to participate in an online book discussion of MissionSHIFT: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium, a collection of essays edited by David J. Hesslegrave and Ed Stetzer.  After reading the introduction, written by Ed Stetzer, you will find 3 essays:

ESSAY 1: “Mission” Defined and Described”   Charles Van Engen

An essay where Van Engen writes on “Mission in the Past” followed by 4 responses by Keith E. Eitel, Enoch Wan, Darrell L Guder, and Andreas J Kostenberger.

ESSAY 2: The Gospel in Human Contexts:  Changing Perceptions of Contextualization”   Paul G. Heibert

An essay where Heibert writes on “Mission in the Present” followed by 4 responses by Micheal Pocock, Darrell L. Whiteman, Norman L. Geisler, and Avery T. Willis Jr

ESSAY 3: The Future of Evangelicals in Mission”  Ralph D. Winter

An essay where Winter writes on “Mission in the Future” followed by 4 responses by Christopher R. Little, Mike Barnett, and J. Mark Terry

Each essay and its responses is also followed by a response by Ed Stetzer; and the book concludes with Chapter 20 – “CONCLUSION:  A Scientific Postscript – Grist for the Missiological Mills of the Future” written by David J. Hesselgrave.

After receiving the book in the mail and reading the first part of it, I immediately asked myself….WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?  I MUST TRULY HAVE LOST MY MIND! I have absolutely nothing to say…and in no way can I “hang” with these intellectual thinkers and writers!  This type of reading and reflection is certainly for the “heady” types, like my husband, Louis (with his 2 masters and 1 doctoral degrees).  Admittedly, I was tempted to ask Louis to craft a response, but I refrained!  I am not too embarrassed to say that I am not a “deep thinker”, but am quite frankly pretty simple.  Therefore, my response will be somewhat simple as well.  No big multi-syllable word.  Just me being me, feeling somewhat insecure and intimidated about it, but fulfilling my commitment to join the discussion, none-the-less.

So, with that disclaimer behind me, I will now provide my thoughts after spending some time in prayer about what I read.

I will lead with a question.  Why is there soooo much talk and discussion about “mission” and being “missional” yet we aren’t talking about the doing? I could easily end there, but feel compelled to expand the thought a bit more.  I am what most would say “new” to the “missional movement” discussion after attending 2 conferences (Verge and Exponential) and reading countless books, articles and blogs on the topic of church/gospel planting and missional communities.  I don’t believe that on this side of heaven we will ever agree on the “right definition” of Mission or the “right way” of doing it because we are human.  Those who walked with Jesus and talked with him directly and got the Word from the horse’s mouth (no disrespect intended!!!) didn’t get it right.  What makes us think we will get it right?

When my husband and I first met 3+ years ago, he talked about “organic” church, “simple” church, “emergent” church, etc.  I’m like “What are you talking about???”  It truly sounded like a foreign language to me.  In some cases, I still think that.  We can get so caught up in language and verbiage that we miss the point entirely.  I can boil it down to 3 words.  Do.The.Bible.  (As taught to me by one of my mentors, Don Coleman.) Do what the Bible calls us to do.  Do what the Spirit leads me to do in the way the Spirit leads me to do it…which may be different than what He leads another to do.  Do it prayerfully.  Do it in accountability with others.  Do it as a way of life individually and as THE church, not A church.

You see…I guess I was already being “missional” before “missional” became cool.  I just didn’t call it that, neither did anyone I know.  It’s the way that I live.  It’s the way I roll.  It’s what I do…every day.  And, I don’t understand why we have to come up with a name for it or dissect it.  I am being Jesus to those I interact with.  For me, that meant moving into a high crime, low income area just a half-mile from the largest project between Philly and Atlanta.  This was not an intentional decision on my part…to move in, be incarnational, and serve the “least of these”.  But, it was through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Frankly, if I had known what God was calling me to do, I just might have fought against the move a bit harder.  For me, it was being in relationship with drug dealers, prostitutes, homeless, fatherless kids, single moms, and jobless while I was at home.  For me, it was being in relationship with the multi-millionaires with jobs, homes, spouses, kids, soccer games, etc. while at work.  Keeping my eyes and ears open for the “person of peace” I could share the love of Jesus…both at work and at home.  Don’t ruin it with titles, definitions, and explanations. On a side note…I’m trying to figure out what is next…due to job elimination, I faced the unemployment line starting 1.1.11.  So, I continue to follow the Spirit’s leading with people who I come in contact with.  Some…intentionally, after prayer.  Others…more by happenstance.  I call it obedience.  What would you call it?

So, I digress a little…back to the book and the discussion…

When Van Engen is asked about his definition of mission, on page 27 he writes…

I’ve been working on that for about 40 years now.  Thus far in my own search for a definition, I have arrived at the following tentative attempt: “God’s mission works primarily through Jesus Christ’s sending the people of God to intentionally cross barriers from church to nonchurch, faith to nonfaith, to proclaim by word and deed the coming of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ through the Church’s participation in God’s mission of reconciling people to God, to themselves, to one another and to the world and gathering them into the church, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit, with a view to the transformation of the world, as a sign of the coming of the kingdom in Jesus Christ.”

Now it’s your turn…

How would YOU define mission? Let me know your thoughts by commenting to this post.

For more thoughts on the topic, you can read some great stuff on Ed Stetzer’s Blog, specifically his 1.17.2011 post  Monday is for Missiology: Mission, Described and Defined: A Discussion around MissionSHIFT.  Be sure to read the comment section for others’ thoughts as well!


ComChap Youth Group ROCKS!

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This evening a group of middle and high school youth from Commonwealth Chapel took their Sunday evening to selflessly serve Southern Barton Heights by picking up trash around the community.  Rondell even jumped in to help; and neighbors came out to welcome and thank them!

In John 13, Jesus says…

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

These servant youth and their leaders were being the hands and feet of Jesus and will be blessed for their servant’s heart.  Louis and I appreciate their giving spirit, and we had fun getting to know them better!  Thanks again, ComChap Youth Group!!!

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3 Boats Sited in Southern Barton Heights

Ok.  After reading the last post “it’s a dangerous thing to let Jesus use your boat.” Bob Lupton, you may be wondering…what is my boat?  I don’t have a boat.  YES, you do!!!

Let me share with you a story that happened just this week that demonstrates Jesus using boats right before our eyes!  We have been praying for a computer that the kids and community could use.  Miss Marti’s Kids don’t always have access to a computer/internet to use for school projects, homework and research.  In addition, there isn’t readily available access to computer/internet to look for and apply for jobs.


This week, Michael Fletcher and his family used their “boat” called resources and willingly donated their family’s used Dell Laptop (following an upgrade to a new computer) to Miss Marti’s House!!!  I was THRILLED!  But, it came with a slight problem.  It wouldn’t charge.  Thanks be to God! And thanks to the Fletchers for being willing to let Jesus use their boat called Resources!


Well, those of you who know me…know that I am NOT very tech savvy.  I know how to use a computer just fine, but don’t ask me HOW or WHAT makes it work!  That…I have no clue.  Enter…Mario Garza, a new member to our Missional Community.  Mario and his brother Fernando took the computer home to see if they could diagnose the problem.  Mario contacted me today and let me know the solution was simple.  It needed a new power cord.  So, one has been ordered and upon arrival, Mario will not only ensure it is up and running, but is also going to scrub it and download fresh anti-virus protection (which will be MUCH needed!!!) and Windows XP, etc.  Thanks be to God and the Garzo’s for allowing Jesus to use their boats called Knowledge and Time!


So I ask again…What’s your boat called?  ALL of us have something to offer.  Are you using yours to bring glory to God?  Are you fishing for men?  To carry this analogy possibly too far…when we let Jesus use our boats…our nets are HEAVY with fish.  When we try to do it on our own…we bring in empty nets.  When we aren’t doing a thing…the boat’s just rottin’ at the dock and needs a little work.

If you don’t know what your “boat” is, I pray the Holy Spirit will be your lighthouse and guide you through the fog to safe landing at the feet of Jesus.  We often look for the “big mission” or “God’s will” for our lives.  Well, what about God’s will for today or this minute…this hour? God has a will for every moment of our life.  Are you in God’s will right now as you read this?  I dare say yes.  You were meant to read this at this very moment.  As we pray like Jesus taught us….Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  So, what will you do now?  Will you let Jesus use your boat to do His will on Earth?

What is your boat called?

You gotta *love* Bob Lupton (and Karen Wylie)!!!!

After reading my post today, a friend Karen sent me a link to Bob Lupton’s Website – FCS Urban Ministries.  His January newsletter, called Church-centric Missions (click for link to the newsletter) addresses my comments I struggled with earlier today.  He says them SOOO much better than I ever could!  Each month, Bob writes this newsletter called (taken from their website)…

Urban Perspectives

Urban Perspectives is a collection of monthly reflections about life and faith in the city. Robert Lupton, founder and president of FCS Urban Ministries, offers us personal glimpses and poignant stories of a journey he began more than 30 years ago when he responded to a call of God to live and serve among the urban poor.

If you are interested in learning more about responding and serving, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Thanks, Karen, for sending me that link!  I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.  Oh yeah…I DID try!  🙂


This is a post that I started yesterday.  Actually it was the 2nd half of yesterday’s post….which would have been WAY too long.  So…here it is now, as promised.

Shortly after attending the conference, I found myself reading Encounter God in the City by Randy White.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to discover the exceptional power of experiential discipleship and transformational experience.  Here are a few notes from my journal while reading this book…

  • I’m living intentionally in a high crime, high poverty neighborhood in the city.
  • Cities – not just an area to serve, but to grow my faith and discover a meaningful life where I can be transformed.
  • I will be a repairer of broken walls and restorer of streets with dwellings.
  • Making things the way they should be

IN people,

BETWEEN people, and

FOR people

Human beings dwelling in peace in all relationships with God, self, fellows and nature.

  • Holy Pestering of city bureaucracy

Psalm 82:3-4

2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.

I am reminded of the story in Luke 1:26-38 of when the God sent the angel Gabriel who appeared to Mary.  Gabriel said that the Lord was with her and that she was highly favored.  She asked a simple clarifying question.  After hearing the answer, Mary then responded, I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be so, Lord.

Now that I am reminded of all of this…what now?  Lord, as my job soon comes to an end…what do you want me to do?  This time, Lord…it’s not “Not me, Lord! I’m not ready!”  This time…it is “Here am I…your servant….may it be so!  Lord, may it be so.”

On a side note…The funeral for my colleague was wonderful and uplifting!  I also spent some time with my neighbor this evening. She’s in good shape…. considering.  Her hope and trust is in the Lord!  It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I understand there were plenty of witnesses.  Pray for justice!  Please keep both families in your prayers.

Do Whatever He Tells You

My Journals from the Last 5 Years

Just today I found my journal for 2007….here are some clips from it.  I’m glad I found it and had a chance to read it again.  It reminds me of God’s faithfulness and what he was stirring in my heart 3 years ago!!!  There’s definitely a theme of hearing and doing!  And bringing God glory.

12.31   James 1:22-25

  • When the Holy Spirit reveals something…ACT.  Do something about it.  Don’t walk away. Or you’ll forget.  Blessings come from listening and acting.

1.6       ComChap Church Service (don’t know the scripture reference)

  • Go out into the world…uncorrupted – a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.
  • Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.
  • May my life bring glory to God.  I want to be fresh air!!!
  • Church – end of service…read lambs among wolves…the windows being shot out of my old car.

The weekend of 1.19-20.2007 – Kay Arthur Conference at Thomas Road Baptist Church “Whatever He Says, Do It!”  My friend Grayson and her mom, Judy and I attended this conference, which was so full of good stuff.  This is just a few of my notes from it…

  • Guard Your Glory! Don’t exchange your Glory for idols.
  • Glory = honor, true unchanging essence of God
  • Whatever He says – DO IT!!! -> is bringing God glory
  • God, help me guard my glory.
  • John 17 -> Glorify God on earth, accomplish the work HE gives you to do.
  • Guard your Christlikeness!
  • Numbers 14:21 – may it begin now – with us guarding our glory

I don’t remember everything that was going on at this time, but these were the messages I was hearing from the Lord.  I started crying from almost the moment I walked through the door of that conference.  For the Lord was doing a real work in me….preparing me for something.  In addition, we studied the story of Jesus turning the water into wine in John 2 (paying close attention to vs. 4-5).

John 2 (NLT) (click to read the whole scripture)

4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Throughout the end of 2006 and early 2007, I do remember saying to Him….What do you want from me?  I’m not ready.  Not me!  It’s not my time!  (vs 4)  But it was clear that I was at this conference to hear “Do whatever he tells you.” (vs 5)  It was time to take a risk and do whatever He tells me to do…in spite of what others may think.

Within a week, Marcellous was in the hospital and KK was living with me!  Who woulda thought?