By Bishop Philip Jones

I had read Tim Keller’s book Center Church before, probably sometime soon after it was published in 2012. But last summer, during my sabbatical, I was drawn to it again, in a deeper and stronger way than the first time.

This time, as I started making notes, I had a much different viewpoint. As most of you know, the eight-year-old church plant here, All Saints, is moving to a new building in downtown Dallas. We purchased the property after looking at many, many possible locations all over the greater Dallas area. We weren’t out to make a statement or be trendy. The property just fit us, our budget and our congregation. By God’s grace and leading, our people faithfully came forward with everything we needed, and we bought it: an old, early 1900s car dealership warehouse on a lonely little property surrounded by empty parking lots.

Then things started happening. I knew God’s Spirit was moving among our people. He was bringing about so many circumstances. But it really did not strike me what He was doing until someone said, with a note of irony in their voice, “You are moving your church downtown?”

It’s the same kind of voice I hear sometimes from those who don’t quite get the Anglican Mission.

“You are a mission society?” “A society of missionaries, without dioceses?” It does go a bit against the grain, but one thing we have known from the beginning: The old ways are not working. As one of our founding bishops, +John Rodgers, has said, the Anglican Mission in America is “stripped down for mission, and not wearing Saul’s armor!” We cannot fight the battles of 2019 and beyond with the tools we have used in the past. We must seek and ask for new ways, new tools. The missionaries of the first centuries sought and were given new tools as well, to spread the gospel, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, into the dark places in the world.

In Center Church, and other tools, I found inspiration and strength for the road ahead, for All Saints Dallas and for the Anglican Mission in America. When Keller wrote about the middle space between doctrine and practice, “the space where we reflect deeply on our theology and our culture to understand how both of them can shape our ministry” (page 17), I saw a tangible way to describe, explain and clarify our mission, who we are and what we are about in the AMiA. A theological vision. A vision of “how to bring the gospel to bear on the particular” cultures we find in each of our communities, the diversity and rawness of those dark places. What is our foundation? How do we do mission? Keller suggests that once this vision is in place, our leaders are led to make right choices in worshipping, discipling and serving the mission field where God has planted them for this season.

So, to give us a new tool, to solidify our way forward, I asked a team of our leaders, “What does three-stream, liturgical, Anglican worship look like in 2019? And why is this worship attracting so many people from other denominations and so many with no church backgrounds? What is comfortable? What is working? How can we best serve those God is bringing in our doors—the old and the new?

Welcome to the Anglican Mission in America Theological Vision. I am excited not only about the words in this document, but also the actions this document compels us to take.

I invite you to read it on our AMiA website, and I believe you will see that we are continuing in the vision of +Chuck and +John in 2000 and equipping ourselves with new tools, new armor, for 2019, 2020 and forward.

God bless you.

On Mission in Christ,

+Philip