The mission remains the same.

Rajendra Pillai / Sept 19, 2021

The mission remains the same.

After months of prayer, fasting, hours of discussion, the elders and trustees unanimously agree that our vision, mission, and core values remain unchanged, while our strategies, ministry methods, and tactics must endlessly adapt to a changing world.

To this end, we have decided to not go ahead with the building as originally planned. As we continued to seek God’s leading, we concluded that taking on a huge debt to build a bigger facility which would be used optimally only for a few hours each week was not the best use of our resources nor how God would have us best serve our community, especially since large in-person gatherings may not be the biggest growth opportunity. We continue to seek God’s desires for DRCC and began to reimagine our campus in ways that draw the community in seven days a week. We are dreaming of ways we can move the church out more into the community. And we have are looking at ways we can invest in our current facility to make it even more useful for the work of the Lord, while also looking at options for space in other locations that could expand our kingdom reach. Our All In will prioritize these three key areas:

1) Drawing the community onto our campus,
2) Bringing the church to the community, and
3) Investing in the existing facility.

We are on the start of this re-imagining journey with our Lord but I can tell you a few things upfront.

1. Children and youth will remain a top priority for any plan moving forward and our Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry teams are excited and fully engaged with any future development plan. We are exploring several avenues that would help us achieve this effectively, including the possibility of additional classroom space.
2. I am truly proud of our staff. Our staff are eagerly involved and invested in this and will continue to work to provide multiple options for corporate worship – indoor, outdoor, and online engagement and they are working hard to bring excellence in everything we do. We will continue to be a place where all are truly welcome. We will continue to explore ways to minister to our Spanish speaking congregants, the special needs community and offer sign language options as well.
3. We will continue to champion serving the greater Mount Airy, New Market, and Frederick community. In an era of divisiveness, our greatest witness is service to the community. You can argue with ideology, and even theology, you cannot argue with love in action.
4. Compounding traumas has led to a spike in mental health issues. I think this is going to be a major issue for church ministry. Our congregational care team is working to ensure we minister to the many who are anxious and worried, which could be any one of us on any given day.
5. Our vision continues to include a second campus where people can gather closer to their neighborhoods while at the same time heightening the teaching and practice of neighboring.
6. We will continue to innovate in the ways that we gather, fellowship, grow, and serve, such as digital engagement and launching micro-sites (which are neighborhood-based venues to gather, watch services, build relationships, and experience community in a smaller setting). And I am excited that the first of our micro-sites will go live next month.
7. There is a lot of excitement for visioning better usage of this land our Lord has given us and we will explore every idea and option in the months ahead.

For those of you that have been here since the early days, you know we’ve been here before. Fifteen years ago, we thought we were going to build our church on a land in Laytonsville. But our leaders wisely led us to build here as a majority of our congregation was located in this area.

On behalf of our DRCC staff and leadership, I want to thank each of you for your faithfulness in giving. Our goal was to raise $11.5 million during our All In journey. We reached 99% of our goal. As was planned, out of the $11.5 million raised, over $6 million was spent supporting ministry and operating expenses over the past two fiscal years. This included a large investment into local and global outreach. The remaining $4 million was designated for the new building and parking lot. As you know, we have already done some expansion for parking.

I want to assure you that the money given for All In is a sacred trust that each of us takes very seriously. We commit to using the remaining funds to fulfill God’s will and the vision and mission of our church.
Although we determined that now is not the right time to build an 800 seat auditorium as the tool for reaching this region, our decision is very recent, so we have not yet been able to complete new plans for next steps. However, we do have a timeline for developing those next steps.

We have assembled a Planning Team to work closely with a very experienced consultant - under the oversight of our elders and trustees - and following the three guiding principles of: drawing the community to our campus, bringing the church into the community, and investing in our existing facility. There will be regular updates from our team so you can monitor our progress.

The timeline looks like this:

By November, our team will prepare a proposal that considers our physical and ministry needs (including children and youth), our dreams of being a campus the community comes to, and a church that is actively engaged in our community.

By December/January 2021, our team will present a draft proposal to our elders and trustees.

By Spring 2022, we will start implementing the proposed plan.

Again, you will be able monitor our progress through regular updates, ask questions, and get feedback along the way.

On behalf of all of us, I’d like to give special thanks to our Development Team - lead by Matt Holbrook and Craig Mason. They have invested so much time and given us so much excellent guidance and advice along the way. And thankfully they have agreed to continue to guide our process and our implementation moving forward.

You will find the updates we promised at damascus.com/allin. If you would like to set up another time to speak with any of us, please email us at damascus@damascus.com.
I am very excited to take these next steps together and hope you are too!