By Daryl Reed
I serve as lead minister of DC Regional Christian Church in metropolitan Washington. Our church was reorganized and relaunched as a congregation in 2003. For the past five years or so, our young congregation has been encouraged by new connections we’ve made with new ministry friends, especially our friendship with Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, Maryland.
I have a rich history within the Restoration Movement. I consider myself blessed to have been raised in the mainline a cappella churches of Christ in Wisconsin. My grandparents on both sides and my parents are longtime church of Christ members in Milwaukee.
Through the influence of my family and church, I responded to Jesus’ call as a young teen. My paternal grandfather baptized me in 1975; it was his example of humble service in God’s kingdom that inspired me to want to become a preacher.
I was equally inspired by my grandmother. It was in her inner-city home the first predominantly African-American church of Christ congregation in Wisconsin began—in 1950. That congregation spawned several other churches of Christ in Milwaukee. My grandparents have always been an upward call to me in faith and ministry.
An Unusual Path
I took an unusual path in becoming a preacher. I didn’t attend a seminary or go to a Christian college for Bible training. Instead I attended Western Illinois University on an athletic scholarship to play basketball.
During my college years I began to experience different types of churches of Christ. When I went off to school, the only church of Christ I was aware of in town was a small, all-white, and very rural a cappella church of Christ. Although I was very different than the average member—being a young African-American from the city—the members of the church welcomed me with open arms. In time God used that church to help change my life.
The minister took a special interest in me and asked me to start an evangelistic student outreach ministry in my dorm room. The small group grew to become a thriving student ministry. I eventually became its campus minister, and I’ve been ministering in similar evangelistic discipling churches of Christ since then.
A Changing Perspective
Through the years my perspective has changed regarding worship. I’ve come to no longer believe the use of instruments in worship is a matter of “doctrine” but simply an issue of a congregation’s preference. Therefore, it should never be used as a test for fellowship. In time, my new perspective made me curious and eager to meet and connect with other Restoration Movement Christians—those in the conservative independent Christian churches.
After hearing great reports about the 2006 North American Christian Convention—the one that encouraged a greater fellowship between the independent Christian churches/churches of Christ and the a cappella churches of Christ—I became increasingly eager to attend a convention myself. So the ministry staff in our church made plans to attend in 2008.
The NACC in Cincinnati, Ohio, that year had “Living Dangerously” as its theme. The messages were very encouraging, challenging, and practical. During the convention we met several ministers and convention organizers. It was great to finally connect. We were extremely blessed.
So the next year we went to the NACC in Louisville, Kentucky; its theme was “Still Amazed.” Once again, the sermons and classes were life-changing. Our staff left inspired and motivated by God’s grace to make a greater difference in the lives of those we’ve been entrusted to lead.
When we attended our first NACC, we did notice a lack of racial diversity among the attendees. But for us, it was, and still is, absolutely worth attending! As a matter of fact, the relatively sparse number of African-Americans in attendance only motivated us to want to get more connected. From my numerous conversations with pastors and ministers who attend the NACC, I’m encouraged to hear and see many leaders expressing a sincere desire to solve this problem. I am grateful to be friends with folks who are making every effort to follow Jesus.
For the 2010 NACC, we look forward to attending “Beyond” in Indianapolis, Indiana. This time I will not just bring our ministry staff, but I am inspired to bring other first-timers as well.
Daryl Reed is lead minister with DC Regional Christian Church in metropolitan Washington, D.C.