The Listening Tour

by Rev. Eric Folkerth


Thank you for the generous and gracious welcome to Kessler Park this past Sunday. It felt like a good start to our connection together, and I was grateful for your kind feedback afterwards.

If you haven’t already heard the word, Wes and Leah’s passports did finally arrive to them this week. If all goes according to plan, by the time many of you read these words, they will finally be on their way to South Africa. Please be in prayer for them the next few days…for safe traveling mercies, and for a good start to their new life there.

Several of you have commented on a phrase I’ve been using the past few weeks. It was also in my sermon on Sunday. I’ve suggested a possible future for Kessler Park as ‘The cool, hip church in Dallas’ cool, hip neighborhood.’

As I told you on Sunday, coming to Kessler Park feels like it gives me an exciting opportunity to experience something new. I’ve lived in a mostly “progressive” neighborhood, I’ve been pastor at a “progressive” church. But Kessler has BOTH. Our basic theology seems to “fit” the basic social ethos of our neighborhood, and of the many people who are moving here.

All the new folks moving to North Oak Cliff present us with a unique —perhaps once in a generation— chance to welcome large numbers of new people to our church. We should seize that moment.

So, the question is: “What would it be to be the cool, hip church in Dallas’ cool, hip neighborhood?”

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you’ll find information about some “Listening Tour” dates coming up in the next few weeks. These are informal gatherings in member’s homes where I want to hear from you. My job at these gatherings will be to listen…to hear you talk about your church and your hopes and dreams for it.

— What do you love about your church?

— What do you wish we could do additionally that we’re not doing now?

— What breaks your heart about the world?

That third question is intended to get at: What needs changing around us? What are we called to help reconcile, make new, and heal?

These are the kinds of big questions that we’ll talk about during the “listening tour.” It will help me understand you all better, and also help us begin to have a conversation about our future together.

Finally, it’s reasonable to expect that during the next few weeks (maybe even months) we will have visitors in worship who come to “check us out.” Some may just be coming to check ME out. Others may use this pastoral change as a chance to come visit…maybe they’ve been thinking about it and now have an excuse to stop in.

All this is to say: Be on the lookout for visitors and guests. I hope we can all be gracious and welcoming friends to those who are seeking us out. We might even get a few new members out of it!

See you all on Sunday.