IBC’s Moon Shot

By Ryan Sanders

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stood before a joint session of Congress at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. and proclaimed that, before the end of that decade, an American would land on the moon and return safely to earth. It was a gutsy move. NASA was less than three years old. No American had yet made a complete orbit of our planet. We were behind Russia in the space race and we weren’t really sure how to catch them; we didn’t know what we didn’t know. I’m always shocked when I watch historic footage or movies about the Apollo missions and see the world’s leading applied mathematicians using slide rules. Not only did we build rocket ships without computers, we went to the moon with slide rules!  

For the past several months, the pastors, staff and elders of our church have been praying and discussing the direction of the Holy Spirit in regard to our future. In one of the early meetings about that topic, one IBCer made this observation. He said, “It feels like there’s no moon shot.” 

Well, now there is.  

Yesterday, Andy McQuitty stood on the stage at Irving Bible Church and announced that, by the end of 2021, God will transform our hearts and transform our city. We want DFW to be different — more like the kingdom of heaven — because of a gospel movement of rescue and renewal, sparked by the transformed people at IBC. That’s a gutsy vision. Like Kennedy’s America, we don’t know what we don’t know. We aren’t sure how this is going to work. We’re going to need help. We’ll have to try new things. We’ll likely fail along the way. And we may have to go for this goal without all the tools we would like to have (slide rules!)  

You can bet that on May 26, 1961, there were scientists in Houston thinking “This is crazy! I hope we can pull this off!” That’s a little how we feel now on September 12, 2016. We don’t know what parts of DFW God will start with.  

  • Will we partner with the nonprofit sector in new ways to care for the needy?  
  • Will SchoolWorks overwhelm inner-city schools with a passion for helping kids overcome disadvantages?   
  • Will a Home Group lead the way in promoting safer, more interconnected neighborhoods?  
  • Will our efforts at multiplication create an army of strong, reliable, Spirit-empowered leaders to serve other churches and ministries across our city?  
  • Will we mimic the hospitality of our first-century ancestors by receiving the refugee, the fatherless and the window into our homes?  

These, like the Lunar Module on the day of Kennedy’s speech, are expressions of our vision that do not yet exist. We don’t know how God will change our hearts, nor how our hearts will change our city. We only know that, starting today, we’re going to the moon.  

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong stepped from the Lunar Module’s ladder onto the moon’s surface. America — and the world — rejoiced. Our nation had achieved what most of human history could never dream. (And we did it with slide rules!) 

There may be a day, a decade or two from now, when a generation of IBCers looks back on September 11, 2016 and says, “How did they do that with the budget and manpower they had? What made them think they could change an entire city?”  

The answer to that question is where our story departs from NASA’s. Kennedy was relying on the best scientific minds on Earth. We’re relying on the one who created Earth. And for that reason, our vision, though just as ambitious, is more assured than NASA’s.  

IBC, this is our moon shot. Buckle up.   

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