Far too often, modern day churches make it quite clear the things they’re against. To be fair, I personally don’t believe it’s their intention to be recognized as “the church that doesn’t…” whatever. A church’s stance against something usually gets the most “pub”, but what it’s actually for remains background noise at best.
This is one of the primary reasons we’re making it crystal clear at Perimeter Pointe that we’re for the Perimeter Center or For Perimeter. We believe God is For Perimeter.
Granted, this could feel like an obvious statement. Probably one of the most popular verses of Scripture is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” and given that the Perimeter Center of Atlanta is in the world, then obviously, God loves the people in that area, right? There’s no doubt about God’s love for the Perimeter area—however, when we consider God’s people expressing His love for the Perimeter, that’s something altogether different.
Let’s just consider the Perimeter Center. Mostly known for being a high commercial area, it is more residential than one might think. In fact, 60% of the area is located in the city of Sandy Springs, which happens to be the second largest city in Atlanta metro and the sixth largest city the state of Georgia. The most dense and diverse (racially, socio-economically, generationally) area of Sandy Springs is along a five-mile stretch off Roswell road (between Abernathy Rd and the Chattahoochee River). Over a third of Sandy Springs call this area home, my family included.
Aside from it being home for the Dulas, there are two additional stats that grab my heart about this area. Eighty-four percent of the people who live along this five-mile stretch don’t attend any religious functions weekly, and 66% percent are not members of a church or religious organization. Before you just dismiss those numbers, I want you to think about the implications. We’re potentially talking about entire communities either not attending any religious functions, nor being members of a church. These are communities with children, parents, seniors—people, of different races and socio-economic levels. And, each one of these individuals (every last one of them) is a person for whom Jesus died.
Here’s what I’m against! I’m against the church (not a church, but The Church) being in an area with felt-needs right under their noses and for reasons unbeknownst to me, refusing to engage. That type of passivity is the very reason one community leader said to me when she learned we were planting a church in the area, “I’m tired of churches taking up real estate and doing nothing in the community.” Honestly, I was in such agreement I wanted to kiss her—instead I gave her a fist-bump and initiated a partnership between the organization she oversees and Perimeter Pointe!
A partnership already? Isn’t Perimeter Pointe a young church plant? Absolutely, we’re young and as I often tell people, “our church is so young, we need pats on the back just to burp!” However, our age doesn’t give us the right to not engage. If anything, our youth helps to underscore authenticity with our efforts.
Besides, if people are not attending a weekly Sunday service, we’re not going to just sit around in a circle holding hands, praying that they’ll start attending. That’s definitely not what Paul was thinking in his letter to the Romans. He expected for them to engage: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)
And, we believe that we’ve been sent. Perimeter Pointe doesn’t exist to be the next big church or the next cool church. We exist to be the church in the Perimeter Center area of Atlanta pointing people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We exist to be For Perimeter!
Lead Pastor, Perimeter Pointe