Weekly Update

Good All the Time

Being in close contact with so many of you nearly all the time, I’m in the enviable position of witnessing goodness happen: graduations, acceptance into doctoral programs, new jobs and relationships, new homes. And then I’m also witness to struggles and sorrow: protracted illnesses and loss—as we experienced this week with Bill Hall’s passing—dashed hopes, deferred dreams, unpleasant disappointments. These are the moments when “God’s goodness” feels like an oxymoron. The Psalmist captured this emotion when writing, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13-14). This coming Sunday we’re going to meditate about this together. What does that text say to you? How have you seen it play out in your own life? Please record a short video with your thoughts and upload it below. We are grateful for each of you and how your voice is what enables Gather to sing!

A New Season

Greetings Gatherers!

Earlier this week I got a text from Angel. “Hey PT (for ‘Pastor Tim’). Just talked to Marcella about the Goodness of God and wondered if you might want to use that as a theme for April. I would be willing to pull things together.” We experienced something very similar last Thursday, when Tony Perez, following his own heart, led our conversation around sacrifice, sharing his wide-ranging knowledge of indigenous peoples and practices.

This is exactly what we want Gather to become—

a collective effort that celebrates the faith and creativity of everyone,

according their gifts and talents. 

I jumped at the chance to do a little brainstorming with Angel and we’re fired up about where April’s Gather YouTube (4/28) is being guided. BUT WE WANT/NEED EVERYONE’S PARTICIPATION TO MAKE IT WORK. (Yes, that means you.)

The April Theme

The Goodness of God is a perfect theme for April. It is, in every way, a SPRING theme, a way of allowing confidence in divine goodness and love to break through the cold ground of our hardest challenges and sprout into full blossom right before our eyes. The psalmist struck this chord perfectly in rhapsodic King James English:

“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness

of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13)

The same spirit radiates from CeCe Winan’s brilliant recording “The Goodness of God”—the song that got this whole conversation started.

The April Collaboration/Ask

We want EVERYONE (yes, including you) to think about Psalm 27:13 and listen to/watch the CeCe recording a few times. How are they speaking to your spirit? What do they reveal? Once you’ve spent some time listening, thinking, meditating, STEP OUTSIDE INTO THE SPRING AIR and tell us what you’re hearing in a short video. (Two, three sentences are good.) As soon as you’ve got something you’re pleased with, click below to upload your contribution no later than April 24.

Because we come from so many places and life-ways, we need to hear from you and you and you! Don’t overthink it. Listen to your heart. It will tell you what to say. And we look forward to hearing what you’ve discovered, from your yard or porch or a nearby park where spring is bringing new life to the world!

Divine goodness and spring—it truly is a match made in heaven!



Breaking Through Barriers

One of scriptures’ most famous resurrection treatises shows up in 1 Corinthians 15. People there—definitely curious, perhaps a little cynical, maybe burned by earlier religious pursuits—want to get their heads around how this back-from-the-dead thing works. Since it’s Christianity’s pivotal differentiator, Paul rises to the occasion and then some. Struggling to explain the inexplicable, he finally reaches for Isaiah: “He will swallow up death forever. The LORD God will wipe tears from every face; he will remove his people’s disgrace from off the whole earth” (Isaiah 25:8).

“Death” is a big idea in Isaiah—not just the end of life, but also the removal of the violent punishment and liberation from the place of death. Death is swallowed up in victory! Paul rejoices. That’s  the essence of Easter—calling us out of the shadows of fear and shame, summoning us from dead places, empowering us to break through barriers that have entombed us in unhealthy ideas and beliefs. As Pat Carson leads us with a powerfully inspired word, today Gather celebrates resurrection as Coming Out Day for All. Join us on GTV (our new YouTube moniker) for a house-based festival of breakthrough possibilities. Make sure you’ve got space nearby for dancing! 5pm CDT.

You Talking to Me?

A mystifying, rarely acknowledged moment happens around the table during Jesus’s Last Supper. He says one of his followers will out him to authorities and bring about his death. We assume is all eyes turn to Judas. But that’s not how it goes. Everyone asks, “You talking to me?” (“Is it I?” Mark 14:19.) As we continue through Lent, we’re looking behind their response to better understand who’s at the table. What personal passions and inner struggles prompt them to question their own loyalty? Last Sunday, we looked at Mary Magdalene and James and John (a.k.a. the Thunder Boys), asking how do past experiences and privilege create self-doubt. You can click below to catch that discussion. This coming Sunday Pastor Terence Mayo will meet us on YouTube as we ask, “What’s up with Peter?” We don’t have to look far to see a whole lot of ourselves in these folks! This is a very rich discussion. You want to get all of it you can!

The Way of the Wilderness

Dear Gatherers,


The suddenness of Ash Friday always takes me by surprise. The Christmas themes have barely left the air and here we are, thinking about how we will practice a period of self-reflection and spiritual discipline as we prepare ourselves for Holy Week’s grim recollections and Easter’s rejoicing.


Our ancestors in the Black and Pentecostal church had a word for this. They called it “going through:” finding oneself in a demanding place of uncertainty and discomfort, then mustering all the strength and determination you can summon to make it through. On the other side, there was always jubilee as they sang, “How did you feel when you came out the wilderness?”


Although not everyone at Gather may be familiar with the vernacular, I’m sure we all know the feeling. Lent, then, becomes a kind of intentional going-through so that we can relish the joy of coming out (again!). This season, we’re opening ourselves to some new ways of thinking and practicing our faith during Lent—starting with Sunday’s special look at faith ancestors in story and Word (preached by our own Rachael Pierce). If you’ve got an anecdote about one of your faith ancestors—a grandparent, a church member, a nun, a pastor—who taught you how to go through and come out, bring it! Pastor D’Angelo Smith will lead us in a sacred time of storytelling as we take our early steps into the desert.


Also, I’ll host a special Ash Wednesday tabletop gathering at our place on tomorrow evening. If you’d like to attend, please let him know no later than this evening (Tuesday), by emailing your RSVP to


Blessings for a wonderful and lifegiving journey!

Pastor Tim

Get On Your Feet

Praise in the Dance!

As we continue our ongoing innovations with gathering, we’re leaning into something we’ve talked about for a long, long time. This Sunday, Gather is going to dance! Russoul and Angel-A will be bringing us their very best house and gospel mixes. I’ll have a special word to share. Pastor K will be offering Communion at will—come to the table when you’re ready. And everyone (that’s you) will bring a dish or treat to share in our first big potluck of 2024.

This is your opportunity to invite folks who may not be ready to sit in a traditional service. It’s also a chance to get your own groove on. If you don’t dance, that’s okay. It’s a party—like those dinners Jesus went to when he wasn’t arguing with the “sanctified” crowd. See you this Sunday. We start at 5pm CST.

Pastor Tim

Potluck Theme: Signature Dish – what do you make or enjoy that expresses you? Bring that!

Opportunities at Gather

Part of Gather’s 2024 Year of Radical Vision is staying open to new ways of doing—not for novelty’s sake but to be spiritually led into open spaces and greener pastures. The big clue about how this happens comes from the Gospels and Acts, where the first Christians were remarkably flexible. Sometimes church happened around a table. Sometimes on a hillside. Sometimes there were three people. Other times five thousand showed up. The experience changed but the vision remained constant: living into the “and” of God’s will… making space for more… consistently curious… unafraid of abundance.


This Sunday’s YouTube will be another fresh fresh—a roundtable gathering hosted and led by our own worship leader Angela Tarrant. It will be recorded in real-time in her home, with stirring conversation and anointed music and, of course, breaking sacred bread. You’re invited to be her virtual guests this Sunday at 5pm CST on our YouTube channel. I’ve already RSVP’d “Yes!” to the invitation. I hope you’ll be there too!



Pastor Tim

Our Stories Matter

Can anything good come out of…? – John 1:46


Dear Gatherers,


Bradley Cooper’s Maestro landed with great fanfare on Netflix just before the New Year. The film’s merits and flaws will be debated for years to come, as expected since Cooper’s subject was the charismatic conductor, composer, and pop culture icon Leonard Bernstein.


As I watched the Maestro—awestruck at times, frustrated at others—its theme was inescapable. Lenny was just too big for labels. His life was too messy for a saint, yet his spirit was too pure to call him a sinner. He dominated every space he occupied—whether a concert hall or backroom bar—yet he was remarkably human.


This Sunday we’re launching “Human Lives as Sacred Text,” a series of occasional conversations about people whose gifts and challenges disrupt norms and defy nature. What can we gather from Bernstein’s experience in a world much more like ours than those we find in biblical texts? How does his story resonate with those ancient texts? These are the first questions that will guide our exploration of a life that, in the end, is every bit as human as Jesus of Nazareth and us. See you online this Sunday at 5pm CST!


Peace and blessings,

Pastor Tim


The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.” – Mark 8:24


Dear Gatherers,


Clarity takes time. We see this in the story of the blind man who needs two turns to gain his sight. The process is very telling. First, Jesus leads him out of his village and the sensory comforts he relies on. Then Jesus spits on his eyes—yes, that’s right—and lays hands on him. But apparently he needs something more. All he sees are tall people walking around. Then Jesus touches his eyes and he sees.


Gather is going into 2024 much like the man in the story. We’ve been led away from our comfort zones. We’ve experienced the life of Christ and God’s hand on our lives. But we’re still not seeing or hearing clearly. We need God to touch our eyes so we can see more clearly. Our theme for this year is “Radical Vision” as we develop sharper sensory skills to see where God is leading and hear what God is saying. That will require attentive prayer and prayerful intention.


As lead pastor, I want to be fully transparent: 2024 is the make-or-break year for us. Presently we are not sustainable without generous outside support. We’re not being as consistent and reliable as we must be to move ahead wit clarity. This Sunday Pastor K is going to lead us to consider our listening skills in a powerful message drawn from Jesus’s own baptism. In the weeks to come, we’re going to keep asking, “How can we perceive God’s plan for Gather more clearly?”


It’s going to be an amazing adventure. But we’ll need our senses sharpened to trace the path we’re taking—all of us listening and seeing and responding with profound spiritual precision. We can do this. Of that I’m certain.


With blessings and much love,

Pastor Tim

Forward Facing

Don’t remember the prior things; don’t ponder ancient history. Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? – Isaiah 43:18-19

Dear Gatherers,

Every New Year is a turning-time to look back and ahead. Having just spoken comfort to a people fighting their way back from unimaginable loss, the prophet Isaiah encourages them to face forward. Forget the past. Focus on the future. That’s a huge request for folks whose defining experiences have been triggered by captivity, chaos, and injustice. Yet the prophet hears God’s voice loud and clear. Don’t obsess over what you’ve been through. See what’s happening now. Something new—something radical—is growing out of the rubble and ashes of your loss. Don’t you recognize it?

Sometimes we don’t recognize what God is doing. Sometimes the struggles of our past has placed callouses on our vision that blind us to what our Maker is up to. We need radical vision for that—the ability to see past our pain… to imagine what we can’t yet perceive… to believe what we don’t understand. Radical Vision is Gather’s rallying cry in 2024. God is growing something new and extraordinary out of our rubble. Can we recognize it?

Blessings for a revelatory year of newness, Gather!

Much love,
Pastor Tim