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Trail Notes

Chapter 2

by Jim Johnson

Here’s a short story from the past that might help guide your future. It’s been almost three years since the Johnsons headed west on I-20 out of Atlanta, picked up the Basdens in Birmingham, and drove out to Frisco to do a little spiritual reconnaissance. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving 2001 and we spent a couple of days driving around, dreaming a bit, and getting to know some of the locals.

We had been talking about starting a church in this area for several months and this little trip was the culmination of a lot of research, thought, and prayer. On the way back I had an increasing sense that decision time was getting pretty close. We pulled over for lunch at a Schlotskys in Pearl, Mississippi. I think I had a regular sized original with Salt and Vinegar chips and a diet coke. I can’t really remember what everyone else had, but Paul could tell you—he’s still got the receipts in his wallet.

As our conversation focused on all that we had seen and experienced I got the nudge from the Spirit and knew it was time to pull a William Barrett Travis and draw a line in the sand to see who was in or out. (Remember the Alamo?) Seeing as how there wasn’t any sand on the table, I just did the next best thing and put my fist on top of the napkin dispenser and popped the question: “Who’s in?” One by one, Paul, Denise, and Robin stacked their closed fists on top of mine—and Preston Trail Community Church was conceived.

The decision the four of us made that day changed our lives. We had to go back to Birmingham and Atlanta, resign our churches, put our houses on the market, and say good-bye to treasured friends and stable salaries. In essence we were “giving our lives” to move to Frisco to help the people in this area find and follow Jesus Christ. I won’t sugar-coat it. Our decision cost us some things. But the blessing and joy of seeing God change people’s lives through Preston Trail makes our sacrifices seem small potatoes by comparison.

Nice story Dr. J, but what’s this have to do with me?” You ask. A lot, really. Some of you have “unofficially” placed your hand on top of ours on the old napkin dispenser. You are already giving your lives to help people find and follow Jesus Christ. (I hope that your lives are fuller and richer, as well, for having invested in God’s purpose through Preston Trail). Others of you are in the spiritual reconnaissance phase and are still checking us out. But, like me, you are sensing that decision time is drawing closer and it’s about time for you to join up, too. Well, that’s why we are about to roll out our membership process at Preston Trail. We want to make your partnership with us “official” and provide a means for encouraging your continued spiritual growth as well as that of the church’s.

This Wednesday evening at CHAPTER TWO, you’ll get a chance to hear in great detail how this process will work and how you can officially declare that you are “in” on the mission and vision of Preston Trail Community Church. We will begin at 7:00 in Theater 7 at Stonebriar Centre’s AMC Theater, with childcare being provided for birth through 5th grade at a nominal cost of $2 per child. It will be an informative and challenging opportunity, including a time of musical worship and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Join us as we take the next step in our church’s journey!

A glad member of the order of napkin dispensers!

Jim