Q&A with Jon Edmonds on Movement Day Greater Dallas
As Executive Director of Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD), Jon Edmonds and his team seek to catalyze Christian leaders in order to impact the Greater Dallas area with the Gospel. MDGD is focused on accelerating the influence of Christian leadership, not only in the Dallas area, but in influential cities globally for the purpose of addressing the spiritual and social issues facing marginalized people living in the major urban centers of the world.
Why A Gospel Movement in Dallas?
Greater Dallas is a globally significant city that is a leader in energy production and communications and a magnet to internationals from around the world. It is also home to a great community of effective churches, mission agencies, and Christian marketplace talent.
Greater Dallas is also a city with an enormous spiritual and social divide:
• Nearly 90% of DISD graduates can’t start college without some form of remedial education in core subjects (Dallas Morning News).
• 97% of children in South Dallas live in single parent homes.
• Less than 10% of the student population is involved in religious life (chaplain office, SMU).
• The number of North Texans seeking help from food pantries or soup kitchens each week has risen 80% since 2006, to 64,600 a week. Nearly half are children. In fact, 20% of Dallas children live with “food insecurity.”
• 44% of the residents in DFW are first or second generation immigrants and the number continues to grow. More than 239 languages are spoken in the city.
• The Dallas Crime Index indicates that Dallas is in the fourth percentile for safety; 94% of America’s cities are safer than Dallas. 223 crimes are committed in Dallas per square mile. The national average is 39.20.
• The Metroplex now has the nation’s third greatest disparity between rich and poor of any American city, according to a new analysis from the Pew Research Center.
Why Movement Day Greater Dallas (MDGD)?
The posture of MDGD is to celebrate and accelerate what God is already doing in Dallas. There is a unique dynamic that is unleashed when the body of Christ physically comes together and hears a word from God about their city.
The vision is to see “City Transformation through Christian Communities Working Together”. It takes a movement to change a city. Given the racial, socio-economic, and religious diversity of Greater Dallas, it is urgent to bring a critical mass of the Dallas Christian community together to have visible unity, hear the same research, and to co-create and further best practices that will impact the city.
What will happen at Movement Day Greater Dallas?
MDGD is comprised of two parts. Speakers begin by casting vision for what a transformed city can look like and what a gospel movement can do in Dallas. The second part is a series of interactive tracks that focus on specific areas of need and provide an opportunity for leaders from diverse churches and agencies to collaborate regarding best practices and the development of a five year strategy designed to achieve measurable impact in those areas. Topics range from education, hunger, and immigrant care to any number of issues impacting the city.
Can you illustrate the potential impact of MDGD?
In South Dallas, where 97% of the children are living in single parent homes, one church has hired three staff members to lead a mentoring program for 500 young people. Through MDGD, a vision could be cast to nine other churches to do the same thing, resulting in 5000 children mentored and transformed spiritually.
This can done with each initiative – church planting, church-school partnerships to improve literacy, hunger relief efforts – all to reach a measurable result over the next five to ten years and transform individuals with the Gospel.
Why partner with New York City?
New York City is considered to be the most globally influential city in the world. Since 2012, more than 360 cities from around the world have come to New York City for Movement Day. Led by Mac Pier of The New York City Leadership Center and Tim Keller of Redeemer City to City, fifty years of intellectual property and experience are being invested in Dallas to bring this model of collaboration for ministry and marketplace leaders to our city with the hope of producing innovative initiatives that best meet the needs of Dallas. Co-investing in each other’s movements will create a model that can spread to other cities globally.
Why invest in MDGD?
The core vision of MDGD is to bring about measurable impact through spiritual transformation in Dallas. Over the next five to ten years, leaders will create exponential impact by identifying best practices that can be duplicated throughout the region. Unity in the Church matters to Jesus. Unity in the Church will yield a greater city transformation than what has been achieved to this point. The NYC model has produced remarkable results. Research conducted in 2009 verified that a unified prayer initiative (Concerts of Prayer Greater New York led by Mac Pier) and a simultaneous church planting effort (Redeemer City to City led by Tim Keller) had resulted in a 300% growth of evangelical Christianity in Manhattan from 1989-2009 representing a 1% to 3% increase. The collaboration between the prayer movement and the church planting movement was the impetus behind the launch of Movement Day in 2010.