For many, a new year comes with resolutions and goals for a fresh start. And for Pastor Dhati Lewis of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, this year began with a new assignment that he’s ready to share with the world.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Lewis, the former president of the Send Network for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, discussed in detail the aspects he enjoyed most about his former assignment with NAMB and why he felt called to fully embrace a new assignment from God.
“It has been amazing. Just the opportunity to work with the Send Network over the last six-plus years, I learned so much about church planting,” Lewis said. “I mean, the fact that we planted churches in Puerto Rico, planted churches in Canada, all throughout different regions of North America, it’s been really, really, good.
“You know, one of the things that was really interesting was I got a chance to experience seeing churches that were planted in the rural context, seeing churches planted in the suburban context, churches planted right on collegiate campuses, to seeing first generation language-speaking context church plants, and then also in the urban context,” he continued. “So just seeing all of the variety of differences, it just really allowed me to see a larger scope of God and how big He really is.”
As part of his new assignment, Lewis will be planting churches in the black and urban context. His new initiative is called My BLVD (“Boulevard”), which will help churches in urban areas disciple their community.
Through the program, Lewis wants to walk church planters through a system to reach their urban community. And he feels strongly that his life’s calling is resourcing urban church planters to make disciples right where they live.
“I feel like my ultimate contribution is, I want to be the last generation to leave the urban context for sound discipleship,” he told CP.
Lewis’ focus on discipleship isn’t new, as he’s authored a book on the topic, titled Among Wolves: Disciple-Making in the City.
However, at this stage in his life, he plans to leverage his time and abilities to help resource and coach other church planters in the urban environment to carry out their calling.
“How do we make disciples in the city? That’s what I really feel like God has made me to be a part of, to be about. And I can spend 100% of my time focusing on the mission. And so, this is what we’re doing with My Boulevard,” he added.
Although this is an assignment that Lewis feels called to, he also knows there will be challenges to overcome.
While My BLVD will be a separate focus from NAMB, it will partner with NAMB in its vision.
When asked about the perceptions of some that racial hurdles persist within the SBC, Lewis said he understands why some people of color might be a little weary in joining the denomination in which the majority of its leadership and its seminary presidents are white men.
“If I want to see more minority leaders, I have to raise up more minority leaders within my context and then send them out,” Lewis explained. “And guess what, the more leaders that I send out, the more leaders — more minority leaders — there will be within the Send Network and within the SBC. And so really, you know, say to those people and to those leaders that the tent is wide.”
Another one of Lewis’ roles in life is that of pastoring Blueprint Church, a multiethnic church in the heart of Atlanta that he founded over a decade ago. He wants to raise up and support other leaders who, like him, feel called to make disciples in the urban context.
“I want to focus in on and help leaders to make disciples in those contexts,” he reiterated. “So again, it’s about disciple-making principles, urban disciple-makers. And that’s really what I want my calling to be about.”