I was invited by Matthew Barnett to speak to the Dream Center at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. The whole experience was phenomenal: the hospitality by the Dream Center staff was outstanding; the tour of the Dream Center by Matthew and Tommy Barnett was absolutely inspiring; the worship service and chance to speak in front of this church was incredible and going out to dinner with Matthew Barnett, Tommy Barnett and Aaron Jayne was fantastic!
Over fifty years ago God gave Tommy the dream of starting a church in Los Angeles. Then, twelve years ago that dream became a reality when Matthew Barnett moved from Phoenix to LA. They now serve 30,000 people every week through 150 ministries of every kind. You name a need and they have a ministry or a plan to have a ministry to meet it! It is staggering. But even more staggering is the difference they are making in the community! In the first four years of the Dream Center’s establishment prostitution and gang violence dropped 73%; the homicide rate dropped 28% and the number of rapes in the neighborhood dropped by 53%. Most churches can not prove why they are needed based on those metrics.
I was thinking about words I would use to describe The Dream Center and here are the first three that come to mind:
- SERVING: From the moment I got picked up at the airport they did everything they could to serve me. They carried my bag, opened every door, checked me in at the hotel, got me something to eat or drink – it was totally over the top. And they didn’t just treat me that way since I was the guest speaker. The whole place exemplified extraordinary service from the way they took care of the people in rehab who live at the Dream Center to the way they display the names of newcomers on the screens to say welcome! I was impressed.
- ENCOURAGING – If they said it once, they said it a hundred times (literally) how pleased and honored they were that I would come and speak at the Dream Center. And it starts with Matthew and Tommy – those guys are two of the most positive people I have ever met. And it permeates the entire place. As I was getting a tour of the Dream Center they had people there to greet me and make sure I got a standing ovation. When they introduced me to speak that evening, they made sure I got a standing ovation. When I finished they told me over and over again what a great message I delivered. Truthfully, I thought my talk was pretty good, but not nearly as good as they said. However, you could tell that they want the Dream Center to be a place where guests come away super encouraged.
- GENUINE – The Dream Center is not like any other place and definitely not a copy of any other place. Matthew and Tommy Barnett are not trying to do or be anything other than what God wants them to be in that place. It is totally authentic. The authenticity of the leadership was very attractive.
It was an amazing experience and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been at the Dream Center. Wow!