Pastors David and Tiffany Dirmann spoke with us about their decision to leave their secure ministry positions in a large church to build a diverse congregation in the Deep South.
What did God call you to do in Memphis?
God has given us a heart and passion for the 1.3 million people here in the metro area of Memphis. He has called us to bring healing to the racial divide, and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, through the power of His love. Though it can be easy to hide behind the walls of the church, God wants us to get out of our comfort zone, bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and reach those who are lost and hurting.
How does your relational approach to ministry help bring transformation in people’s lives?
It all starts with love and vision, and then trying not to make ministry too complicated. Systems don’t make ministry, but they do help sustain ministry. Ultimately, we want people to encounter God. People who are lost need to find Jesus. People who have found Jesus need to grow and be discipled. When people are discipled, they find freedom. Then they want to live out the plan of God for their lives. So, we help them discover and be released in their gifts.
Speaking of transformation, how has God transformed you personally for Memphis?
We came from serving in leadership at a large church, having years of strong relationships with family, friends and teams, to starting over in a new city. It has felt quite vulnerable, and our lives have been about pushing through personal insecurities and inadequacies, being real, and seeing the faithfulness and grace of God come through again and again.
Did you arrive in Memphis with a team?
Though we were willing to go alone, God laid it on the hearts of several families from California and other states to come and partner with us. Our home church, The Rock, also played a significant role in planting us. Months before we started services, our growing launch team spent much time praying, meeting people and building relationships with those in the Memphis community.
What is it like to build a diverse congregation in the Deep South?
It’s so much fun! We feel more comfortable with diversity than we do with people just like us. A diverse congregation is really a picture of heaven. It is about having a kingdom mindset, staying open to the way others live and think, and not having a preconceived idea of what church should look like. A church should look like its city. We are thankful for our new building in the heart of Memphis at the historic Galloway Methodist Church, where Johnny Cash gave his first public performance.
Interview conducted by Rod Light