I go to Reality Boston, the most recent church plant out of the Reality churches in California. Started by Britt Merrick in Carpenteria, Reality has expanded to Ventura, Santa Barbara, LA, San Francisco, Stockton, and now Boston (and for a time London), though if you don’t know Britt from that context you may know him because of the story of his daughter Daisy. Daisy Love Merrick battled cancer three times for four years, and went home to be with Jesus last February. Her story touched thousands of lives, and I had the privilege of getting to see her once on a visit the Merrick family made to Reality Boston (such a brave girl).
While he touches on Daisy’s illness in Godspeed, his second book, Britt focuses in another direction: On being missional for Jesus in our community. The title refers to the idea of living our lives led by Jesus’ call, and the interactions we need to have with the people around us. As Britt writes:
When we understand our missiong, respond to our calling, and live as a people snt by God, we become more like Jesus to the world. Following His example, we’ll seek, touch, free, and restore the hurting people all around us. The Holy Spirit will work through us to renew humanity for the glory of Christ and the advancement of His kingdom. We will finally live for something bigger than ourselves – what I call “living at Godspeed.”
Britt asserts that we don’t need to seek a life apart from what Jesus already modeled for us. Weaving in Gospel stories and examples from his own live, Britt writes a book that is about the messy but glorious interactions with others. Britt tells his own story of being called away from surfing and his family’s surfing empire to be a pastor in Santa Barbara. He tells of a member of Reality who, while camping in the cold one night, was inspired to start a ministry to the homeless and began collecting sleeping bags. He tells of a night when he wad evangelizing in a bar, but ended up in conversation with a young lesbian, and really getting to know her, as Jesus really got to know the people around him. He also relates a story early in Daisy’s treatment when a doctor mishandled a procedure and the Merricks were advised to sue. Instead, they chose to forgive the doctor, modeling their lives after Jesus instead of after what others wanted them to.
The evidence is there: Jesus’ life was to interact with and affect others for the Gospel, and ours should be too. But Britt isn’t just writing words. As I was reading I could just sense how much Britt loves people. I know that to be true from those who know him, but you can tell on every page, through ever story, that this life is real for him. He’s taking Jesus at His word and example, and going forth doing it.