The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.
The seeds were planted long ago and nurtured carefully throughout David Reid’s training at Dallas Seminary—now he and his wife, Katie, are just beginning to see the fruit of their dream to plant a life-giving church in West Georgia. Named after the proverbial Georgia peach, the themes of growth and maturity pervade the vision of the newly planted Peachtree Community Church.
David chose the metaphor of a healthy, producing peachtree to represent someone who is growing in his or her faith and becoming a devoted Christ follower. This includes being planted in Christ (conversion), growing in Christ (discipleship), producing in Christ (ministry and missions involvement), and reproducing in Christ (leading others, sharing their faith, and/or discipling others).
And in many ways, the peachtree is also a metaphor for David’s own life. His roots go deep into West Georgia—he grew up about as far west as you can go in Georgia, in a town called Bowdon. Although he was a faithful church attender (perfect Sunday school attendance for 20 years) and he was saved at age 11 at church camp, his spiritual growth was minimal because the teaching in his church didn’t promote maturity as a disciple of Christ.
It was when he left home for college at Georgia Tech that he really began to grow in his faith. Through Campus Crusade for Christ he was discipled and began to blossom as a believer, even though many of his friends became apathetic in their faith in college.
David took courses in mechanical engineering, and in the summers he went on mission trips to Romania and Morocco with Operation Mobilization (OM). He came back from the second trip with a strong sense that his heart was really more for missionaries than for being overseas himself.
Part way through college David met Katie Corsini on a Campus Crusade retreat, and they have now been married for eight years. “God truly sent her to me. She is a very mature believer and has been the perfect partner to tackle life with.”
After David graduated in 1995, the Reids moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he worked as an industrial engineer for Michelin Tire Corporation. (Katie was still in the process of completing her degree in secondary math education.) There they attended a church pastored by a DTS graduate. David got involved in leading small groups and found that he had a gift of pastoring and shepherding.
That year, like they do once every year, David and Katie took a weekend away to plan and dream about their goals. David said he thought that if he could do anything he wanted, he would be a pastor to missionaries—traveling to visit and encourage them. As they talked more, they realized that they needed take steps toward vocational ministry.
Katie’s brother, Kevin, was attending DTS at the time, and the Reids decided to come to Dallas for a visit. When they planned the trip they had no idea that Discover Dallas (the campus’s open house for prospective students) was going on at the same time. David and Katie stayed in the guest room on campus that was often used for visiting lecturers. As they read the guest book, they realized that just the week before, Don Richardson—the author of the book Peace Child, which David was currently reading—had stayed there during missions week.
“That was just one more confirmation that God was leading us to Dallas Seminary.”
But David was very happy in his position at work and his role leading small groups in his church—he wasn’t sure he wanted to start seminary yet. He said the trip home was the longest nine hours of their lives as they discussed the possibility. They identified two main questions: 1) Is God calling us to seminary? 2) If so, will we be obedient? They settled the second one on the way home—yes, they would be obedient to God’s call.
And during the next few weeks, they met with family and friends for more discussion. They found overwhelming support—many even said they were surprised that he had not done so before then. Kevin said he and his wife had been praying for three years that Dave and Katie would come to DTS.
Katie finished her teaching degree in December of 1998, and they moved to Dallas the next month. Katie was offered a position as a high school math teacher at Liberty Christian High. “She sensed God’s leading as much as I did and sacrificially committed herself to work and delay starting a family so that I could devote myself to studying full time,” David said.
On his application for seminary, David had mentioned missions and church planting among other possible ministries God might be calling him to. “I didn’t know much about church planting, but I knew the need for good teaching where I was from.”
Once on campus David started hearing about Dr. Aubrey Malphurs, professor of pastoral ministries and author of many books on church planting, and begged to be in his class in the fall instead of waiting until the recommended time. “I wanted to know as soon as possible if this was something I wanted to move toward.”
That summer the Reids went home and visited a different church in West Georgia every week to find out if any churches were doing what they were dreaming about—reaching a young generation for Christ and developing them into true disciples. They found that eight out of the ten were carbon copies of the church David grew up in, one was teaching prosperity theology, and one was evangelistic.
Realizing the need for good churches in the area, David returned to Dallas with an excitement for the vision. And Dr. Malphurs’ class only confirmed this passion. “Everything about the class got me fired up. I started feeling like this is what I was created for.”
The Reids went back to Georgia every summer after that and began networking. They teamed up with another church called Midway Macedonia in Georgia and began the process of planning for the church plant. After graduation they moved back to the area and got involved with that church, letting people know about the plans to plant Peachtree. It was also during this time that another little sapling, their little girl Abbie, was born.
Easter Sunday of this year was the official launch, and the church is already seeing growth not only in attendance, but also in people’s lives. Seventy percent of the people attending do not have church backgrounds, and eight people have trusted Christ in the past six months.
As far as producing fruit, Peachtree is developing a burden to reach out, not only in their own part of the world but globally—a vision trip to the 10/40 Window is even in the plans for next summer. “This church was built as a missions church. My vision is to get everyone involved in some way—we’d like to adopt a people group, go on trips as a church, and eventually send out our own missionaries.”