Last Sunday, Alan and I headed across the bridge to hear his awesome pastor mom preach the Christmas sermon. She did a great job opening up the Gospel of Luke, and we enjoyed spending time with the family. People who had known Alan since he was “this high” encouraged us on our new path, and shared recommendations for churches we could visit during our time off. Special musical programs (three!), cardamom bread and many a Christmas sweater only served to emphasize the Christmas feel.
At the same time we were both reaffirmed in our desire to plant in our neighborhood. Every neighborhood and city has its own ministry context, and ideally churches created in those areas are reflective of their makeup. Churches that address the challenges and utilize the strengths of their members. I felt uncomfortable at the suburban eastside church, but that’s okay. I’m not a suburban eastsider. I was welcomed and loved with warmth and affirmation, and felt the care of the community. The songs and scriptures reflected the gospel message and spoke to the imminent coming of Christ. The problem belongs to Alan and I: we are longing for our home. And I have a feeling that no matter how beautiful, innovative, edgy or amazing, while we have much to learn from the churches we are visiting, none of them will feel like home.