Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Further Up and Further In!
(If you are getting this information twice - sorry about that!)
We just wanted to let you know the latest development in our lives: we're moving! (How many of you thought this was a we're-having-a-baby post?)
Here's the story: A few weeks ago (was it really only a few weeks?), I was looking at websites for churches from the Acts 29 Network. (Go here for more information about Acts 29) I found a church plant and it looked interesting. The church is quite young (under a year old officially), meeting in an elementary school, and has a vision to reach its city and the counties that surround it with the Gospel. The more we poked around on the church's website, the more intrigued we became. The purpose and vision of the church meshes so well with who we believe we as a family are called to be, and what we believe churches should be doing.
We've prayed and talked a lot, and then last weekend, we made a trip up there to go to the church and look at some real estate. The church was exceptional. We spent some good time with the pastor and others who are in leadership there, and we also had a meal with the congregation and got to see how their part of the Body of Christ works. Not only do we see this church as a good place to raise our family, but we are especially excited about the ways that we can help this church grow. We're looking forward to being a part of what God is doing at the church and in the city. We feel called to this.
The town we'll be living in is about half an hour to a big city, which means it has a small-town feel but with big-city proximity. As some of you know, our original plan was to eventually move somewhere in the country where we could have some land for our boys to run and play in. Recently Jeremy and I have both been convicted and convinced that we need to be in or near a big city: cities are where culture is made and where people are, and as Christians, we are called to influence the making of culture and share Jesus with those people! (Please don't see this as judgmental of those people who choose to live in the country. This is just where WE are called to be.)
We love the missional aspect of Acts 29 churches in general, and of this church in particular. The emphasis is understanding the culture, getting to know people, loving and serving as Jesus did, and generally seeing yourself as a missionary wherever God places you. Many of you have heard that phrase "We're all missionaries" many times before - Acts 29 churches put feet to the message in ways that show careful thought, prayer, and planning. Here is a quote from their website: "...our missional perspective flows out of a very high view of scripture on the one hand, and a total commitment to engage contemporary culture with the gospel on the other hand, using every effective means of communication. Therefore, most Acts 29 planters/pastors are biblically and theologically well-read. We study hard in the Bible because we believe a clear and orthodox understanding of the Gospel is critical. When it comes to the Gospel we do not innovate. When it comes to culture, however, we seek continually to be innovative in our means of communication. Understanding this distinction is key to understanding our missional perspective. It shapes the specific philosophy of ministry which any individual church plant will adopt. For this reason most Acts 29 pastors preach hard-hitting expository sermons through entire books of the Bible, speaking the unchanging Gospel directly into the ever-shifting winds of contemporary culture."
We are saddened to be leaving those of you nearby, that we love, but we are excited about this new adventure God has for our family. (And yes, I know the place we live in is a big city too, with many people who need to be reached. There's just something about this place and this church that we know is the right place and the right church. It is where we need to be.)
Our plans: We're going to be looking to sell or rent out our home in here. If any of you or anyone you know might be interested in buying or renting a 4/2 in a family-friendly neighborhood, please let me know! As soon as we can secure a buyer or renter, we will start heading North. We may rent an apartment for a while so we can house-hunt slowly and really get to know the area better, or we may land in the perfect house right off the bat. Our timetable right now is based on the renting/selling of our house here - we'd love to have your prayers in that area for us!
Thanks for reading this far! And remember, once we get a house, we'll have a guest room ready. :) All visitors welcome.
Allie for all of us.
P.S. Because this version of our newsletter is online for all the crazies to see (as well as all of you - no offense!), I kept it vague. If you want more information, email me, and I'll send you the real scoop. :)