places to be with Jesus
we put a little love seat in our bedroom upstairs, in front of the three huge windows that line the north-facing wall. it is here now that i sit in the mornings to read the Word, journal, and pray. t finds his quiet place in the garage, which he’s taken to calling The Shack. he’s equipped it with a chair, a lamp, and a small space heater. there he can pace and pray, as he is prone to do.
neighbors on this end of 6th street
our neighbor next door hunts and fixes stuff and generally keeps an eye on the folks on our block. she comes by several times a week for one reason or another, always optimistically chatting about whatever is going on in her life. sarah is trying to get a bible study going with her, which i hope to join in on. she seems hungry in this way; she reads and watches christian inspirational things and wears a WWJD bracelet (what a throw-back!).
there’s an eleven year-old boy two doors down to the west. he’s taken a liking to tim, coming by nearly every afternoon in search of him, and looking crest-fallen when i inform him that tim is not at home because he’s working until dinner time. i love watching the excuses he comes up with to get some quality time with tim: geometry homework, long-boarding, learning new tech deck moves, or playing guitar. even more than that, i love watching tim love him, engage with him, and become something between a father and a big brother to him.
church planting (what?!)
on sunday we planted church (how odd a thing to say!). for me and tim, this has felt largely accidental, or at least surprising. the dreams for Stockbridge Mission Church began forming during the year that we lived in Madison. the planning meetings for it we never attended. shortly after we began this ministry year, we all entered into 40 days of fasting in preparation for what God was beginning.
and then, suddenly, here it was! we prayed about it with all our friends at Love Feast. lots of them started to get excited about the idea of a church right here on the west side, that could be walked to and that would feel comfortable. to me, there’s no point at all in planting a church if it doesn’t serve this neighborhood. because there are already a zillion great churches in this city (more churches per capita than anywhere else in the US, you know, and probably the world).
but if the west side really does need this small church, gathered in the open space of the Tabernacle on Sunday mornings, where shoes get kicked off, and you take a seat on a bit pillow or a carpet square, where you hear testimonies of real honest Jesus-lovers and a true word of God proclaimed in language not lofty, where you can worship and even dance and yell “amen,” where you can come in your street clothes, where you also have loads of opportunities to meet with your church during the week (prayer times, meals, house churches)… well, then let’s do this.
ryan, our friend from Bridge Street House of Prayer, who are co-founding this wee church with us, had a friend tell him that this sounds like a church that “isn’t going anywhere.” meaning not so much that it is a dead-end as that it aspires to nothing more than being right here in this particular neighborhood for these particular people. i don’t know how to tell you just how giddy it makes me to envision Jesus building a church out of west siders (unlikely candidates). indeed, he’s already begun.
t will be leading worship pretty often for this new little church.