So what are you looking for? This is a simple, logical question for a real estate agent to ask. But behind our answer lies our hopes and dreams for the sort of church we’d like to establish in Worcester. As a Christian there is a sense in which different aspects of your life bleed together since faith informs and shapes it all. This is especially true as a pastor and maybe even more so in the work of starting a new church.
To begin there will be no offices or church building. We hope to use our home for bible studies, meetings, cook outs, and all other sorts of gatherings. We hope that our hospitality will be attractive to those outside the church and a place where many will first connect to Jesus. So, in looking for a place to live there is a lot lingering in the background. So here are some of the things we’re thinking about:
1. Is this a good fit for our family? Is there enough room? Two bedrooms or three? Is there a bath tub or just a shower? Will Hillary feel safe when I’m gone for a few days? How about sidewalks, a place for Wesley to dig, or room to run around inside during the long winters characteristic of Worcester? Aesthetics matter and we love the neat old homes with character that are scattered throughout the city. Are there bonus features like room for a home office, storage for bicycles and skis, or a fire place? All of these have varying degrees of significance.
2. Access: Is it easy to get there within Worcester and for people coming from outside the city? How would people from different socio-economic or ethnic backgrounds feel coming to this home? As we talked about one of the apartments we were looking at with our agent, she told us how the landlord implied that she only wanted to rent to white people. This would not be a good place for us. What about the college students in Worcester? Would this land in their range of commute or cross paths they normally tread? Is there parking for those who come?
3. Hosting: How would it work if we tried to fit thirty people in the living room? Could we make it happen if everyone was willing to squish a little bit? What if God brings us a bunch of people with children? Is there play room potential for any of the bedrooms or is there a basement that isn’t too scary?
When we moved to CT we may have pushed too hard to end up in a home despite trying to think strategically like I’ve outlined above. Regardless of our motives, one of the great blessings in that home were our neighbors. One guy who lived next door eventually told me that he had been praying a Christian with whom he could identify would move in next door. When I heard that I was blown away. We’re praying for the same thing this time.
Another thing we have been learning through the past two years of transition and decision making is that Hillary has a better sense of God’s leading. When it comes to the big things like jobs, housing, and school for Wesley her “gut” has been on. We’re still cautiously evaluating this pattern but also trying to learn about the ways God leads us.
Image Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26405526@N00/2613143815/”>onkel_wart (thomas lieser)</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>