May 2018 I graduated with my masters and the next day left on a 14 day camping road trip to the west coast. The day after coming back I drove a moving truck up to Rochester, MN where I signed the closing documents on a house and started a new job that Monday. A crazy whirlwind, too crazy to send updates on Facebook… my family let me know that.
December 2016 our church decided to go on a church plant to Rochester, MN and asked me to join. For many reasons, I became convinced I could take this step with confidence that this is where God was leading. It was closer to home in Wisconsin and my heart was carrying a sense of homelessness where I was. It was time to go. From December 2016 to May 2018 God did several things, the main thing being to delay my expected graduation day and lead me into and out of a sort of dating relationship both of which caused me to surrender my fears of the unknown and even surrender of NOT going on the church plant. With confidence I began to trust that there was no where on earth I could put myself where God would not still be beside me.
Finally May 2018 came around and I was one of the last few people to move up to join the church plant. I can imagine any large transition like this, whether for a church plant or just a move, is difficult for everyone and loneliness becomes a faithful companion to many. But it has been sweet to see the Lord faithfully bind our hearts together as family and bring both new believers and faithful servants into our midst.
We went from meeting in homes, to meeting at a small college, to meeting at a school where we tear down and set up every Sunday. Now we are getting into the groove, but it sure gets exhausting. In a good way. One thing I am realizing that is not so obvious with a larger church family, is that there is no room for quarreling, disagreements, or pride. It really ought to be this way with any size church family, but in my experience previously, when there was disagreement between two people it was easy enough to ignore them and go and bond with outher friends because there was enough people. You could join a different small group or start hanging out with people from a different house church. When you’ve got seven or eight single people in your church and theres a disagreement amongst two people, there really is no where to go. The Lord has given me these people to lean into, build up, confide in, conflict with, and reconcile to. You can’t simply find other friends because we’re all we’ve got. And there’s something sweet and encouraging about that.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4