“The Great Commission” sounds great, doesn’t it? It feels exciting and meaningful. To “go and make disciples,” to start new churches from scratch, to change the world. One soul at a time, one city at a time. And I really do believe in the cause of Christ Jesus. Specifically through planting churches.
However, when the moving truck pulls up beside the house, it hits different. When the rooms of the house in which a family has established a home start to empty out, it feels unsettling. Because it is unsettling. Literally. Pulling up roots from one settled existence to go and settle down in a new and different place.
Consequently, both times I’ve done it (moving to Amsterdam in 2003 and moving to Kent in 2012), it’s felt pretty awful. As the house emptied out and the moving truck filled up, my stomach felt downright queasy. I asked myself “What am I doing here?!? Why would I trade everything that I know and love here for everything that I don’t know and don’t understand there?!?” It felt anything but great.
Still, things did work themselves out over time. We grew to genuinely love Amsterdam (to the point that we felt sad when it was time to leave). And of course we love Kent, too. So, I’m glad that I got to be together with my friends Daniel and Halle as they started moving to Youngstown. I’m glad that we had a whole crew of family and church family to help with the actual moving day.
We stayed remarkably on-schedule, as we loaded up, ate pizza, drove to Youngstown, and unloaded at three different locations. It will still be months before Daniel, Halle, and Lottie can truly settle into their new place in Youngstown. And those may be challenging months (if my experience of similarly-prolonged transitions are any indication). But they will also be months of discovery and character formation and dependence upon God.
Ultimately, I believe that the transition period will help to set the stage for God’s ongoing work in them and through them. It will be the act of faith in persevering through this part of the Great Commission that becomes the greatest part of what God wants to do in Youngstown.
We’re praying many blessings for all our friends who are moving to Youngstown and the church that will be established through their time in the city. So, please join us in prayer for them, as you think about them, as well!