We've lived in Charlottesville 5 months now (seems like longer) and are really enjoying it. It's way different than College Station in demographics, politics, social ideas, restaurants, traffic patterns, and pretty much anything else you could think of. Strangely, I have really enjoyed it. Ok, strangely is not a good word. Maybe unexpectedly...
I've made friends pretty quickly and am enjoying getting to know them. We love our neighborhood. Everyone is really really friendly here, but it's hard to go beyond the surface with people. But we continue to press on trying to meet people and really know people.
On a personal level, this is what I'm learning through all this:
- It really is God who does the work of church planting. I was reading I Cor 3 the other day and it sums it nicely (the way the Bible always does): "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." I haven't gotten much figured out about this church planting, but one thing I'm realizing is that since God called us to this, we are expected to be obedient. We're just here listening to God each day and walking through alot of open doors out of obedience, not knowing what will result of it. Many of the open doors result in nothing, but every so often, God makes something happen through that open door. It's pretty crazy. One day last week, we were trying to figure out how we met several people who have been coming to church and we literally could not remember how we met them or got connected with them. It's often random and then the things we think in our human logic will pan out simply don't.
- I am really loving the freedom that church planting allows when it comes to ministry. I am not dogging the established church at all (love the church!), but it's been fun and refreshing to step out from such a defined role (my role: prim and proper minister's wife.....ok, I was never that, but you know what I mean) and just get to deal in relationships in the community, especially with people who are not Christians. I feel more well-rounded, balanced, and, unexpectedly (there's that word again) more myself.
- I am also learning that in unstable situations, I often revert back to my works-mindedness, obviously not a good thing. Because the options for relationships and ministry are endless and open-ended, I have to daily struggle against the feeling that I'm not doing enough. Time in the Word has been my antidote to that kind of craziness.
Are you still reading? This is turning into a book.
One final thing: details on the church.
The past two Sundays we have had 35 and 26 people crammed in our living room! Things are definitely coming together. In the next few months, we're planning to start meeting on Sunday mornings (we're currently in the evenings) and to move into a more public venue. We're excited about what's ahead. If you want to keep up with the church planting in more detail, send me your email and I'll put you on the list.
Love you guys!