Six years ago I was a junior in college. One night after FCA I walked up to a guy named Dustin Willis who was speaking. I had heard about a church he was starting in Columbia that was going to be focused on 1) really being a family and 2) loving & serving the community. A “Jesus-centered family on mission with Him.” I was immediately on board.
So I introduced myself, and just point-blank said: “I know Jay Hendricks & Josh Garrett are coming to Columbia this summer to intern with you guys. Can I come too?”
For some unknown reason (but evidently inspired by the Holy Spirit), he said, “Sure!”
The rest, as they say, is history.
The past six years have been incredible, to say the very least. Our church uses the term “family” a lot, and the weird thing is, we mean it. I can’t describe how beautiful it is with words. I’ve tried. Sometimes it moves me to tears.
And today, Dustin packed up his family & drove to Atlanta to serve in a new role with the North American Mission Board to help plant more healthy churches. That makes me very sad, but also very happy. Sad/happy if you will.
As I look at this picture that Dustin tweeted earlier today, it brings up so many memories. Our church family basically started in that back yard over a corn-hole set, so it’s really sad to see a for sale sign in the front. But through all of this, I’m reminded of a few things:
FAMILY IS SO WORTH IT
It’s worth sad goodbyes and see you laters. So many people are so transient these days, resistant to anything resembling roots, always on the move.
But roots are worth it, even if you live somewhere for a short time. Relationships are worth it. What’s better than friendships so close that you shed tears when someone tells you they’re moving away?
SPREADING & SENDING
If we are really a Jesus-centered family on mission with Him, then we can’t idolize family above all else. It’s good. It’s really good.
But it’s not ultimate. It can’t be everything. It’s not about selfishly keeping what we have–it’s about spreading what we have. Inviting new people into the family. Spreading and sending.
I have to admit, I don’t always smile during the process. I pout a good bit. I tell friends like the Willis’s, the Davis’s (now in TN) and the Disbrow’s (now in Korea) that God probably wants them to stay here. That He told me in a dream. That they should reconsider. But then I finally huff and say, “Okay…I’m on board. I’m sad/happy.”
So yeah. I’m sad/happy tonight.
Sad that a very dear friend is moving four hours away. I’m gonna miss that man. A lot.
But, I’m happy that the Kingdom is spreading. And of course, that’s what’s most important.
We can sit around and enjoy family forever one day. But until then, there is work to do.
Lots of people need an invitation to God’s family.