Last week I stopped by First Reformed Church of Cary to pursue their offer of office space for me. I stopped by to pick up the keys, and I just so happened to stop by the same time Chris was stopping by. Chris has long served in different capacities at First and she used to run an outreach program for the unemployed through the office space I am now taking over. This unemployment program moved two years ago, and since then a plethora of office supplies and furniture have gathered dust. So rather than just having office space, I have a furnished office space! It was a pleasant surprise and a wonderful gift. Of course, this office space is, like our rental home, temporary. We are seeking to move to the Holly Springs/Fuquay-Varina area in order to set down roots. For now we are doing what we can afford as we build up the capacity to move.
Basically the town of Holly Springs is made up of people who did not grow up in Holly Springs. In 1990, Holly Springs had a population of 900 people. It was historically known as a hamlet settled mainly by post-civil war African-American families. 1990 Was not that long ago. Twenty-three years later, it has 28,000. It is projected to grow to 50,000 in the next two to three years! One major factor in vision setting for a church plant is, of course, the context/place. At this point, it is exciting to think about how this new church can provide a sense of stability, permanency, and rootedness for this transient, new, and uprooted community. One thing I hear from local folk is that Holly Springs does not have a strong town identity. Its tax base is strong because there are a lot of people and the services are catching up. Besides new roads, Holly Springs just approved massive spending on building two soccer fields with artificial turf, newly lit trails and a baseball stadium (click here for all the details) among many other things. There is no baseball team yet, but the hope is that if they build it, it will come—right out of the tobacco fields. Seriously though, the town has money to spend. The plans for Holly Springs’ future are bright and exciting (click here for more information).
With all this newness, I wonder about how a church can fill the void for real rootedness and a place for people to call home within the context of community. The question I am wrestling through is this: Is it possible for a church plant to fill that void? We are not so much a church plant yet as a church seed, which means we have not yet grown roots let alone provide roots from inception on. This is the current dilemma I find myself in. Fortunately, the good news is, well, the Good News. When one finds Jesus Christ, the permanent place is really a person! Over and over again, the Apostle writes about how Christians are in Christ, and one can understand what in Christ means by deferring to geography. In Christ, we move from death to life. In Christ, we move from life of sin to new life eternal. In Christ, we move from self-dependence and self-preservation, to dependence in Christ and preservation by Christ. In Christ, we are called to daily pick up our cross in order to die to our sin. The Gospel is the rooted message that reveals how people find their identity in Christ.
Do you find your rootedness in the Gospel? Do you find your primary identity in Jesus? If not, send me an email and let’s talk. If so, may the Holy Spirit compel you to speak about this Good News wherever that may be: at home, at school, with friends and family, on vacation, and the office.
After making a Field of Dreams reference, I’ve got to say, Ray Kinsella, I can. relate.