A Common Question
Every Sunday, as I walk through the crowd at our church’s gathering, I’m often greeted with the same question: “How’s Jeff City going?” Late last year my family moved to the capital of Missouri and away from an awesome community of neighbors, friends, coworkers, and church-family. It was a huge transition for us–an unexpected move to an unexpected place. While we still make the drive to Columbia to worship with Karis Church once a week, increasing relational distance has been unavoidable.
Honestly, I feel a bit of angst when the question is asked. Though it’s been hard to watch fruitful relationships in Columbia whither, the choice to move was good for our family. I often answer the question with a knot in my stomach. I look into the eyes of someone I miss dearly and tell them how great it is to be away, and how we can’t wait until we begin worshiping on Sundays with our brothers and sisters in Jeff. Here are some of the reasons things are going so well.
A Great Place to Work
Jefferson City has been a great place to work. Part of the reason we moved was so that I could accept a position with the Missouri Baptist Convention. I’ll be honest: I was incredibly nervous taking a job with an old, traditional, denominational institution. There has been restructuring, struggle, and controversy in the convention’s not-so-distant past, and I feared that I was accepting a position that would turn out to be a burden.
My fears were wrong. The MBC has been incredibly good to me. I serve on a great team that has a passion to serve local churches as they spread the good news of Jesus. My project manager and team leader are two of the most godly, Christ-focused men I have ever had the privilege of working under. I came into the convention expecting that I might find cynicism and closed-mindedness. What I found instead was gospel-empowered optimism and generosity. My experience of the city cannot be disconnected from my refreshing experience in the workplace.
A Great Place to Grow
Jefferson City has been a great place to grow. With any life-change, the patterns you set affect the person that you will become. The transition to Jeff gave our family the opportunity to get a fresh start. After arriving we wasted no time in finding and developing new relationships. I’m a regular at a local diner and comic shop, Brianna has formed a novelists group, and we’ve restructured our lives to give us more time to do the most important things, both inside and outside our home. Our children are growing, asking important questions about life and faith, and beginning to discover their identities.
We are by no means perfect–far from it–but we’ve found that our time in Jefferson City, and the relationships that we have formed here, have been very good for us. God is giving us clarity, and is drawing us closer to himself.
A Great Place to Serve
Most importantly, Jefferson City has been a great place to serve. My wife and I have a heart for the local church, and are enjoying serving alongside the others who are joining Karis Jeff City, a new gathering/church plant that is being sent out by Karis Church in Columbia, MO. Karis is currently in the early stages of gathering a team of people who love Jesus and have a heart to see a new gospel-preaching, community-loving, service-oriented church in the city. This group is growing and we have been blessed beyond words by their passion and care. It has been beautiful to watch deep relationships begin to form in a town that is desperate for genuine community. We are serving the city together by loving our neighbors, and are drawn closer together as a result.
Jeff City has been a great place to work, for sure, but my overriding desire is for the work of the gospel in this place. Jeff City has been a great place to grow, but that growth has not happened apart from the fellowship and support of our growing church-family. Serving as a part of the team has given my wife and I a chance to use the gifts God has given us for his glory and the good of others.
How is Jeff City going? It’s going very, very well. Maybe it could be good for you as well. If you’re interested in getting more information about what’s going on with Karis in Jeff City, send me a note. I’d love to sit down with you and tell you all about it.