Friday, April 15, 2011

A Community, A Home, A Church

I wanted to take some time to brag on our home church for a bit...

7 years ago I moved from small-town-America to "The Cities" and started attending Hope Community Church in Minneapolis. A year later Mark married me and joined me in the metro. Hope went from being our church, to our home. Whenever people bring up to us the possibility of relocating within the country, we can say with great confidence that the Twin Cities is our home, it's where our Church Family is, and those roots grow deep. 
It is a truly rare finding to be in a church community that is (1) Christ centered (2) Bible focused & (3) in tune with the reality of people's lives, "warts and all". 
Ours is a young congregation, the average age of those who attend Hope is around 24 years old. Hope was started originally on the campus of the University of Minnesota as an outreach to students. It's grown from the original 14 founders to over 1000 people on a Sunday not because of the great worship music (which it has), nor because of the great preaching (which it also has) but because it is a place that continues to seek Jesus with earnestness and honesty. It is a place to wrestle with questions and to be real with others, with yourself, and with God. Hope just wants to be a place where we show off how great God is. And He is great. In every sense of the word. 
When Jairus died, we were a little unsure how the church community would respond. Because we are such a young church, there is not (as one of our pastors says) the group of "little old ladies who have walked through loss before many times and so know immediately how to step in and help when tragedy strikes." But there was no time to worry about that, as the response was immediate and comfortingly overwhelming. Before we even knew what had happened, there were wheels in motion to help us in anyway possible. We've been surrounded by amazing friends at our church from the first moments of letting go of little Jairus. I don't know where we would be without the support we've received. It is a true testament to the power of community. 
Here are some of the many, many ways we've been blessed by our church family. I can't mention names as there are too many, and some I do not even know. The outflow of love has been wonderful and continues to be so. You, Hopesters, are our son's church family. Thank you for letting him be a part of Hope's story. You have served your Lord well. You have loved us well. And it shows off Christ to us and to those around us. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone who has:
prayed for us
prayed with us
organized care groups for us
cooked us food
bought us groceries
run errands for us
sent us emails, cards, and facebook notes
looked forward to our baby with us
shared meals with us
cleaned our house
participated in our son's funeral
attended our son's funeral
helped make a photo album of Jairus for us
laughed with us
cried with us
shared memories they have and hopes they had for Jairus
told us ways in which our little one is missed
given us books
given gift cards
done childcare
played with Emma and Hazen
shoveled our driveway
called (even and especially if we never returned your calls)
hugged us
asked us how we're doing and meant it
sent me to the spa for a day of relaxation
taken photos for us
held our hands
adored our boy and told us how beautiful he is
and for all the ministering to us that hasn't been mentioned here. Thank you. 

2 comments:

  1. Happy to be in the Hope family with you guys!
    -graham (and fam)

    ReplyDelete