We have now been in Kansas a little over a month. There has been a lot going on. I would probably describe this month as a season to get settled into life in Wichita. We have been doing quite a lot since we arrived. Our first order of business was to close on our new home. We found a new home built in 2004 in the middle of an old neighborhood just west of downtown Wichita. We really love our house. It has plenty of room for our family and a big basement that the kids just love to play in. If anyone is ever passing through Wichita and needs a place to stay please, we would love to have you.
Along with the new home comes unpacking, getting needed appliances, furniture, and decorating. Amy has done a great job making our new house into a home and it has even been fun tackling a few home improvement projects. We’ve been putting up blinds, putting together beds, organizing storage in the basement, and we have also started painting walls. My favorite part has been the irony of painting our new kitchen a color called “Tornado Watch.”
A big part of getting settled has also been finding my place in my new Starbucks. I really like working at the store on 21st and Amidon. The store is filled with some really great people and has a really nice pace of business. Even though every Starbucks is still a Starbucks, each store has its own personality and way of life. It has been fun getting know the daily rhythm, the new set of customers, and my new co-workers. It is fun to see the way community is lived out among my new friends in the store. I’ve already gotten to participate in an after Christmas celebration where we went out to eat and bowling and a little graduation party for a partner getting her bachelor’s degree. It has been fun to get to be a part of the way this groups works to help each other through life. Amy and I have been able to help a friend who had a childcare emergency and another friend is helping me move a treadmill down into the basement today.
My Starbucks community is probably the most exciting thing happening right now as I think about my work in church planting. But there are other church planting developments that are taking shape as well. Last weekend we were able to bring in a potential church planting couple to see Wichita and consider partnering with us and the Riverwalk Church. Kyle and Kristen Mott have been long time friends of ours who we have dreamed about church planting with for a long time. Over the weekend we were able to show them around the city, introduce them to Riverwalk, and consider a possible timeline for bringing them on board. We are still in the discernment phase, but we are really hopeful to add them to the team soon.
At Riverwalk, Rick Cline and I have begun co-teaching a class based on the Tangible Kingdom Primer. We are currently three weeks into the series. Our hope is to give people a taste of some of the things we will be doing in our church planting and to encourage people to develop some missional habits in their own lives. Amy and I are doing our best to get to know the church and develop relationships with some of the folks there. We plan to join as many of the life groups as possible over the next few months to get to know people on a little deeper level.
Looking forward, we know we have a big task in front of us. We will continue fundraising, especially as we hope to welcome new co-workers, and I expect cultural analysis will be the major emphasis over the next couple of months. This entails demographic research in the area, observation and participation in community events, and interviews with people to help us get to know what life is like here.
Thanks for your prayers and commitments to us and the kingdom of God.