Just over a week ago we packed the car and headed east from Kansas City. To cover my tear-swollen eyes, I busied myself triple checking the luggage configuration and going over the car-topper hookups.  “Rainproof cover—check. Tie-down straps—check.” After a quick photo of the overloaded car, we eased our way onto the interstate. 

Initially, we were quite nervous about the car-topper. I had a few tools tucked into the trunk, but nothing to help with any real disasters.  Every squeak and groan of the chassis, every gust of wind, and every lurching acceleration had me straining through the windows to see if the load had shifted. 

We decided to stop after 10 miles and make sure things were good, but 10 miles was a busy interchange and we were doing well.  20 miles passed and then 50.  With every minute, our tensions eased a bit.  A serious hamburger craving hit about 100 miles into our journey and we rolled into a parking lot.  We piled out of the car, hiked up our britches and spat on the shimmering pavement.  “Yep…no problem…car loaded down…70 mph…no big deal…”  (Actually we neither hiked up our britches nor spat on the ground but we felt like it.) 

What began as a tense, watch-every-move kind of journey, became enjoyable.  We got our eyes out of the mirrors and on the horizon.  We made steady progress and met some really nice people.  

I can’t help but see some parallels to church.  The car delivered us to Grove City and we’re about to have our first Sunday. For me, it feels a little bit like the first few miles pulling out of Kansas City.  My senses are heightened and I’m trying to notice everything all at once. Everything is new and I feel a little like a high school kid taking his driving exam. 

It won’t always be that way.  Pretty soon we’ll all decide we can trust the “gear” and the One who picked it all out.  We’ll determine that the connections are secure and that we can trust that the whole convoy called “South Central Ohio District” is headed in the right direction.  We’ll get our eyes out of the mirrors and focus them on the horizon.  We’ll have some fun, make progress, and meet some terrific people along the way.  

I share the optimism of the Apostle Paul who said, “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

We’ve begun our journey and I’m eager for us to get a few miles under our belts together.  Let’s fix our eyes on the “Author and Finisher of our faith,” relax, and make some good progress.  South Central Ohio needs a church like yours.  The Kingdom of God needs a church like yours.  Your neighbor needs a church like yours.  

You have overwhelmed us with your warm reception. We have neither earned nor deserve the kind words you have spoken.  Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to answer God’s call to make disciples.  I know we’ve only just met, but let’s take a good long journey together.

See you Sunday, 

—Sam