Meeting More Planters in SLC

January 29, 2010

As I get to know the various church planters coming to Salt Lake City, the reality of the SLC Project is becoming ever more focused.  Yesterday, Kevin, Karen, and their son Braden landed in Salt Lake, navigated their rental car to the Salt Palace to pick me up from work, and then together we drove to my house.  They'll be staying with Lisa and I through Sunday while they look for housing.  We ate dinner, and then afterward, Kevin and I did the Utah thing and made an "ice cream run" to the store. 

Rather than zipping over to the grocery store on the corner, I opted to head up the street to the Smith's in SugarHouse.  We detoured through the Westminster area and drove through 15th and 15th. (It was Friday and there was an event at The King's English and something hip happening at the Art Gallery.)  Lisa and I love this area, but maybe compared to Portland, this wasn't anything special? [Update: Jan 30. Kevin reported that they also really like the 15th and 15th area, so I guess it's not just Lisa and I!]

Kevin brought a pound of a coffee he likes from Portland and I offered him a Polygamy Porter.  We swapped stories--how each couple met, trials and joys of adoption, where we grew up, and the customary and usual stories people share as they try to get to know each other.  Braden and Asher too are doing the things kids do to get to know each other, which includes both wanting to play with the same toys and trying to understand the other boy's bedtime routine. Asher, already so much like his dad, can't seem to remember Braden's name so he just calls him, "that boy."

As we chat, I find myself picking up on little clues about the people coming and the church plant itself.  Maybe it's Kevin's comment about something he and Kyle discussed last week, or it could be something about Imago Dei, the church were both Kevin and Karen were on staff. 

Lisa and I know very little about the SLC Project we're considering becoming a part of.  There are so many questions--some about the people and some about their ideas for the church plant, all of which will be answered in time.  But we still have those little moments of insecurity and curiosity.  Will we fit in with this community of fellow believers?  They seem cool, but what if we're not cool enough?  Are they going to think my seminary education is substandard because of the school I attend or because it's a correspondence program? Is the quirkiness of our city going to be transposed upon us (which I'm sure some of it probably should be)? What happens if we want to get together for coffee and I suggest Starbucks, will they think I'm an agent of the devil?  (However, I did hear this morning, "We need to stop at a Starbucks." If the person who said this is reading this, sorry if I might have just "outted" you.)  All of these questions are completely ridiculous, and still, they creep into my thoughts from time to time.

And what about this church?  How will SLC community shape it?  How much of Portland are they bringing with them and will they be ready to separate themselves from their Portland culture when it's necessary to effectively represent the gospel in the Salt Lake City? What does their theology look like in practice?  How do they worship?  How much do they understand about the Utah culture?  How will Lisa and I be able to contribute to this community, get deeply connected, and worship God with them?  How much of this have they planned out before getting here and how much are they open to adjustments as they figure it out on the ground?  They are coming from a big church with what I consider an insanely large staff; how will they operate in a smaller church setting?  I hope they are following God's leading.  Honestly, these answers will present themselves overtime, too.   And there are more important issues to be concerned about anyway.

So as Kevin and Karen are here looking for a place to stay, it's my hope we can get to know each other better.  I pray the boys can become buddies.  I want to show the Rogers all the stuff we love about SLC, but I realize that the fun of moving to a new city is discovering these things over time.  And in fact, they will probably discover stuff and show us too.  I look forward to the season that seems to be upon us.