The Church at Its Best

My Favorite Day of the Year

My Favorite Day of the Year

When I was in college, I had a lot of friends that were international students. I loved spending time with them, learning about their culture, and introducing them to mine.

That was, in a large part, due to the influence of College Heights Christian Church, the church that I called home while I was in college. This church loved people from around the world and tried as hard as they could to welcome them and make them feel loved.

That was important. Statistics during that time showed that over seventy percent of international students never entered an American home and even less ever checked out a church service.

College Heights connected international students with American families, taught English to refugees, and took international students on camping trips, but the Goat Roast was always my favorite day of the year.

A Lasting Impact

A Lasting Impact

 For most of my life, church was simply a place. More specifically, a building that I went to. 

When I was in my early 20’s, I can remember working through the first big steps of adulthood. You know the drill. Finish school. Get a job. Get married. Buy a house. Today, I think they call this “adulting.” Back then, I called it a whirlwind because it all happened at once and it was a lot to navigate. 

Rachelle and I settled into a community on the west side of Indianapolis, ready and eager to develop a rhythm as a new married couple. One of those rhythms was to find a church home. It took us a few years, but eventually we landed at Plainfield Christian Church and began attending services and serving. 

The Joy of Hospitality

The Joy of Hospitality

When I was a kid, I grew up in a small house in Washington, IL.  I didn’t think it was that small, but I knew that my parents were feeling cramped and had a desire for a larger space. As a junior in high school, this dream my parents had of a bigger space became a reality: they were going to build a house.

As I look back on this, what was cool was the reason behind why my parents wanted a bigger space. It was so they could use their home for the Kingdom. They wanted me to be able to have larger groups of friends over or invite the youth group over. They wanted to be able to host our ever-growing family for holidays or offer a space to people who might need it. I can look back and see that they loved being able to do this: to show hospitality to those around them in the church and outside of the church. They have been living in their home now for over 10 years and they are still showing acts of hospitality by opening their home and their lives to those God puts on their path. 

The Worst and Best Summer of My Life

The Worst and Best Summer of My Life

It was the worst summer of my life.

On May 22, 2011, our lives came to a screeching halt. It was a Sunday evening, and I was at a party with my church youth group. It was a cloudy evening, and rain was in the forecast. We had heard about a tornado watch, but we were used to those. Growing up in Joplin, Missouri means you get used to the sound of tornado sirens. By the time I was in high school, I’d seen multiple tornados with my own eyes. They are terrifyingly beautiful.

So, when the warnings came on and the sirens went off that Sunday evening, I didn’t think much of it. The storm blew over and I left the party to go meet up with the rest of my family. You can imagine my shock as I drove back into town and found that my cozy little hometown had turned into a war zone.

At 5:41pm, a mile-wide EF5 tornado tore through my hometown, leaving a path of carnage in its wake that would change our lives forever. It was the worst summer of my life.