More than a building?

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Five years ago, a handful of people dreaming about making disciples and blessing Kansas City moved into Midtown and started fleshing out ideas for living incarnational lives that celebrated Kingdom realities and accomplished our dream. At the time, having a building in the center of Midtown neighborhoods seemed essential for establishing a neighborhood church of good neighbors who were good news. We entered into a long-term lease for a building we named “The Parish Center” and we spent countless hours, sweat, tears, and resources transforming a drafty warehouse into a hospitable space where our family could gather weekly and host dinners, parties, meetings, and some of our neighbor’s stuff.

Even though we named the building in order to separate it from the reality of our “church” which we were defining as a family of missionary servant learners (or apprentices), we found ourselves (along with our neighbors) five years later functionally associating “church” with a specific place where people gathered at a specific time. Practically, we started asking, Can we justify spending 75% of our resources monthly on rent and some months the other 25% on utilities? Should we keep investing in a building that’s weekly maintenance and long-term structural needs are unsustainable? Philosophically, we asked, “Do we need a permanent gathering space in order to be a church? Do we need it in order to be good neighbors? Is it helping us make disciples and bless our city?

We couldn’t find a “Yes” anywhere, so we decided to let go of the Parish Center. After a couple of family meetings in February and March, we talked to our landlord and communicated our hope to end our lease early, but our intention to stay until July if necessary. Our landlord asked us to stay and started looking for new tenants. We started praying for those new tenants and effective April 1, they moved in and we moved our stuff out of 2949 McGee Trafficway.

Theologically, we see the New Testament church as a people movement actively pursuing the restoration of all things for the glory of God. We believe leaving the Parish Center helps us join this movement more effectively. We hope without a permanent space our church will begin to re-imagine discipleship.

If you need to send us something by mail, please send it to 2720 Campbell Street, Kansas City, MO 64109. If you’d like to gather with our family this Sunday morning (April 14), we’ll be on the third floor of the Blinds to Go building at 3219 Troost at 10:30 a.m. Check with your city group and on our Facebook page for future gathering times and locations.

2 thoughts on “More than a building?

  1. I really do love how this chapter of life is unfolding. I also love how it feels mysterious, yet good. Backwards, but really forwards. Confusing, yet articulate. It certainly encourages the growth of hope in God and his goodness. I’m grateful.

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