Your Obstacles to Moving to Allendale

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For almost a year, we have been communicating that we would be leaving Allendale. Many people have asked us, “Is anyone going to come and take your place?” The short answer is, “No.”

We have been praying for someone to move to Allendale, particularly someone from Grace Church. One of the biggest ways that we got to support Grace Church’s work in Allendale is by being “feet on the ground.” The biggest impact we had here isn’t what we’ve done ourselves, but how we were able to connect and support others.

While we would have loved someone to have moved here this summer (and we did talk with a few individuals), I think it could be a good thing that no one else is coming here immediately. Some of the benefits of not having someone move here as we transition are:

  1. Give space to local leaders to step up and carry on some of the work. We have already seen this positive impact happening.
  2. Show that Grace Church’s work in Allendale was not dependent on our presence here. They were working here long before we got here, and will be here long after we are gone.
  3. Minimize expectations for the next person who does move here. If they moved in immediately, they might feel the pressure to do things exactly like us. That would be a mistake.
  4. Allow others (from outside the Allendale) to see the need of being here. As long as we were here doing the work, it can be hard for others to see why “feet on the ground” are needed. Sometimes a gap is a good thing.

Yes, maybe it’s good that someone didn’t move here in the past month. However, I still think that it will be a blessing for someone to move here in the near future – a blessing for Allendale, for Grace Church (and other churches), and for that family.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about it, and wondering if this could be for you. But you probably have a list of objections. I get it. We had a bunch of questions, too.

Questions

This summer, as we were cleaning and packing up our home in Allendale, I came across some old notebooks. One particular page was some scribbled notes I had from my first conversations with Grace Church leaders waaaay back in November 2010. We talked about what it would look like for us to live in Allendale, and I had a bunch of questions.

Here’s a list of the questions I had, and maybe they are some of yours, too. If so, I’ll do my best to answer them:

  1. “What will I do?”  The leaders from Grace told us that our role included four components: get a job, have a side ministry, be a part of the community (such as by living in town), and being a point of contact for Grace Church. Yes, there was a lot of ambiguity, but when it comes to missions and being missional, your presence — just being there — is the most important part .
  2. “How will I make enough money?”  First, get a job, or two, or four. We had a great financial support team, and you could, too. But the biggest thing is just trust that God can provide.
  3. “Where will I live?”  A home can be found, through some connections. We rented here, but if you want to buy something, do what a friend from Allendale told me when we moved here, “Just walk up to a house you like and make an offer. They’ll probably take it.”
  4. “Is it safe for my family.”  My family has never felt in danger. Sure, there are parts of town that I only joke about going to after 11 o’clock, but that’s true anywhere.
  5. “How long will we need to live in Allendale?”  I can’t answer that for you. We came in with the mindset of “two or three years, and see how it goes,” and we passed that. Go to God in prayer, and go to your community in humility.
  6. “Will it be worth it?”  Of all the people we talked to, no one has asked this. But if you really believed the answer was “yes,” you’d be packing your bags already.

 

How We Did It, and How You Can, Too

When we began our adventure in Allendale, we were shown so much hospitality. We had friends in Allendale who supported us, and who can help you, too. Grace Church helped us, and can help you. And now that we’ve been through it, we can help you, too. You will not be alone.

Be clear: this decision is on you, and you will need to lead. You will need to take a step of faith. You will need to embrace ambiguity.

But you will also be the one to reap the rewards.

Do you have any other questions or concerns about moving to Allendale? Leave a comment, or Contact Me.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 16:25

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