After a steady flow of conversations that culminated in a wonderful visit, we have finally received a pastoral call to minister in/to the city of Houston, TX, at Harvest Community Church where I will be serving as senior pastor. As Ash and I watched this church from a distance we became increasingly intrigued and opened ourselves up to a conversation. To be honest, Houston was not on our radar initially. But in the process of discernment we were surprised by Faithfulness and Providence as we saw so many signs of health, vitality, and potential in this congregation. As an English-speaking congregation of a Korean church, we will be on familiar ground, but at the same time eager to put into practice many of the things we have learned in non-ethnic specific churches. And the sense that I get from Harvest – this is a church that knows its place in Story; a church that simultaneously looks forward and backward – and does it in a healthy manner. I have many thoughts about the delicate dance between generations in immigrant congregations – but that is for another time.
Houston is another story. It oddly reminded me of the New York metro area, where I grew up, so there was a familiarity about it, only hotter. But 70 degrees in winter? Who can complain about that. Now there is a lot of talk about sprawl these days and I’m quite familiar with the convo, the pros, the cons. But as this is a blog about place I am very much eager to listen to the soul of the city. The loops and complex freeways (see header photo above), the vast, spread-out swathe of urban/suburbia, – what is the heartbeat of Houston? As a pastor I’m not only a religious officiate, but a soul-doctor of cities. That is my role.
So starting Monday the 18th we get packin. There’s tons to do, put the house in Bellingham up for rent, hope it takes, sell the car(s), close out things at Regent, figure out shipping and transport stuff, make arrangements on the receiving end, where we will live, et al. I’ve got millions of thoughts buzzing and percolating, eager to start vocation. I’m excited. We all are. And when we finally settle down I’m going to reflect on the profundity of it all; the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.