Church family in Mitchell, SD

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End May 24, 2011

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Sunday, March 20, 2011

Word of Life Church in Mitchell, South Dakota.

They used to meet in a third story sanctuary of a hundred-year-old building, but it was difficult to access. They wanted to be a place of accessibilty and service in the community, so three years ago, they decided to hold services nomadically. They have a few venues throughout town, and they are in a new place every Sunday. They've learned a lot about how the church is the family of people, not the four walls.

Their nomadic lifestyle attracted our attention, so we visited their assembly at the local community center.

When we first walked in and sat down, we were immediately noticed by the pastor's wife, Tammy. She struck conversation with us and was interested in our job. She introduced us to her husband the pastor, Bill. "Hey, Bill I think we should have dinner with these folks. They've got a neat story."
Then, to us, "Do you have dinner plans? No? Well we'll figure something out. We'll talk later."

The sermon was great. Good thing, too. It would be awkward to be invited for dinner with the pastor, and then discover that you don't like or agree with the pastor. Fortunately, that was not the case. Pastor Bill spoke less preachily and more like a guy talking about what he's learned about Jesus. He referenced a host of Scripture passages and kept us busy cross-referencing what the Bible has to say about living joyfully content.

Afterward the sermon, we split up into small groups. I joined two guys, and Kelsey joined a larger group of women. When my guys were done talking, I helped pick up chairs and tear down the set-up. It was funny to realize how similar their church experience is to our work and life. They even had the same speaker stands.

While I was picking up chairs, I struck up conversation with Dan. At the end of our conversation, he too asked if we had lunch plans. We wanted to clarify with Tammy about her idea of sharing a meal with us before we made anoter commitment. Soon, all of us--the pastor and his wife, their six kids, Dan and his wife, and the pastor's parents--made plans for lunch together.

That's exactly what we did. We ended up at a great Chinese buffet where we had our own event room. We talked and ate for about an hour and half. It was so refreshing to eat with people. We've mentioned it before--eating out doesn't bother us, even though we eat out all the time, when we're eating with people.

So, after just four hours from stepping into the church, we had made a lot of friends here in this small town off I-90 in South Dakota. Will we be back again? I don't know. But if so, I know where we can feel welcomed.
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