Chicago is definitely a home away from home. I have lived in Chicago for close to 22 years before I moved out to Ann Arbor. It always brings back good memories of my younger years. This is why having a HMCC church in Chicago is encouraging to me.
I was blessed to see the growth in HMCC of Chicago. As soon as I walked in and we started to worship, I could sense that the spirituality that we have been so resolutely building was evident in the room. It is uplifting to know that no matter what HMCC church you attend that the key emphasis of worship is consistently evident.
As both sites came together for Sunday Celebration, I felt the unity within the group. Even though the NU and the UIC are different campuses, the mission of reaching college students who will transform the world brought us together. It was good to also see a growing single adult presence. With more people working in downtown Chicago, the necessity of reaching out to this population is growing.
This is part of the greater vision of reaching campuses, cities, countries and continents for Christ.
Last November, I only had a total of 14 hours in Chicago therefore my time with people was short. This time I decided to extend my trip to Chicago by a few days so that I can meet up with various people. It was encouraging to meet up with some of my pastor friends that I have known for close to 27 years. I also met up with various people at HMCC of Chicago. It is always good to just reconnect. I did a lot of listening.
But most of all, I was able to spend some quality time with my parents. Every time I see them, I am reminded of the cost there is in following Jesus. As they are getting older, I have to believe with greater faith that God will take care of them better than I will ever be able to on this earth. I was inspired to see my mom still going strong with her line dancing (did I tell you that she is 71 years old) and my dad, who is 73 learning how to do e-mail and keeping up with the latest tech stuff.
Here are some lessons that I was reminded with in my time at Chicago:
2) The vision and mission should always be the main reason why a person commits to a church because so many things change over the years – that includes people, structure, methods, etc.
3) The harvest is great in the city, therefore we have to equip and train up people to reach out to their mission field.
4) Always be growing and learning because it is easy to grow stagnant.
5) Friendships that pass the test of time are the friendships that you really want to hold on to because they are good anchors.
6) Since you don’t know how long your loved ones will be with you, make every single day or opportunity count.
7) Chicago is still one of the best places for good food.