Not Quite Home Here, Not Quite Home There, Not Quite Home Anywhere.
Meet David, an international student at the University of Minnesota.
I’ve heard David say “Jacob’s Well is home.”
But it wasn’t until Jonathan and I had him over for dinner that this made any sense.
David is an international graduate student here at the University of Minnesota, but he doesn’t quite fit the typical description of an “international student.” He grew up in Malaysia, was raised speaking English, he spent his 8th and 9th grade years in the States while his dad was in graduate school, and he’s been exposed to Western thought since he can remember.
“Home” feels nebulous. He’s not quite at home among his international student community and not quite home among the domestic student community either. More than once, his family moved while he was growing up, so even when he goes “home,” that’s not quite home either. Not quite home here, not quite home there, not quite home anywhere.
So David had to come up with a different way to identify “home.”
“Where do I belong? Where do I go for emotional support? Where do I feel safe?”
For David, his answer to these questions is Jacob’s Well. We are David’s home.
“The church can often be a broken, feuding family. But when the Church gets it right, you have a home wherever the Church is.”
David first heard about Jacob’s Well from his roommate Joel. Joel began attending Jacob’s Well, and David watched him grow and grapple with faith. When he saw the real growth in Joel’s life, he wanted to join in. He wanted a community characterized by togetherness in striving for God.
He told us about the first time he plugged in with a LifeGroup: the LifeGroup WAS characterized by togetherness in striving for God. This community was a big encouragement in David’s life. He knows firsthand that isolation leads only to discouragement.
Now he’s found his home. David said, “The church can often be a broken, feuding family. But when the Church gets it right, you have a home wherever the Church is.” And three years later, David is our LifeGroup Leader Coach (and a fantastic one at that!).
“Shared life, shared mission” - that’s the legacy David wants our community to leave, and if Jacob’s Well had an epitaph, he dreams it would be that. He dreams of church being home, not just for him, but also for all of our people. He dreams of people choosing to give up their time to help their brothers and sisters in need. To build one another up. To encourage.
He adds to that by saying “as a church, we exist for people outside of the church.” So we must have a shared mission. Like life and leadership, mission is something that we just can’t do alone. We can achieve much more when we work together, and we are called to mission as Christians. Part of the mission of Jesus is being a church family outside of church walls.
"Part of the mission of Jesus is being a church family outside of church walls."
We are representatives of Jesus wherever we are.
Wherever We Are
For now, for David, that’s Minneapolis, but in the future, who knows where it could be.
David has one final year at the University of Minnesota, with no idea what the future holds: sounds like a pretty typical student to me.
While he may not know what the future holds, he does know that God has lead him in the past, and God will lead him into the future. He does know when the church is faithful to follow Jesus, “he’ll have a home wherever the church is.” In the meantime, home is Jacob’s Well, and he’s helping us become a home and a family to more and more people, both inside and outside the walls of a church building.