“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42 NIV).
The first house my wife and I lived in was on wheels. Convinced that we should be owners and not renters, we bought a 12×55 mobile home when we were first married. We couldn’t afford land, so we rented a lot in a trailer park (I guess we were renters after all). I still remember our address: Lot #17.
I’ve attached a photo here of Robin standing in the door, excited about our first snow, in our first house, in our first year of marriage (I thought you might appreciate the idea of snow during this hot summer we’re having).
We called this home for three years, but our children never knew this house. When we were expecting our firstborn, we sold our mobile home and bought a bigger place. We needed room for a nursery!
Through the years, the Combs clan has moved from house to house. Sometimes it was because we were expanding our family and sometimes because of a job transfer. Looking back, the only house that feels like home, is the one that we’re living in now. A house doesn’t make a home, love does. I know it’s a cliche, but home “is” where the heart is.
Our WCC church family started out in my living room. We met there for three months before launching our first Sunday worship service at Forest Hill Middle School. We continued to meet at my home on Wednesday nights for the first two years of the church. When we finally moved all of our services to the school, some people got upset and left us. They had become attached to my house. They said they missed sitting in my living room and eating at my table. They said that we were getting too big and they didn’t know everybody now. They didn’t want a new house. My house was home to them.
But we knew it was time to move on. It was either cling to my little house and stop growing, or move to a bigger house and keep growing. So, we moved.
For years, when we passed FHMS, my daughter would see cars in the parking lot there during the week and ask, “Daddy, why are there people at our church?”
She didn’t understand that it was a school building. She thought it was our church.
For nearly 19 years we’ve rented space for our church family all over town. We’ve had parties, picnics, Bible studies, get-togethers, baptisms, weddings and funerals, all at places that we rented or borrowed.
We’ve been called the “Roadie Church” by other churches that have seen us set up sound equipment for citywide events. They marvel at our adaptability and faithfulness.
I guess it’s appropriate that a guy who started his family in a “mobile” home would launch a “mobile” church. From day one our church family has repeated the phrase, “The church is not the steeple, it’s the people.” It’s part of our DNA, we’re a church on the move.
Now, we’re looking at moving into a “movie” theatre. Don’t you think that’s just perfect! But some will worry about this change. There are many uncertainties. I’m praying that our church family fully embraces the idea of moving into this new house.
I really believe it’s time. Like the first century church that “never stopped” carrying the good news from “house to house,” we mustn’t stop either. We’ve carried the gospel from “house to house” all over Wilson for years. Now, it’s time to carry it to another house. A house that can accomodate our dreams for being a city church, located in the center of things, open seven days a week, and able to draw people that would never hear the gospel otherwise.
While a house doesn’t make a home, a family does need a house in which to live and grow. I believe it’s time for the WCC family to buy a house. And when we move in, let’s continually remind each other to “never stop” preaching the love of Jesus. That’s the only way to make any house a home.