Find a New Church!
When Galileo people move on from here, literally to a new city or even state, I'm often asked to help them find a church family, "one like Galileo," near their new home. It's rare that I have a specific suggestion. But here's what I share about what it's like to search for a new band of travelers with whom to share this Christian journey.
Friends, I'm glad you asked. God's good people are everywhere in the world. I really believe this. Whether they've formed communities that look like Galileo isn't guaranteed, but still: God's good people, everywhere in the world, even Miami [or Roanoke or Plano or wherever]. ;)
Here are some things I hope you'll remember after your boxes are unpacked and you find the grocery store and gas station:
1. Churches deserve several chances to show you who they are. More than one visit is important. Not every Sunday at Galileo is our best Sunday, you know? And if a church has gatherings other than Sunday, try those a couple of times, too. Some of our best stuff happens on Tuesday nights at Fuzzy's, or Wednesday morning at AB Coffee, or somebody's living room.
2. Sometimes you can find a little "church within a church," like a young adult subgroup that is doing life together, no bullshit, within the larger structure of a traditional church. It might take a little while to find it; they don't show up in your Google search.
3. Don't underestimate your power to form the church you want simply by being present and sharing yourself. The church IS the people, and if you become part of the people, the church starts to look more like you from the very first time you start sharing yourself in that space. Galileo is not Galileo; Y'ALL/WE are Galileo. Same with other churches. You know what I mean?
4. It was always the hope of the Galileo originals that what we learn by doing community together would be exportable to other places, because Millennials are mobile, and y'all are all going to live somewhere else eventually. If this way of Christian community hasn't equipped you to be/make the church you want to go to, we haven't done our work very well. :)
5. Take care not to idealize the experience of Galileo -- it is soooo human, as we've learned recently, and has never been exactly right about anything for everybody. It's important to know where our broken places are so that you can see the advantages of a community that's significantly different than ours -- because they have some stuff figured out that we're still stumbling through.
6. Be brave. You are God's address. The Spirit of the risen Christ lives in you. You have the power of discernment, and you can do this. But don't neglect to do it while you're feeling strong -- because while God doesn't need the church, God knows we do, or will eventually. Get some people to travel this path with. That's what a church should be, ideally.
7. Remember how hard it was to find Galileo, and how miraculous it seemed when we discovered each other? Well, if God worked in your life once, what makes it any less likely that God would work in your life again? I'm praying for you. I hope to hear all about your explorations, your earnest and energetic efforts to find the right place. You are so loved. Keep the faith. Peace.