I moved around a lot as a kid. It seemed like every 18-24 months we were moving into a new home or apartment. It wasn’t until I moved to Uptown Charlotte that I started to realize the benefit of just moving into a community and then sticking around for a while. I have gotten to know the ins and outs of the neighborhood. The shortcuts when there is traffic. The best place for Dara to send me out when her recipe unexpectedly called for an egg.

I also have seen the annoying side of staying in one place. My neighbors see our ups and downs. They see our imperfections, our family disagreements and my “morning face” when I take out the trash. But something crazy has happened with having the same neighbors: we’ve built lasting friendships in spite of our idiosyncrasies and our shortcomings. We have been able to share some pretty cool moments along the way and also walk through some pretty hard stuff, too.

When I was younger, I didn’t have to get close to my neighbors because I moved so much. But now, I’m sticking around long enough to realize that we are all walking through ups and downs together. They aren’t going anywhere and neither are we.

I am so grateful for the fact that we’ve found a neighborhood and just settled in to the community. I am so grateful for our wonderful neighbors that put up with the energy that is found in the Docusen home with four kids under the age of eight years old.

I think that these same type of challenges and benefits are true of when you are searching for a church family. Let me explain…

You will never experience the fullness of a church community if you are only willing to stay for a bit. True community is found when you start to walk through things. When the shiny stuff wears off and the new car smell is gone. When you stay after a disagreement. When you learn to stick around even after being offended. When you learn to confront in love. When you realize that conflict is a part of life – even in the church community.

For all that are searching for a church home, please remember this: you’ll never find a home until you’re willing to move in and stay for a while. I want to see our community continue to grow and thrive. But I want a real community, not one that just looks good from the outside.

As my neighbors can tell you, we’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of each other’s lives. And we are much, much better off because of that reality.