The last two weeks have been full of reunions with family and friends back in the US and while it has been a blast it has also numbed some of the emotions of returning to life here. All of the holiday cheer and gatherings are temporary and ending very soon. In one way this has been a great time to return to this context, but at the same time it has made it difficult to see the reality in front of me and to receive any clarity of what is exactly ahead.
A few things have sharply stuck out to me in observing the culture as a third culture adult and in conversations with those around me. First, I have a growing burden for the US population to know and worship Jesus. I know what you are thinking, "Of course you are supposed to say that, you are a returning overseas missionary." But regardless of your thoughts, the burden I have is from the Lord and it is to see people encounter Jesus in a real way.
Second, many people, including those within the church culture, are desperate for something more meaningful. I am not knocking on any one church, but what I have heard people express is the desire for true biblical community. And quite frankly, most US churches don't actually have that within their DNA. Sure, most claim that they do, but merely having a Sunday school class or even a small group will not suffice for true biblical community. What I hear people saying they want is what we see in Acts 2:42-47.
Third, I think that in order to see the US context reached that we need more churches planted. I am sure that this too will come as no surprise to anyone, but I believe this with all my heart. The church is God's plan a to reach cities and communities and there is no plan b. What saddens me is the lack of churches that are actively planting reproducing churches. Just yesterday in conversation with a friend who I respect from my own sending church said that they recommend a new church plant within three to five years. That sounds great, but waiting three to five years to me is unhealthy and leads way to never planting at all.