Last week we enjoyed a visit with some friends, Billy and Sarah, from Charleston, SC. Three years ago we moved to San Jose, CA from Charleston, SC. Charleston is where I grew up and where Filipe and I met and married, started out in ministry, and gave birth to our two daughters.
I love whenever we have visitors from Charleston. I love showing them around and sharing with them all that is happening in our city. It reminds me of how different ministry is in the San Francisco Bay area, and how we have adapted to the culture here for the sake of the Gospel.
Diversity- This is by far the biggest difference of all. About 40% of the population here is Asian (that includes the Indian culture) and another large percentage is Hispanic. Being a “white, American” feels like a minority here. For example, just on my cul-de-sac, I am the only white American out of the 8 homes (even my own husband is not from here!).
Unchurched- The reason why we moved to the Bay area to start South Bay Church is because 95% of the area is unreached with the Gospel of Christ. Our goal as a church is to bring that percentage down. We are a church for the unchurched, and I love that most about South Bay! We’ve been able to create a safe place for people of all faith backgrounds to explore Christianity. We have volunteers serve diligently every Sunday morning who are still exploring faith, we have people serve at events with us who have yet to yield to Christ, and we have many people in Life Groups throughout the week just checking this whole “God thing” out.
Life Groups- I have a huge passion for small groups because I’ve personally seen their benefit in my own life, as well as others. But when I began leading life groups (our term for small groups) here at South Bay, things were different…in a good way. In the first group I led here, a Chinese woman from a Buddhist background came and asked if she had to be a Christian to join. She asked if she could come just to learn more about the Bible. (“Of course not”, I replied.)
Our life groups are not a group of mature Christians sitting around a room discussing spiritual truths. Our groups are filled with unbelievers, new believers, and some who are simply, searching. Following our life group last week, Filipe and I were talking to Billy and Sarah about how it feels strange now to have a life group without someone in it who is still exploring faith or who recently found Christ and is still learning about what it all means.
There are many more great things I love about South Bay, but those are just a few. Do you attend a church? What do you love about it?