When I was three, we lived so close to the church my parents started that we could walk there. When the first building was being built, we'd walk over every evening to watch the construction. We had little hard hats, my brother and I, and we'd check every day what had been done, what new beams or walls, what new electrical or plumbing.
I know that my church's name is shorthand for all manner of things—seeker movement, megachurch, modern evangelicalism, whatever. But those words don't tell you who she is.
She's my sister. She's less than a year older than me. In Chicago, we call that Irish twins. She was my playground, my safest place, my home more than the house I grew up in. I've worked there, cried there, stood in weddings there, attended funerals there. I fell in love there, working alongside the man who became my husband.
People ask what it's like to be a pastor's kid. I don't know the difference. What's it like to be anyone else's kid?
What I know is that the church is my family every bit as much as my aunts and uncles are. What I know is that the very best parts of who I am today were nurtured along by that incredible community—by Sunday school teachers and junior high small group leaders and mentors and friends who walk with me still.
I know it's a thing. I know people write about it, rage against it, have strong opinions about it. But I'm not talking about all that. I'm talking about who she is.1