Young Lincoln and the Americans: band name or advertising hook?
There is an ease and a grace at Unterwegs that wasn’t always there.
Things seem to be growing, happening on their own, more freely and organically. Our confusion and frustration now comes less from questions like “what do we have to do to be able to advertise in the cafeteria?” to “which students do we want to use to help us do outreach, and in which buildings of our choice?” It’s as if the seed that we had planted three years ago and have been constantly tending day and night ever since has finally taken root and sprouted.
It’s something we didn’t accept at first. Pam and Nathan Heald came in the middle of last semester, and it was otherworldly to watch them not go through the same awkwardness we did of starting conversations with complete strangers and struggling to come up with something enticing to invite them to be a part of. Now we have Unterwegs events, now we have homes and personal lives to invite them to.
Today a new student walked in to Unterwegs for the first time because we put a sign out on the street for Just Lunch in front of the house. He stayed for two hours and talked to what must have been a dozen solid Unterwegs students. In three years, we have never started a relationship that easily.
I’m still kind of incredulous. Not skeptical, per se – just surprised at how well Unterwegs is doing compared to how much superhuman effort has been required in the past to budge that boulder up the hill.
Next week we’re kicking off a semester of talking about the Kingdom of Heaven at Donnerstagabend. I’m using the Parable of the Hidden Treasure to launch the discussion for the rest of my teammates to carry through the semester. I believe it will come down to this…
At Unterwegs, we have seen the Kingdom of Heaven. We see it in small ways. Our students dress up like historical American figures to invite people to come be a part of their community. Students volunteer to clean up after events. We see it in larger ways. Students grow, and the way they see the world changes. There is an electricity in the air at the End of the Year Awards Show. 60 students crowd together to get a photo together so they can remember the moment.
Unterwegs has many parts to it: sports, food, music, free wireless internet – but the one thing that sets it apart from everything else in Tübingen, any team or apartment or major or business or whatever group students may be involved in, is that at the heart of Unterwegs is the human relationship. When the Kingdom of Heaven comes to Earth, it’s through the people around us that we experience it.
And what does it cost us to get the Kingdom to come to Earth? According to Jesus’ parable: everything. What bitter pills do we swallow, what indignities do we forgive, what sacrifices do we make for another person’s sake? Well, that’s worth coming back to hear more about.