As Grace Downtown moves to a new location, it's a wonderful opportunity for us to apply our theology of place.
The Bible is unique in it's emphasis upon Place: God made the Place, sustains the Place, redeems the Place, and will one day perfect the Place. The mention of all those hard to pronounce places reminds us that our faith is a 'real world religion'--it happened in actual, earthly places. Finally, even the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, enters the place. In Scripture, Christ's Church is only qualified in two ways, either "of God" or of a place, e.g. of Corinth, Thessalonica, etc.
This means as Christ-followers we are to pay attention to places, even when we're moving just five blocks away. City blocks are dense--a few blocks can equal a few thousand new people, and half-mile may feel like half a world away! And yet, we also spend the majority of our days inhabiting a finite place ("our" corner story, dry cleaners, pizza joint, etc) This is God's intention (Acts 17.26). We weren't meant to live everywhere. Nor is one church meant to be the church of "every place". Our ministry is defined by our neighborhoods, whether they be our home, work or church neighborhood. God has planned for Grace Downtown to neighbor-down at 5th and I NW, Washington, DC.
Our staff has been praying for the immediate blocks around Chinese Community Church: for the condo residents, businesses, foot traffic, homeless people, etc. And, of course for our new hosts--the CCC congregation. We want to bless this new place: the unchurched person who sees a "Grace Downtown" sign and happens in one Sunday evening; the restaurants who will begin to plan for a new "after church" crowd; the hungry walking the street desiring a meal; the parking attendant who sees us weekly. Gospel "salt" and "light" come in small, faithful, everyday ways--what we think little of, others think a lot.
And, so beginning March 4th, a new chapter in our city's story will begin, as we bring the words and deeds of Jesus to our new place. God has 'prepared good works in advance' for us to walk in. Let's keep our eyes and hearts open.