“Topophilia.” How many times per day does that word spring from your lips?
Yesterday was the first time I heard it. You can learn more about it in this good article.
To understand Topophilia, think topography, maps, location. It refers to a strong sense of love for a particular place. Sociologists tell us that we humans transform “space” into “place” when we value a particular location, when it has impacted us in some way, when it means something to us.
That’s how I feel about our church campus at 100 Bible Center Drive in Charleston. I value these 96 acres. God continues to impact my family here in great ways. It means something to worship, learn and serve here with so many friends.
My appreciation for our church campus exponentially increased this week since all our pastors are finally based here. Pastor Bill Tanzey’s move here on Monday (with the addition of our newly renovated counseling offices), means that all 8 pastors launch their daily ministries from this address.
While quietly walking around with a notepad, the following details stirred my senses…
- The thought of even more people using the quiet, wood-paneled prayer room that overlooks the north woods.
- Seeing friends catch up on life over a cup of coffee while reclining beside the fireplace.
- Popcorn. Somebody had recently cooked a bag of popcorn. That fresh butter smell!
- Banners, flags, and stuffed wolverines in Pastor Matt Garrison’s office showcasing a Michigan team that no one else in West Virginia likes.
- Pastor Chad Cowen’s pictures of Yoda and Indiana Jones that greet you at the front door of his office.
- Pastor Lee Walker’s new glass office at the end of the hall and the sound of the other guys teasing him about needing sun tan lotion to work there.
- Pastor Robert Ballard’s posters that read, “The Best is Yet to Come,” a faith-filled theme that seems to dominate his life.
- Walking by Pastor Caleb’s office and hearing him and Pastor Robert practicing a hymn to sing together at an upcoming funeral.
- Pastor Richard Thompson’s new office adjacent to Base Camp where his Steeler’s regalia greets hundreds of children and volunteers who walk past it weekly.
- Popcorn… from where is that smell coming???
Other pictures and images continued to stir my imagination…
Slightly worn furniture where thousands of people sit each Sunday to fellowship with friends, the flurry of keyboards in our administrative office where eternal connections are being made, the flourishing green plants and the faithful volunteer who cares for them weekly, the carpet that recently needed to be replaced outside the kitchen due to the hours of foot traffic delivering coffee to all parts of the building.
Before concluding my tour, I felt a strange, spiritual invitation to walk on the stage of our children’s ministry area and pray for the hundreds of lives represented by those seats and volunteer vests. It also served as a reminder to pray for the various initiatives we have underway to bless those churches and families recently flooded out of their churches in the northern part of our county.
Although the culprit responsible for the exquisite aroma of popcorn was never revealed, yesterday served as a good reminder of how God can transform space into place because of the significance it has on our lives.
It’s nearly impossible to walk around the building and not find it being used seven days per week… and that’s a very good thing.
For the city,