This past weekend my family began our lives in our new home: Ventura, California. I talked about the decision process in yesterday’s post.
Today I thought I’d share some of the specific things that drew our hearts to Ventura:
Focus on Life-change – This past Sunday 40 people were baptized. The church emphasizes the small group ministry to encourage true life-change. There are several mission opportunities around the world and in the community for everyone, every year.
Daniel & Lori Hahn (pastor and his wife) – During our initial visit Ginger & I first went to Daniel & Lori’s home. We all sat on their back patio (65 degrees) and had some great conversation while sampling from a tray of cheeses and grapes. They made us feel genuinely cared for and as Ginger said “they’re just plain cool”.
Church Leadership – We meet all of the elders, several staff members (led by Jack Monroe – Executive Pastor), and many of their wives. They were incredibly kind people whom Ginger and I felt an immediate connection. We sensed these are people we would enjoy “doing life with”.
Healthy Relationship Culture – Ginger and I were both extremely encouraged by the health of the people. The people seemed to be successful in their career pursuits with a healthy relationship with God and the church. (Often there is a guilt motivation or over-dependence by staff/volunteers in churches.) People hug, eat dinner in each other’s homes, and seem to value authentic relationships.
Incredible Weather – Virtually EVERYDAY the weather is between 60-70 degrees and sunny. Seriously! The city is on the coast and surrounded by mountains. Beautiful climate providing incredible weather.
Area Attractions – Ginger & I were overwhelmed with all of the places to go with our family. Ventura is 30 miles north Malibu and 30 miles south of Santa Barbara. Disney Land is relatively close. LA with unlimited shows, sporting events, restaurants, shopping is 90 minutes away. A short drive from skiing, national parks, Las Vegas, forests, desserts, etc. Plus, Ventura has many family friendly parks! Did I mention the beach?
Who I Could Become – This was undoubtedly the biggest factor! I’m trying to teach our kids this principle: “Your friends are a preview of the future you.” As I prayed about who I want to become as a follower of Christ, a husband, father, and pastor it was clear that the team at Ventura are people who most resembled who I want to become.