A Sense of Place

By Jennifer Durrett
In eLetter
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I’ve always connected really strongly with places. Places are a little like people to me—they’ve got a personality, a history, a story. There are some places I’m drawn to immediately and some that don’t ever feel quite right, even if I’m not exactly sure why. There are places I love because they feel warm and familiar, and places I love because they feel exciting and new. And then there are a handful of places that have so defined periods of my life that they are inextricably linked to my own story. One of those places is Irving Bible Church.

I came to IBC fresh out of college in 2007, accompanied by my boyfriend at the time (that boyfriend and I are celebrating ten years of marriage this fall). I had attended a smaller Methodist church my whole life and was immediately intimidated by the size of the campus. But we liked the vision and the pastors, and something just felt right so—we stayed. Looking back fifteen years later, I can see the profound impact this church has had on my life. It has grown me in my walk with Jesus, in my understanding of the Bible, and in my desire to be a part of God’s work here in the world. It’s given me some of the best friends and coworkers I could ask for. Other than getting married and having kids, being a part of IBC has shaped me more than any other experience I’ve had as an adult. I love this place.

I love the Sunday energy of Town Square and the hum of conversation at Cuppa. I love the Commons (the original!), where I jumped head first into Women's Bible Study and met some of my dearest friends; the kind you carry with you your whole life. I love the Commons (the new one!) where my kids got to experience VBS this year for the first time. I love the Alcove with its dappled light and constant plumbing sounds. I love the old Student Ministry space, where I anxiously led a new group of 8th grade girls, and where I tearfully hugged those same girls goodbye as they graduated high school five years later. I’ve loved watching my kids play happily on the Tubes. I even loved those weird doors hanging from the ceiling in Town Square for all those years.

And then there’s the Worship Center. It’s where I first heard Andy preach and knew this would be my church home. It’s where I wholeheartedly welcomed Barry as our new senior pastor, just a few months before coming on staff. It’s where I worshipped too many Sundays to count, where both of my babies were dedicated, and where I sang Advent hymns alongside women I love at Rejoice. It’s the place that felt like home when I returned after so many months of pandemic living.

But as amazing as these spaces are, they don’t hold a candle to the people. I don’t know what it is, but the people who find their way to IBC are the best, coolest, kindest people I know. The physical place has so much meaning to me because those spaces have been filled with conversations, and laughs, and tears, and hugs; life lived alongside other people who love Jesus.

It’s been a privilege to be a small part of IBC’s 60-year legacy. I love where we've been, and I love where we're headed. And while our spaces probably won't look the same 60 years from now, I'm confident that people will continue to find Jesus—and each other—there.

We’ll be celebrating 60 years of IBC on August 28 at our Family Weekend celebration. Join us for one family-friendly service at 10:45 a.m. followed by food and fun from noon-2 p.m. Check out www.irvingbible.org/familyweekend for more details!

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