MINNEAPOLIS, MN (June 2, 2015) — Sure, someone who has read the best-selling book or popular blog of a mega-church pastor might decide to travel across several states to visit the awe-inducing campus.
But for a couple in their mid-60s who claim no religious faith to board a plane in Boston and fly to Minneapolis for the sole purpose of attending the Sunday service of a new church, led by a pastor with no best-selling book—that’s something different.
So Steve Wiens, pastor of Genesis Covenant Church, was stunned but thrilled when he received an email last fall from a woman named Mary who wrote, “Would you mind if my husband Lee and I came to Minnesota to visit Genesis? Lee hasn’t ever been on an airplane before and neither one of us are connected in any real way to a church. But we have been reading your blog and listening to the podcasts, and we’d like to see it in person.”
Mary had started reading Wiens’s blog after one of his posts went viral and one of her children sent it to her. She then began listening to his sermons. Shortly after she sent the email, Mary and Lee visited the church. They returned a second time last month.
During their first visit, Wiens met with the couple. He later wrote in the Northwest Conference newsletter, “I heard their story of pain and hope. They are on a sacred and beautiful journey with God.”
Wiens and Mary have emailed back and forth roughly once a week since then. In the newsletter he shared a portion of an email from several months ago. Mary wrote:
So I’ve been struggling since Christmas with the whole “long distance relationship” thing. As I write this it just makes me smile…it seems so dramatic! But honestly, I am so grateful to have found you and the Genesis community. On the flip side, it’s so bittersweet; you are all so far away! A few weeks ago in your sermon you asked, “What is your favorite memory of Christ?” My response… “I don’t have one, I don’t even know him.” Ha!
I’m not the type of person that sits around and stews, so I decided I needed to get more proactive (again) and find a place for us to go to church. Now mind you, I’ve been looking for a long time. What we experience with Genesis is something we have not had in 30 years…can you imagine, 30 years?
I found a church I could walk to in Boston…nice, big, great location and it appears to serve the community well. The sermon, well, there really wasn’t one. The priest talked about the “Sword in the Stone” and it lasted all of 10 minutes. I had a hard time holding it together, a tougher time not crying. I just wanted to yell, “Stop, tell me about this ‘person’ Christ that I can barely imagine, never mind feel connected to!”
So…thank you for your sermons, the care and time you give to them. I feel like I’m a kid again, learning, and hopefully will feel more and more connected to Christ as time goes on. Heaven knows I’m seeing him everywhere, especially at Genesis.
Mary and Lee saw Wiens in person again last month when they made their second trip to visit the church.