I just returned home from a three-day trip to Cleveland. No, I’m not talking about the one in North Carolina, but the one in Ohio. You know, the one that is home to a beloved, yet frustrating, baseball franchise (it’s still too soon to talk about the World Series).

Cleveland is often the butt of geography jokes, so I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy my brief stay in “The Cleve”. The people I met were very friendly, plus I had a near-religious experience at my favorite Ohio-based restaurant chain, Skyline Chili. Glory!

Though my time away was fun and intellectually stimulating, I was eager to be back in North Carolina by the end of my eighth hour of travel yesterday. I missed Lisa and the kiddos. I missed sleeping in my bed. I missed home-cooked meals. I missed chatting with Lisa on the back porch.

I’m thankful that I have a place to call home.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about our church. Every Sunday becomes my new favorite week. We’re meeting new people all the time, our children and student ministries are growing like crazy, and people are finding new life in Jesus–life is good!

I believe the primary reason people are showing up to The Church @ Clayton Crossings every week is because they’ve found, in our church, a place to call home. The people who form this church have become family to me and to people who are discovering (or rediscovering) C@CC each week. I’m crazy about you, and I’m thankful that you put up with me.

Since our church is home, let me share with you the top seven things that are best experienced in your church home. At C@CC, you’ll find:

  1. A place to relax. You don’t need to dress up or talk any differently around here. You can be who you are, no matter where you are on your journey to becoming the man or woman God created you to be.
  2. A place to be loved. We know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally–you’ll receive the same kind of acceptance and love here.
  3. A place to learn. Think about all the things you learned how to do at home: ride a bike, tie your shoes, feed yourself. You’ll learn new things about yourself as we help you explore God’s purpose for your life.
  4. A place to experience grace. We believe it’s OK to not be OK, but it’s not OK to stay that way. We all mess up, but grace allows for imperfections as we learn to live God’s way. The gift of salvation through Jesus is the grace most loudly proclaimed here.
  5. A place to welcome guests. Growing up, my house was the “cool house” among my circle of friends. We strive to be friendly, we make sure the place is clean, and we try to not be weird. We honor our guests and want them to come back!
  6. A place to serve others. We serve not out of a sense of obligation, but out of love. Family members enjoy meeting each other’s needs.
  7. A place to grow up. My parents didn’t raise me to live in their house forever. At The Church @ Clayton Crossings, we want to equip you to do whatever God created you to do, even if that’s in another place. We celebrate maturity and obedience!

We are family, and our church is home. That’s not an aspirational statement; it’s a factual statement. Consider inviting someone to join you this Sunday morning. Just like you did, I bet they’ll find a place to call home.

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8 HCSB


What I need to remember:

  • THE EMPTY CHAIR – NEW SERMON SERIES BEGINS THIS SUNDAY. An empty chair represents an unfulfilled opportunity. We’ll spend a couple of weeks talking about the ways God wants to use us to point people to Him.
  • EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 16. Easter is a big day at The Church @ Clayton Crossings. To help us make room so that even more people can hear about the good news of Jesus, please consider attending the 9:00am service on April 16. Thanks for living like a missionary!


What I’m reading:
Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture by Mark Miller
Fathered By God by John Eldredge (I recently recommended this book to a friend who later called to tell me how much it impacted his life. I figure it’s worth reading again…)

What I’m listening to:
“Oh God” by Citizens & Saints
“Come to the River” by Brandon Lake
“Casey Neistat Style” playlist on Spotify (my go-to playlist when I’m writing)

About me:
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.

Let’s be friends:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jtsandersiii
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jtsanders3