As most of you know, Cyndy and I are “This Is Us” fans. My favorite character in the show is Randall. Randall, an African American, is adopted into a middle-class white family with a set of twins born on his birth date! They are triplets but he’s a different color. Throughout the show one of the key theme’s is Randall’s struggle to find his place.


In this week’s show, season 3, episode 2, we see Randall, as an adult, working in a rough, all-black neighborhood trying to give back. Trying to improve this neighborhood. But also trying too hard to fit in. At one point, one of the locals confronts him about his need to fix everything. She wonders why he can’t just accept the way things are. And then she asks: “Why are you doing this? You don’t live in this neighborhood? You’re not one of us?” She tells him to go back to his side of the tracks! Ouch! As the show continues we see Randall continue to struggle with his place in this world. (Read more about this episode here) {}


I’m not sure why, but I really resonate with Randall’s struggle. I don’t know if it is because I was a PK and moved a lot, or if it’s because I was number 7 out of number 8 in my family’s birth order, of if it’s simply because I’m a human being! But the truth is that I’ve always struggled with place.Confession time here: my first contemporary Christian song that made me cry was Michael W Smith’s “My Place in this world!”

Here’s a retro clip of the song...(spoiler alert: Michael’s early 90’s hair is something else…enjoy!)

If there are millions; Down on their knees

Among the many; Can you still hear me


Hear me asking; Where do I belong?

Is there a vision; That I can call my home


I found my place, my vision, my home, in and through the life and story of Jesus.   I found my place, my vision, my home in and through the life and work of the church.  And I am passionate about helping churches and people find that place as well.  

When I think about place and the church, my mind often travels back to the first church I served full time.  Their fellowship hall was in the basement.  And in that basement, that held 100 folks, there were exactly two electrical outlets!   Unfortunately, some churches are like that when you look at their access points for ministry.   They don’t have enough outlets, or ways for people to plug-in.  And what’s worse, some of those outlets have secret codes to them that only the “inside” know how to access.

One of the goals we have at Bear Creek UMC, is to expand the number of ways folks can plug-in to our ministries.  To expand the ways people can “find place, vision, and home” here at Bear Creek.   A big part of that ministry involves our new Congregational Assistant, Danielle Walsh.  One of the ways Danielle has started to help folks plug in is that she is doing individual interviews with folks.  Trying to understand their passions, their gifts, and their struggles so we can help them get plugged in to Bear Creek UMC in meaningful ways. 

My hope and prayer is that God will use Bear Creek UMC and all of it’s ministries to help folks find their place in this world.

Your friend and pastor, wondering if that 90’s hairstyle would work on me, Brook

Tim Schaaf