Throughout our 20 years of marriage we’ve lived in eight different cities and bought six different houses. As we were reflecting on our rather transient lifestyle, we realized that if we had been trying to keep up that pace, we would have needed to list, sell, and move out of the house we are currently in about five months ago. We were both happy not to be packing boxes and arranging movers.
If there is one thing I’ve learned through all of our moves, it is that space matters. It influences who you are and how you interact. Kim and I started out in a “garden” (code word for basement) apartment in Chicago. It was just us and we were happy to have a small, inexpensive apartment that made it difficult to escape one another. At one point, we bought a house downstate, which had a huge yard and a large forested area behind it. Our kids spent a fair amount of time playing outdoors and exploring the “woods.” More recently, we all squeezed into a 1900 sq. ft. condo on Chicago’s northside. We learned the anxiety of having our children walk back and forth to school, chased off our friendly neighborhood grafiti artist more than once, and spent most of our time trying not to step on one another in our relatively small, open-concept living space. Now we have a larger home and instead being pushed together, we find that we have to be more intentional about being in the same room at the same time. Space matters.
At Moody Center, we’ve embraced the notion that space matters. Our goal is to enhance the natural beauty of the grounds we’ve been given and to make a place where God’s people can be refreshed, inspired, and prepared to continue the good work of the gospel. By pairing space and story, we believe we can also proclaim the gospel to those who will be confronted with the awesomeness of God’s creation at Northfield.
As we create compelling spaces, we seek to honor Dwight Moody. Our desire is not to turn the historic buildings into frozen displays that cannot be touched, but to give them new purpose. D.L. Moody was hospitable. He welcomed pastors, students, and others into his home. He strolled the property with them. What better way to encourage our fellow believers and to share the gospel with those who have yet to hear it than to walk in the grounds of Moody Center and tell the story of all that God accomplished through D.L. Moody, a man from Northfield.
JAMES SPENCER, PHD is President the D.L. Moody Center, an independent non-profit organization based in Northfield, MA, and author of Useful to God: Eight Lessons from the Life of D. L. Moody and Thinking Christian: Essays on Testimony, Accountability, and the Christian Mind