I remember being horrified when some of the buildings in our neighborhood started getting covered with this weird, quasi-artistic fabric. I assumed Crystal City was trying to turn eyesores into art but couldn’t figure out why they were broadcasting just how many buildings in our neighborhood were sitting empty! And then I learned it was all connected to Amazon’s search for a second headquarters. Crystal City was putting together what a lot of people saw as a long shot bid to bring HQ2 to our little part of the world. Turns out it wasn’t such a crazy idea after all and Amazon’s moving into the neighborhood!
This is a really big deal for our city, our neighborhood, and for us at Restoration City Church. Only time will tell exactly how this will impact our church but as one of a very small number of churches that gather in the Crystal City/Pentagon City area, it’s going to have a big impact on us. No doubt we’ll face some challenges (I suspect our rent is going up!) but HQ2 also presents us with tremendous opportunities.
At the very least, Jeff Bezos picking Crystal City should impact how we think about our neighborhood and city. It’s no secret that Crystal City has had a bit of a self esteem problem for a long time – it’s hard not to when your claim to fame is an underground shopping mall! Not only have we not been the trendiest neighborhood in DC but DC in general doesn’t always have the best reputation as a place to live. People come here for their careers but it often seems like they’re counting the days until they leave from the moment they arrive. Sometimes that’s just a function of being stationed at the Pentagon, which always comes with an end date. Cost of living is a big and understandable part of it. Kids frequently take the blame for it, “Yeah, this place is great for now but when we have kids we’re out of here.”
In all honesty, it’s been a long time since this felt like a place where people are excited to live. I know I’ve felt that as a church planter – people are happy to have found a good place to go to church while they’re in DC but, man, they can’t wait to go back home. So, it’s a massive boost to our collective psyche to have Amazon pick this place! Truth be told, DC really is a great place to call home and Crystal City is worth getting excited about – our church loves gathering here and Laura and I love raising our family inside the beltway. It just feels really good to see other people getting excited about a place I really love.
HQ2 also means there are going to be a tremendous number of people moving into the neighborhood. We’ve always cared about serving our community and loving our neighbors – this just means there are going to be so many more to serve! We’ll be talking more about this on Sunday but God has given us the privilege and the responsibility of being Christ’s ambassadors in this neighborhood. He put us here in Crystal City just over 4 years ago at a time when no one really cared about Crystal City. In fact, there were plenty of well intentioned people who told me we were making a mistake meeting here. But God has always had a purpose for us in this neighborhood. I sure didn’t know HQ2 was part of it, but He did. There’s not a chance in the world we’re going to watch this pitch go by, Restoration City. We need to recommit ourselves to loving our community, having an undeniably positive impact on our neighborhood and pointing people to Jesus. God has us here for a reason!
This is a really big day for our city and it’s a really big day for our church. Let’s be praying the Lord will give us the grace we need to navigate all of this well in the months and years to come.