Places to Visit: Our survey trip had two purposes to it 1) Is this a suitable place for my family to live 2) is this a key place to plant a church. With these two goals in mind we had many places that we wanted to visit and gain information from a first hand source.
First, let’s deal with family. Here are some question to ask:
-What is the atmosphere of the city?
-How expensive is the city and area?
-What is the weather like?
-Where would you live?
-What can you get/not get in the city?
-What might make things harder/easier?
As you think through these questions and many others also ask yourself, “can and will my family adapt to ‘this situation'”. Be honest.
Application: We visited realtors to ask pricing of houses in the area and even asked to see an apartment for rent on the 30 floor of a building (partly to see a house in the area and partly to see a good view of the area to help identify where other housing complexes are).
We visited large shopping areas, restaurants, parks, places of tourism and fun, all things that would help us get a feel for the city as in a “family life” sense.
Second, is there a key area to plant a church? Ask some question:
-Where are the people?
-Where do they live, play, go to school?
-Where are the universities and middle schools?
-Where is a possible rental location?
-Do you notice “chain restaurants/stores” in close proximity?
As you ask these questions and many more, realize that anywhere could use a church, but what is the best place for you to start a church based on your mission.
Application: We arrived in the city but were in the commercial area of town. It took a while to find out where the main residential area was. We had to get high! We went up a sightseeing tower and could see all sides of the city and that helped us align our focus to a certain area. Throughout the day, we went to the top of two buildings and up a glass elevator to get a better view of what was around us.
Also, we visited a local government church and Christian bookstore to inquire about buying bibles, which we confirmed was possible to buy (as well as a large selection of Christian books).
I will also need a visa, thus we visited two schools to inquire about the possibility of a foreigner taking Chinese language classes to obtain a visa. There seemed to be a good and easy possibilities for this. We also saw a ferry that visited a neighboring country, which we hope could be used for “visa runs”.