California is an island… and I’m not the first person to say it.
If you’ve ever been to California, then you know it’s expansive. California is so big, in fact, that it can feel as though it’s three entirely different states. Southern California is dominated by Los Angeles and the beach cities found up and down the coast. I’m always entertained when I’m watching Lakers games and I see cutaway shots from the Staples Center fading into shots of the Hollywood sign (11 miles… 40 minutes in traffic), Santa Monica Pier (14 miles… 55 minutes in traffic), Universal Studios (10 miles… 35 minutes in traffic) or Disneyland (28 miles… 1 hour 40 minutes in traffic). These places are nowhere near each other… yet, those are the images we think of when we think of LA and Southern California.
Northern California is a whole different ball game. The state capitol building is a 385 mile drive north from Los Angeles, the population hub of the entire state. The rest of the country might not know this… but there are 300 miles of California freeway between Sacramento and the state border with Oregon. That’s 4 and a half more hours of driving through Northern California past the state capitol. In Northern California, there are frequent conversations about how much better the state would be if it was divided in half. And, for the record, people in the “real” Northern California don’t consider the Bay Area as a part of the NorCal family.
There are times when I wonder if those facts play into the fact that church leaders in California don’t network well with those to the East of us.
We tend to think that our island is so unique that what you’re doing in Ohio, Texas, New York, Tennesee or Georgia can’t speak into what we face when it comes to the trials and tribulations of ministering to kids and their families.
So, I need your help… if you live in California, and are in active ministry, get over yourself and start connecting with leaders in other states. If you live outside of California, please find and adopt a west coast leader into your circle of friends. They need your voice in the conversation – even if they don’t know it yet!