Welcome to the April Fools edition of the First Church Year blog post. That might sound like something, but there really was not an April Fools component to yesterday’s church services.
Sunday school and the worship service were solid, typical times yesterday. One of the standout pieces was the opening song of the Easter drama was sung. It is really a powerful song.
Sunday night was more interesting than usual. We had the first business meeting that I have attended. What was unusual for me was the order of the service. The business portion was sandwiched by the singing and the preaching. I had never actually seen a business meeting that was followed by preaching. Maybe that should happen more often.
Following the service I spoke to a couple who are interested in beginning a small group. We both think that this is the future of some great things for our church.
The night wrapped up with several of us gathering together to watch Wrestlemania. It was a fun night of fellowship, food and fun. Unfortunately, I had to leave before it was over, so I don’t know if The Rock beat John Cena.
How was your Lord’s Day?
Today marks a special edition of First Church Year. It is the first such post to occur on Tuesday, instead of Monday. That makes it special, right? I hope that you got over to Michael Perkins The Handwritten yesterday. I hope you continue to check it out and it becomes one of your favorite blogs like it has become one of mine. Now, on with the first church year recap.
The focus on this week at church has to be three things: Sharing your faith, missions and prayer.
Our Sunday school class went in together to visit another class. The purpose of the class is to give people help in sharing their faith. Few people other than who was in our class decided to take time to spend learning how to better tell others about their life with Christ.
In both worship services, we had missionaries speak. One missionary had spent a great deal of time in Asia. The other missionaries had spent their time in Peru. It’s amazing to listen to those who have given their lives to live in another culture away from everything they know.
At 5 pm each Sunday evening, our church is gathering to pray together for our church. This Sunday our prayer focused on our future pastor, his family, the search team and the future of our church.
How was your Lord’s day this week?
What can I say about this week’s church experience that I haven’t already said?
Solid preaching from our interim pastor.
Worshipful music that leads to a corporate experience with God.
However, that isn’t what I want to focus on today.
I want to zero in on what happened after the worship service yesterday.
We had a potato/chili luncheon to raise money to send the youth to a conference.
It was fantastic to see the response of so many people bringing chili and potatoes to support the youth.
But even that isn’t what I really want to talk about.
Jan and I spent time with a couple who shared how much they led and loved the youth when they were younger. Now, some of those youth are now having children and they are loving those children. They also shared with how God has blessed them at different times in their lives.
We also got to spend time with another couple. One of them is having surgery on Friday, so we have an opportunity to pray this week for them. On a side note, they also own cattle. Growing up, my family had cattle as well. It’s great to get to know people who you have things in common with.
The bottom line is that we are truly beginning to feel connected in this church. We love it and it is becoming home.
How are things going in your church?
Unless you were off on a deep space mission this weekend, you probably know that Whitney Houston died this weekend. LL Cool J described it on the Grammy’s as a death in the family.
I read an article in a magazine discussing the secret to Eric Clapton’s success. Of course he has talent and has worked hard, but one of the main secrets to his success was the collaboration he had with other artists. The list of bands and individual artists that he has worked with was incredible.
What do these two things have in common?
Community. My One Word this year.
Whitney Houston was part of a community of artists.
Eric Clapton is part of another.
Each has had an impact far greater than they would have had individually because of the communities they were a part of.
What does that have to do with you and me? Most of you are probably followers of and believers in Christ. We belong to a far greater community than any of these others.
We belong to the Body.
We need each other.
We don’t have room for Lone Ranger Christians. As John Maxwell has said, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.”
My blogging friend, Ben Emerson, wrote a great post the other day about this. He discussed how we don’t need to interpret scripture alone. We need the group. At first I disagreed. Then I thought about it. We stand on 2000 years of interpretation. We don’t need to come in to Sunday School or Bible Study Group and all say what it means to us. We need to find out what it means. Together.
We need the corporate worship experience, not to be entertained or fed, but because we need each other.
We don’t need the singing just to pump us up. We need to sing and praise our God and Savior together.
We don’t need to just listen to a sermon. We could do that on our iPod. We need to hear it together and share the experience. We need to worship Him together in the word.
We need each other. We need to collaborate in this thing we call the Christian life. We need our brothers and sisters.
How do you collaborate in your community and part of the Body?
This Sunday brought new experiences to our journey in our first church year.
First, Sunday School was a good time. One person needed prayer and we gathered around to pray this person and their circumstance. From there, we had a lesson on unity. One thing we all agreed on is that we cannot go through this life alone.
I have a college friend who is a member of this church. She came over and talked with Jan before the service began. She was checking with Jan on her recovery from surgery a week ago.
The worship service was another good one. It was a mixture of contemporary music with some old hymns. I would give you more details, but the flow goes from one song to another. I don’t have time to stop in the middle and write down the song titles. I also don’t want to in the middle of singing.
The sermon was about the demon possessed man from Gerasenes. My friend on staff preached about how this man had a story, but had an even greater story once Jesus had healed him from the possession. The point was that we all have a story to tell as well. We all have a story that we can share with people about how we came to know Christ and what He has done in our lives.
Following the service there was a fellowship lunch. We were able to eat with the church and get a better picture of what the church is really like.
That was it for yesterday. Jan is still recovering and does not feel 100%, so we did not return last night.
How was your church service yesterday?
Please join me today in my family’s continued search for a church home.
If you have been following these adventures, you know that we visited four churches in November and December. We didn’t really set our hearts on one. We visited a couple of them a couple of times.
In January, a friend of mine was preaching at the church he is on staff at since the pastor recently resigned. An interesting thing happened. We liked the service despite having no expectations going in.
We went back the following Sunday and enjoyed it again.
This Sunday we again returned to this church. We also did something we haven’t done since August. We went to Sunday School AND returned for the Sunday night service.
So how was it?
The thing that stands out from the Sunday School class was that these people really love each other. The teaching was fine, but this group is definitely close-knit. Before going into the class, I told Jan that I was not going to say anything and just observe. If you know me, you will understand that this is extremely difficult for me to do. I love to talk about the Lord and the Bible. I failed in my goal of not saying anything.
My friend preached again on Sunday morning. He preached about God taking His people through difficult situations to get them where He wants them to be. This was something that everyone could relate to.
In the Sunday night service, a lay preacher preached. He spoke from the first nine verses of Romans and gave us eight ways to evaluate where we are spiritually, such as praying, reading the Bible, visiting orphans and widows, watching movies, tithing and watching movies. There were others, but I cannot remember them all.
So, where are in our search? Honestly, there are no other churches that we want to visit. My kids are going with the youth group to a youth conference in March. We are happy to stay here for now. We are not quite to the point of joining and we haven’t “landed” yet but we are definitely hovering.
I like this church and it has great potential to grow beyond where it is today. If things continue as they are this will probably be our new church home and I look forward to serving this church in some way.
Here is the question I want to leave you with. I plan to change my series to something like First Year In The New Church at some point. When should I make that change?
What say you?