Yesterday my church celebrated five years since our charter. Five years! What a testimony to the Lord’s goodness! He has been faithful and we are so very grateful.
As I reflect on five years of the Lord’s goodness to us, I am sometimes surprised when I think of the church culture I grew up with and the sort of church I belong to now.
The two church experiences, my church past and my church present, couldn’t be more different. My church is small by most anyone’s standards. The church of my youth could well have been considered a mega church, the seventh grade Sunday school department alone larger than my current church by twice (at least). The church of my growing up years was beautifully decorated with stained glass and dark polished wood. There was an organ, the choir sang in choir robes, and men wore three piece suits. Today I worship in a former insurance office and the music consists of a guitar, a mandolin and a banjo. And a djembe. The children have Sunday school in a former doctor’s office a few doors down. We don’t even have a playground!
A couple of weeks ago we were out of town and went to church with my sister and her family. She attends one of the largest churches in the country and while the service was challenging and convicting, I felt this same sort of dichotomy. My church is not only vastly different than the church of my younger self, it also lacks many of the accoutrements that mark today’s, more hip, church experience. No light show, no fancy stage design, no drum set, no concert-like vocals, no cool graphics on the large screen.
But I love my church. I am thankful we are who we are. We are family. We are committed to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. My pastor faithfully and boldly preaches from the Word of God as the Word of God. We love each other. We know each other well enough to sometimes drive each other crazy but we decide to love each other anyway. We work through difficult issues as friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. We bear each other’s burdens, we rejoice with those who rejoice, we weep with those who weep.
I do not intend to imply that all of those things are somehow missing from the mega church of today or the church I grew up in and certainly not the church we left to begin this one. I am, however, grateful that the Lord in His providence brought us to this kind of church, a church with little to boast in but our love for the Lord and our love for each other. What grace.
I missed our celebration yesterday due to a massive headache that had me glued to the sofa and wishing to die already. Though I was bitterly disappointed to not be there to lift an Ebenezer stone as it were in acknowledgement of our faithful God, I am confident that we will continue to see the Lord’s goodness to us. Thus far the Lord has brought us, and He will continue His good work in us and through us and for us, yes and amen. I cannot wait to see what the next five years hold! To God be the glory, great things He hath done!