Back in November 2008, I wrote about the sudden and remarkable formation of a Reformed church plant in Union City. Last night, Grace Community Church made the transformation from "mission" status to that of a particular church. What a wild and exciting ride these past several months have been! What amazing things God has done on behalf of this body!
Last night's service was actually a mega-service, combining three distinct procedures. First, our congregation became a particular church within the Presbyterian Church of America. Second, our very first ruling elders were ordained and installed. And finally, Billy McGarity was ordained a pastor in the PCA and installed as our teaching elder. You can imagine this was a lengthy process, involving the proclamation of much Scripture and a great deal of prayer. Very serious charges were given - to the congregation, to the session, and to Brother Billy. Very serious vows were taken on the part of each.
The wife of one of our new elders told this story afterward. "Brady (a young boy) was sitting beside me, and he began to understand this wasn't just a regular church service. 'What's going on,' he asked, 'Is it somebody's birthday or something?' 'Yes,' Melissa whispered, 'It's the birthday of the church. Listen and watch and you can see it being born!'"
Her words to young Brady capture the excitement we all felt last night - the birthday of a church!
A ninety-year-old member of our new little church beamed during the celebration afterward, "Oh, the delight of being in a room full of God's people!" For twenty-five years, this gentleman prayed for a Reformed church in Union City - such faithfulness, to persevere in prayer for so long a time. And then, finally, to see his prayers answered! Reminds me of Simeon, in Luke chapter 2!
I am eager to see what God has planned for this new body in the months and years to come, and I pray that we will celebrate every new "birthday" by faithfully proclaiming the excellencies of Christ.
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