When I was a girl, my family attended a small Reformed church made up of a handful of members, most of whom were white-headed and stooped with age. At one point, the "youth group" consisted of only four children - myself and my three siblings. Not the most exciting gathering on Sundays!
The church on the highway, however, was busting at the seams. With an awesome new facility and exciting programs, it was definitely the "in" church for area teenagers. Longing to be among more kids my own age, I asked Mom, "Why can't we go to that church? The kids there have so much fun. They get to watch movies and have game nights and take trips together. Our church is so boring!"
I'm almost 50 years old now, and I still remember my Mom's answer. "Camille, we go to this church because we want you to hear and learn the truth. I'm sorry church here isn't much fun. But knowing what's true is more important than anything else, even more important than church being fun."
That little church we attended, where I first heard the gospel and learned of the loving grace of a sovereign God, eventually died out. Completely. Closed its doors. The hundred-year-old building, where eternal truths had been so valued, has been empty for thirty years now, except for a short stint when it was rented for use as a wedding chapel. I guess truth didn't really matter more than fun after all.
God is holy, just, righteous, pure, terrible, gracious, sovereign, ...and, more and more, I am seeing that God has an amazing ability to delight with unexpected twists of humor. The church I now attend - Grace Community Church - began meeting two years ago in an empty Jewish Community Center. When God provided this building for our needs, we couldn't have been more delighted. Telling others about our new church, I couldn't help but smile when it came to, "We meet in the Jewish Community Center." How absolutely perfect.
But we outgrew that facility. It seems sound doctrine does matter after all. People are hungry for the gospel, needing to hear that God loves and calls and effectually saves sinners. They are tired of working so hard to be good enough, but always falling short of the mark. People are starving for grace. White-haired people and teenagers, newly-weds and college students, couples with babies and single moms, even fifty-year-old women.
So, as we grew cramped in our first facility, our leadership began searching for another place to meet. They searched for months. And months. Suitable property, we quickly learned, was too expensive for us to buy, and not often available to rent. Every property that came on the radar proved un-doable. So we prayed and we waited and we kept cozying up in the Jewish Community Center. Everyone kept looking and asking around and hoping something would come available soon. And it did - last month. God had a particular building in mind just for us, and I think He was smiling when He picked it out.
August 29th, after weeks of cleaning and painting and pruning shrubs, Grace Community Church met to worship for the first time in our new location - the very same, hundred-year-old building where I attended church as a child. Where I learned of God's amazing grace, and where I first professed faith in Christ. Where I grew up hearing and learning the truth.
We have room, now, room to stretch and grow! Room for a nursery and space for our toddlers to play. Plenty of room for the middle kids, and our highschoolers have their very own classroom, too. We have a kitchen and a fellowship hall, and have already put them to use for our first fellowship dinner. We are so grateful for this facility God has provided our young church! (Click here to check it out at Grace's website.)
Wednesday night, my little niece handed me a flyer about a new children's club starting at the church out on the highway. She had attended a revival there recently, and then been sent out to invite others to the church. "What's this about?" I asked as I read through the flyer.
"It's a new kids' club at the ----- Church," this eight-year-old answered.
"What kind of club?"
"Well, it's for kids, and we're going to be meeting once a week to do all kinds of fun things. We're going to have games, and one night we get to watch a movie, and we're even going to go camping."
"That does sound fun," I agreed. "What will you be learning at this club?"
"Huh?" She made a funny face. "Learning? I don't know. This is just for fun!" She bounced off with her fistful of flyers.
Well, friends, we've got our work cut out for us - Let's go share some truth. Something tells me, this is where the fun really begins!
3 months ago