I'm absolutely in love with my church family!
Although I've attended a number of different churches in my life, I really only consider two as home churches. Coincidentally, they are the only two churches I've also ever joined as a member. The first one is the small country church I grew up in so many years ago. On a good Sunday, we'd have 60 people in attendance to collectively love each other and worship a most deserving God. Even today, almost 30 years later, I still consider the people from that church very much family. I look forward to seeing many that have gone on again one glorious day. I will shake the hand of Mr. Rutlege and thank him very sincerely for the heartfelt prayers he would often open or dismiss services with each Sunday. When he spoke, both humility and reverence exuded from his baritone voice in a manner I've yet to find a match. I will look for Preacher Fleenor to thank him for taking a personal interest in a cocky, green teenager who needed far more Jesus and far less of himself. I will hug Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Conant in appreciation for numerous Sunday School lessons they taught me over the years with diligence and a lot of patience. Just to name a few...
The church I attend today is equally special to me. While God is most assuredly the common denominator between these two special churches, there are the people who have chosen to express and share His love evidently present in both Houses too. My current place of gathering in His name is somewhat larger...but no less comfortable. Active but unassuming...in a humble manner. We start both worship services each week with a 'reconnect time' of alter prayer to prepare our hearts and minds for worship, praise and reception of His word and Spirit.
No one will be surprised when I say Baptist churches can be somewhat stiff and a little formal. Honestly, we too suffer from a degree of that culture in our services, but God seems to understand and visits with us each week despite our self-imposed aloofness. He's been chuckling at Baptist for many years now and loves us none the less...and we love Him.
We sing praises in worship each week to Him in a number of styles and techniques. In one service each week, yours truly bangs out rhythms on the drums with our Praise Team in my own unique way of worship. I'm thankful for the talent He gave me and only use it in His name these days.
Our pastor is a gifted speaker who takes the role God has placed him in very seriously. The church leadership is very focused on our purpose in the Kingdom always maintaining a healthy balance between responsible stewardship of what God has blessed us with and reckless dedication to faithfully do what we have been called to do...in spite of traditions and dogma.
But the single characteristic ever-present is love...for each other, for those not yet a part of His body, and always for Him.
Through the powers of YouTube, here's a recent Sunday service: