People need to hear the words “I love you.” I try and tell my wife and kids I love them every day. The phrase is bigger than just a superficial recognition. It’s a phrase used to express a covenant commitment in the relationship. Churches are no different.
Here are ten things I love about my church. These items are not the only things I love, just things that are stirring in me right now.
- Uncool – Now some people might take issue with this, thinking they are cool when they are really not, but I genuinely love the fact that we are not hip, trendy, laser loving, and a smoke machine driven church. Don’t get me wrong, we have some cool and fun people to be around, but it’s hard making liturgy cool. For me, it’s being drawn into the ancient, the stuff the church has been doing for thousands of years, the ordinary means of grace that makes us cool. The reading of scripture, preaching of the Word, baptism, the Lord’s supper, and discipline are counter cultural to where many churches are headed, but for us, it’s a desired sweet spot.
- Multi-generational – I love the fact when I bring my kids to church, they are surrounded by people who have been here for thirty years and are in their 80’s and some who have just been here for a few that are in their 20’s. We are a diverse body that hasn’t narrowed in on a specific age group, demographic, or socio-economic class, but is rather pursuing gospel-centered community that transcends age and differences.
- Staff – I love my staff. They are an eclectic bunch made up of introverts and extroverts and every known combination of Meyers Brigs you can think of. They are for collaboration and willing to stick it out and work through the hard things. They are supportive of one another, open, and understand we are all on the same team. They are willing to do what it takes, stay the extra hours, and pursue excellence not for the sake of excellence, but because Christ has excellently served us. I am grateful for all of them.
- Elders – Almost five years ago, when our family moved to serve as the Senior Pastor here, it was partly because of the Elders and the wisdom that comes with the counsel of many. They have kind and understanding hearts. They are open to change and willing to do whatever it takes to see people reached with the gospel and grow in their relationship. They are some of the most committed and forgiving men I have ever served with.
- Confession of Sin and Prayer – I see this on a weekly basis, God’s people gathering to confess where they are weak, to pray with one another in the services and in their Care Groups, bearing one another’s burdens and seeking the presence of the Lord together.
- High view of Scripture – We believe in the inerrant, infallible, and sufficient Word of God. In some circles we’d be called fundamentalists, and maybe that’s true, but at least we are not mad about it.
- High view of Church Membership – It’s true denominationalism as a whole is in decline, and church’s seem to minimize membership at every turn. I’m thankful that our church want’s to belong to a community that goes beyond a Sunday morning experience. That we are committing to one another as a family, as a husband and wife do at the marriage alter, for better or worse, till death separate us. It’s about belonging, taking care of, and being committed to one another.
- Liturgy – Liturgy is not something usually associated in Baptist circles, but I have to admit, I love the familiarity of opening and closing the service reading Scripture. I love the regular practice of baptism and the Lord’s supper. I love the intentionality in connecting the songs we sing to the message being preached. I love the familiar.
- Ordinary – In the day and age of bigger is better, do extra-ordinary things for God, I’m glad to belong to a group that understands that it’s okay to be called into ordinary acts of extraordinary faithfulness. These acts of faithfulness embodied in the stay at home moms who change diapers and care for their children, the families who go out to serve their neighbors by mowing their grass, or helping with plumbing problems. They are embodied in the parents who work 40-50 hours a week to provide for their families and then come home at night to play with their kids or coach their soccer teams. Most of our people will never be known in the history books as doing BIG things for God and their names will never be great, but they understand that God has ordained the ordinary moments of life to give extraordinary means of grace.
- Laughter – Whether it’s a deacon’s or elder’s meeting, a staff meeting, or Sunday morning service, there usually involves someone smiling and laughing. My church is a place of joy and lots of smiles. Sure we have hard things we deal with from time to time, but they always seem to remember that Jesus died to deliver me from my sorrows and has called me to walk in joy and life, and that includes lots of genuine smiles.
I love you Ovilla Road and am honored to be your Pastor.