I grew up in smaller churches. I served in a smaller church. We never needed small groups; the whole congregation was a small group. The families knew each other, the kids played together and we’d never been introduced to deconstructionist theology; we simply believed the Bible to be infallible and inerrant. The fellow Christians with whom I served likewise didn’t know better than to confess to one another and pray together earnestly. It never occurred to me to view my faith as anything other than vibrant and alive as a child and young man. Our Wednesday night meetings were several congregational songs followed by the whole church coming forward to the dais, sitting in the first few pews for those who were older, sitting or kneeling at the altar to share prayer requests aloud with one another and then spend time as first one person and then another prayed for the requests aloud with one designated member closing the prayer meeting. Singing and praying; it was a series of events enjoined in devotion and sincerity that I can only now begin to appreciate.
As a child my mother would put me to bed, read a chapter from the King James version of the Bible and then pray with me every night that I remember. As I grew towards my teens I remember devouring the Bible from the NIV that Terrel Littrel gave me. In my teens I remember reading Piers Anthony or Edgar Rice Burroughs books at night listening to KZ-106 on huge headsets only to roll out of bed the next morning to hit my knees beside my bed and begin praying for the needs I’d put into my prayer notebook so that I could track them faithfully, watching for God’s involvement and answers. I was by no means a perfect person or Christian but in current parlance I was pretty straight edged. In the 80’s I probably would have been an uptight dweeb; a Christian nerd perhaps. My vice was cursing and for those who were party to it I can only apologize.
When I joined with Tim & Matt at Maple Springs I was a young man but I’d been a Christian for over a decade. We attended Tn Temple University and Bryan College, worked jobs and made time to serve God and that congregation. That time at Maple Springs was powerful and humbling. It was not a place I would have chosen to attend or work except for the power of God and the sincerity and devotion we shared. I made mistakes and poor choices but I know the Spirit of God was active in people’s lives, mine included.
Now we’re encountering growth personally and in our family at Silverdale. God has placed this body of believers so that it has an opportunity to minister to many people. I’m not a fan of large churches in the least. Given the membership at Silverdale I’m surprised that we’ve found a home here. Cindee wanted to try it while I liked the preaching of a smaller Presbyterian church but I’ve been blessed by the ministry and seen myself transformed through our involvement. I never thought I would find the sincerity and passion for Jesus that were the hallmarks of my youth in such a large congregation but from the small groups we’ve been associated with to the people with whom we’ve worked there is a solid belief in Biblical authority. Some who know me know how very much I don’t take pleasure in corporate worship. I’ve always acknowledged that God deserves it and that it obviously speaks to many people but I’ve never been moved by corporate worship services. If given the opportunity I’d prefer to walk into some place, have someone open the Bible and preach exegetically with the power of God for the better part of the service. If the person could weave the story of Jesus from Job to Revelation so much the better. With that as my backdrop I can only say that I’ve felt the power of God move through the corporate worship since we’ve started attending here. I’m humbled at how God is worshipped and magnified by the body of believers and I appreciate that change.
With all that, my experience from a child up through my current experience within the local body of Christ to which I belong, I can say that our church is making some choices that we believe to be under God’s direction. I’m on board with most of them but I still am conflicted about some of them. I want some clear direction from God on how He would have me to move in regard to these changes. If you pray for folks, put me on your list. I seek clarity, direction and peace from God about the growth of our church and the two issues that cause me concern. Having seen firsthand how God transforms people and events I hope that either He changes my mind about some things, gives me peace that I can drop these issues at His feet and not fight these battles or else leads our family to a place where we can be as blessed and happy as we’ve been here.