One of the things I enjoy doing is meeting with people who are relatively new to First Baptist. Since switching our Sunday morning schedule last September, we’ve had a definite increase in the number of visitors, especially at the 10:30 service. I currently have 5 new member applications sitting on my desk.
I always ask relative newcomers for their impression of First Baptist, both positive and negative. You see, as “insiders,” we’re comfortable at First Baptist and consider it a friendly & welcoming place to be. But, is that the case with newcomers? You don’t know unless you ask.
Anyway, here’s something I heard recently about First Baptist: Authentic. The people of First Baptist are authentic in their relationship with God. They aren’t faking it.
Wow. Talk about warming a pastor’s heart.
What was this person’s first contact with First Baptist? It was a chance meeting with one of our members at the Harlan Library. This person was struck by the member’s compassion, sensitivity and boldness in witnessing for Christ.
That is so cool!
Of course, this is the outcome of what we learned about last Sunday: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
A person who has experienced brokenness before God will tend to be on the lookout for other broken people, and will minister to them in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what our fellow member did.
Last Sunday, I said: I don’t want First Baptist to be a proud and self-reliant church. I want First Baptist to be a broken church. A church comprised of broken people, who mourn over their sin, who are gentle with one another, who hunger for righteousness, who show kindness to the undeserving, who are pure from the inside out, and who are peacemakers.
This is the church Jesus wants.