June 28, 2010
This morning marked a long awaited milestone in my church, Rockdale Baptist. This morning I felt a stronger pulse among our congregation than I’ve felt in quite a while..approximately 2 years to be exact. Don’t get my wrong. We did not die in any sense. Thanks to a strong set of deacons and elders and a faithful staff of ministers and a loyal family of members we kept on keeping on and we stayed alive. We dragged our feet a little, yes, but we stayed alive. We dropped our weekly attendance, but we kept preachin and singin just the same. We dropped our tithes a little, but we adjusted our budgets accordingly and continued to give back. We did not have a pastor, but we had some very strong leaders who stepped up to the plate and preached and led our church through it.
This morning, our pastor search team introduced us to our new pastor. I could hear our pulse get stronger. I saw our sanctuary filled from corner to corner and was glad to sit in a folding chair. I heard our choir sing out some of the most heart felt and genuine praises I could ever hope to hear. I felt the excitement and joy in the multiple standing ovations we gave first to our search team who have worked tirelessly for 2 years, then to our staff members who have sacrificed their time and energy to pick up the extra responsibilities placed on them, and finally to Billy Moss, our new senior pastor who God has provided us. For all of this, I give thanks to God. I am so proud of my church family for making it through the past 2 years and I am so excited to welcome our newest leader even though I won’t be around a whole lot to see him fill the new role. I know from experience that we will make the best of it and do what we can to follow God’s will as we have so far.
The service this morning in particular made me feel like I was back in Jamaica or in Kenya. Although I’ve always loved the worship at our church and our music ministry always does an excellent job, I have always felt so refreshed by the worship of my foreign church families. My journal entries from the Sunday in Jamaica and the Sunday in Kenya are extremely similar…
“The church service this morning was long, but really good. The music was very simple, yet so rich and meaningful. Even though the music wasn’t perfectly played and the service wasn’t our definition of smooth, the leaders were so full of joy and happy to be singing to the Lord that I hardly noticed. It was worship from the heart that was projected through the voice. They used music as an excuse to praise the Lord, instead of using praise as an excuse to play music. It was very refreshing.” -May 30
“We went to N.C.E.A Upendo Church for the dedication of the church and for worship. It took about 4 hours and was mostly in Swahili. Like at the church in Jamaica, the people were so full of joy and love as they expressed their gratitude that I didn’t need to understand the words they were saying. The words themselves were lost among the sincerity through which they were expressed. The music was acapella singing and a techno back beat which was chosen from a keyboard until he found one that fit. I would bet with confidence that you wouldn’t see that at our church back home. But I would also bet with confidence that we’re not the ones that are missing out…” -June 13th
I will say with confidence that no one at RBC this morning was missing out, however. We were blessed by some of the most genuine outpouring of worship I’ve seen there and I’ve experienced a great deal of powerful moments in that sanctuary. We were blessed by the first of many great sermons from Billy. And above all else, we were blessed by the commitments of two sinners saved by grace this morning.
I will be looking for a new church to attend in Athens and there will no shortage of options. But my family will always be at Rockdale Baptist Church in Conyers and I am so excited about what’s happening in the life of our family.
p.s. : thoughts from the pastor at Upendo: “the church is not a museum for saints. it’s a school for sinners”