Today, I’m feeling led to get caught up on some of the story of our family’s adventure. I’m going to take advantage of the lovely schedule post function here on WordPress and hopefully get several pieces put together today, and scheduled to post over the next couple days, God willing. We’ll see how it goes. So first off, back to the interesting discoveries in the churches we have gone to. I already shared in God Talk: The Adventure – One of those days that our second Sunday was a little more adventuresome than we would have liked. So, instead of visiting a church, as we’d anticipated, we stayed home and had church together. That was interesting and lovely, but probably not a focus for the blog just yet.
So, the following Sunday, we determined on a take two of where we had planned to visit. I jokingly told Corey that if we woke up unable to go to church again on Sunday morning, I was just going to take that as a message that we were to skip Trinity Tabernacle here in Jasper. I was delighted however when we got up and all seemed well for heading out that beautiful Sunday morning. We let Jordan sleep in that day, which is a rarity. But he’d had a camping trip with his youth group that Friday, youth later on that Sunday, and was feeling pretty worn out from a busy weekend. I told him that this once, since he’d had quite a lot of time learning about God with other folks, he could stay home if he chose. It’s a rare thing he actually takes advantage of such an offer.
Corey and I headed out for Trinity, a beautiful church that is non-denominational from what I can tell, and a little off the beaten track here in Jasper. It’s on a small side road that turns off the main highway through the newer side of town. I’d never actually been down that road that I recall. We arrived at our destination, and the grounds of the church were green and the building was quite beautiful. The people were tremendously friendly when we walked in the door. And I slid my shoes off as we slid into a pew.
The service started with music, a little country in sound and a mix of old hymns and more contemporary pieces. All of them sung with a rich blend of voices from the stage and the congregation, and a beautiful enthusiasm from God. All the kids sat down in the row in front, and seemed a little startled when I walked down the row to shake their hands during the visiting time churches always seem to have. Then we enjoyed some more music as the gentleman who did the announcements settled into row in front of us. I couldn’t help but smile when he put his hand in the air, and proceeded to dance a little and call out praises in the middle of the words.
The pastor preached a good, Scripture-based word about all of us being called. He was pretty new to his position there (hired less than a month ago). I took a lot of notes on his message. After the service was over, I hunted down a visitors card to fill out for them. And on Wednesday, the pastor graciously called the house to see if there was anything he could pray about for us. Kinda cool actually. Overall, it was a service filled with potential. Which I suppose is an odd word to use. But, it gave the sense that God was moving quietly, kind in a preparatory mode, while He waits on the people to catch whatever His vision is for that place. It also had the sense that the people there were actively seeking to catch that vision, though, which makes my heart happy. I have too often seen the potential without the desire to meet it in churches.
It was a lovely church. At the same time, I am supposed to be looking at what is missing, and as with the first church we visited, people seems to be the answer there. The congregation looked to be about 100 folks, which isn’t too shabby numbers wise, but the sanctuary was obviously built for a much larger congregation. I’d guess they, as many churches have, have lost close to half their numbers somewhere along the way. They had a good solid mix of ages there, don’t get me wrong. But, there seems to be a need for growth, and better ways to let people know who and where they are among the churches here. Not sure yet what that observation means for future endeavors, or the insight this journey is supposed to provide. And people was not the sort of missing element I was expecting when I had that vague instruction to look for what was missing. We’ll see what God does with all that when we get to the end of the year. For now, I pray God’s blessing and continued guidance on Trinity Tabernacle, and their new pastor as they seek to grow into the vision He has called them to.
Be blessed and be a blessing.