Dear Child of Ours,
Sunday, June 29th, 2014 was your Daddy’s first week in the pulpit as Senior Pastor of Monroe Free Methodist Church. We spent the week preparing the sanctuary, arranging volunteers, setting the worship order, and praying. Wednesday morning was our first church event and we saw many former friends at prayer meeting. That evening we hosted a “meet and greet” for anyone interested in getting to know more about the new pastor and his wife and wondering what we’ve been up to for the past three years. Kevin and I both had time to talk to just about everyone who attended and we left feeling like the event was a success – rekindled relationships, stories of honesty exchanged, fun times had.
On Saturday night, just before going to sleep, we found a wonderful email in our inboxes written by one of our FM pastor-mentors:
May the Holy Spirit rest on you tomorrow as your people gather to worship. May His Presence bring healing and joy and unity to the Monroe church. And may He give you every gift needed to serve those good people, and serve the Lord.
And a friend from our Albion church posted this on my Facebook status (which, by the way, received over 115 “likes” making us feel extremely loved and supported):
If he starts with the sermon he left on, he sets a very high bar for himself. That was a fantastic message. Tell him not to be anxious. Your congregation is blessed, even if they don’t know it yet.
All that to say we went in to our first Sunday service bathed in prayer, by these and many others. What a tremendous blessing.
Your Daddy and I knelt at the altar together hours before the service, taking time to consecrate ourselves, our congregation, and the worship service to the Lord.
Looking back on the hour of congregational worship, there were plenty of “technical issues” that could have gotten in the way. But God was glorified, hearts were open and responsive. The people sang corporately with me leading on keyboard and I was encouraged by their participation. Kevin arranged for two other lay people to read passages from the week’s lectionary, and we found out later than one of the readers felt so convicted by the Scripture they were reading that they could barely get through it. What a moment of the Spirit! The sermon was beautiful and heartfelt, stirring in quite a few of our hearts. What a great thing seeing two people respond to an altar call of surrender, indicating the congregation’s openness to the work of the Lord.
The feedback we received from various attendees was very positive and we spent the next seven hours of our drive to Greenville, Illinois talking about church stuff and reflecting on OUR FIRST SUNDAY.
We can’t wait for you to join us in the pews, Little One.