Welcome to my blog. Now that’s a sentence I didn’t see coming. For those of you who were on my e-mail list, I hope you can make the transition from receiving to logging on and reading. We made this change so that I can write what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it and so that you can log on to our web site and have another option for finding out what’s going on.
When I was a boy growing up in Oklahoma, I went to church every week. I went to Sunday school, Sunday morning worship, Sunday night youth group, Sunday night church, and Wednesday night Bible study (wow – that sounds like a lot!). I didn’t go to a big church. The truth is I have no real idea how many people attended my home church. That’s just not something that ever entered my mind. But I have a very good memory of who attended my church.
I remember Mary Bonawit who always had a smile on her face and who had a heart for foreign missions. She was instrumental in helping Vijay and Pushpa Lall get the support they needed to start the Mid-India Christian Mission (several years later one of their sons would found the Central India Christian Mission, and Mount Pleasant Christian Church would become his living-link in the states).
I remember Maurice and Margaret Oakes. Maurice was always around the church willing to do whatever work or service was needed. One time we had a youth campout on the property behind our building, and when some other boys (not me) in one of the tents would simply not be quiet and go to sleep, he threw a bucket of water on them (that was old-school church discipline).
I remember Bill and Jane Beard, who always let us come over to their house for swim parties. And I remember Mrs. Suttle, who, during the brief time my dad attended church, used to call him “Willie Tom” (his name was William Thomas). I could go on and on.
Now, all of the people I have just mentioned were adults when I was a child. But I knew them because we were a multi-generational church. We didn’t have a separate worship service for students or young adults or senior citizens. We all worshiped together in the same service at the same time. I consider that a blessing. Some people might not think that’s practical or the best approach in a church like Mount Pleasant and that’s okay. But just the other day Mary Smith stopped me in the main lobby and told me a story about how one of the children in her Sunday school class talked to her about how he heard Pastor Chris talking about how God doesn’t want us to worry. A little later I got an e-mail from Bruce Humphrey, our Senior High Pastor, telling me about a Sunday night Collision service where he became aware of one of the students talking to God about how Pastor Chris said we should trust God and not worry. A few days later our middle school Pastor Mike Sheley told me how our 5th and 6th graders “lit up” when they attended the main worship on the weekend we talked about contentment from Philippians 4:10-13. That’s what they had just studied and would continue to study once Sunday morning “56” resumed.
I would have never known any of the people I mentioned earlier if I never attended church with them. And while I can’t tell you that I listened to and learned from every sermon I heard when I was a child, I listened enough to learn about a loving God and a seeking Savior and a plan of salvation. And as I got older, I listened enough to understand what it meant to answer the call to what we used to call full-time Christian service.
I love our Children’s Ministry and our Student Ministry. I love the special and specific services and opportunities we offer them here at Mount Pleasant. I think every parent should have their children participate. But I also love standing on the platform at 10:45 and seeing teenagers in front of me. I’m not naïve or arrogant enough to think that they hear everything that I say, but I certainly believe the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of truth, can speak to their hearts in that moment and change their lives forever. So I believe in multi-generational worship. And I believe in creating the kind of worship environment where we can be connected and learn from each other as we focus our attention on God and God alone.