Sun, Apr 25, 2021
Just a few quick items—mercifully and relatively short!
Seeing Our People Show Up to Serve on Sundays Gives Me Life.
So as I was driving away from FCC Afton last Sunday, to catch up with the FCC Greeneville peeps to see how things went, I saw a couple FCC teens—an older brother and his sister—driving a huge truck hauling a 24’ foot trailer full of FCC Afton church supplies. My first thought was, “I’m glad they know what they’re doing because I sure don’t!”
Then I quickly realized God had given me a picture of our peoples’ faithfulness to show up to serve that I needed at that moment. I was suddenly overcome with tears of gratitude, (the lower-lip quivering-for-a-few-seconds kind, to be specific), for them showing up to serve, for someone older who trained them and showed them what to do, for parents who believe leading their kids to faithfully serve matters, and for the life it gave me at that moment. Like I know so many of us feel, I often go away from my work wondering if any of it makes any difference, if I’m doing the right things, and if I might just be happier quitting ministry and going into ice cream. (Actually, I know the answer to that.)
Please know friends, that, even if it seems small and it goes unnoticed, your work at FCC matters, from the faithfulness to show up to serve by…
- setting-up, hauling, cleaning, prepping, singing, playing, teaching, welcoming, smiling, handshaking, fist-bumping, and a hundred other tasks,
- to the faithfulness to show up for corporate worship, teach a class, lead a small group, go to a training, prep kids curriculum, roast coffee beans, be a leader or coach,
- to the off-radar work of studying the Bible, praying for our church, giving to support us, and telling your friends the story of God’s work in your life.
As Lead Pastor, with the unique privilege of consistently and deeply experiencing our ministry at both campuses and seeing God work through our people in literally hundreds of ways every week, I could go on and on with specific examples of people showing up to serve in ways that go unheralded—on Sundays and throughout the week—but that are, each of them, essential work. To watch our Worship & Serve strategy at work gives me life. I continue to pray that it will do the same for you, slowly bringing you into a more consistent and deeper experience of the ministry of God’s people that enables you to see God’s work that you can’t otherwise see.
Thank you for being part of our church’s ministry, in whatever way you can.
Bond Between Us Class Relaunch Soon
Last time I’ll mention this until we’re ready to pull the trigger… Friendly Reminder that the seniors’ Bond Between Us class will soon(ish) begin meeting again on Sunday mornings at 10a our Greeneville campus. If you’re 65ish or older and interested, see David Walters or let us know on the Connect Card, and we’ll make sure you’re apprised of the plans.
30 FCC Staff, Elders, Leaders, & Residents at Church Leaders Conference this Week
A whole bunch of us are gone for the week at churchleadersconference.com at Watermark Church in Dallas, with whom we’ve partnered for re:generation and Marriage Ministry. We like to go here because we have grown to love and trust Watermark as a church we can learn a lot from, they make all their staff and ministries available for the entire week, the conference is quite cheap and fun compared to most, and it’s a great time of bonding for our leaders. Please pray for safety, for God’s vision, clarity, and rest for our leaders, and for a bunch of adults accustomed to having lots of room and relative luxury to be flexible in the van and hotel rooms! FYI, the Church Office will be “mostly dead” (a là Robin Williams in Princess Bride) this week.
Anna Mae Cannon and The Unsung Sacrifices of our Spiritual Forebears
We lost another veteran FCCer this past week. Psalm 116:15 says, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Anna Mae was one of those faithful saints who was from a world that wasn’t very long ago, timewise, but that feels like a bygone era. Here’s a paragraph from the funeral sermon I wanted to share, for how it communicates that we all stand on the shoulders of the unsung sacrifice of our forebears.
As a long-time active member of First Christian Church, Anna Mae was very involved in the Bond Between Us Class and the Ladies Circle for approximately 187 years, which meant she was part of that era when, at least as far as most folks noticed, the behind-the-scenes details just happened sorta magically and organically! :o) And so, since this was back when potlucks happened about 3 times a week and the food was made beforehand and not purchased on the way, :o) Anna Mae was a significant part of helping with all sorts of details of the church’s ministry from setting up for events, to making and taking meals, to caring for the sick and elderly, to helping fund missionaries, to whatever else needed to get done! Anna Mae was faithful in serving to take care of people and their needs! … And for me, lastly, friends, emblazoned in my memory is her faithfulness to worship her Savior every single Sunday she could. She always sat about the 3rd or 4th row back, just a few seats in, always flanked by a couple ladies from class who had also lost their husbands, Bettie Copp on one side and her good friend Merle Rader on the other! :o)
Unsung sacrifice is exactly the kind of service God likes to use to further His Kingdom. While we’re a place that doesn’t do names on plaques and on things that are dedicated to the Lord’s service, I thank God for so many like Anna Mae who came before us, the names and likes of whom many current FCCers never knew: Hendrix, Snapp, Chadwell, Love, Maupin, Hashbarger, Proffitt, Davenport, Myers, Collins, Cox, Reese, Orfield, McNabb, White, Newton, Jaynes, and many more. Please pray for the Cannon family and make sure to thank God for the likes of Anna Mae, so we would do the same and your name will make the list of the unsung faithful who work for a cause beyond this world.
Updates: Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) & Coffee Convos & Monday Morning Missives
(Holy cow, I just noticed—those titles are quite the pattern of dorky alliteration, eh?! Yikes! Sadly, that is 100% my doing, or as it should perhaps be characterized, my fault?! When it reaches 3 alliterated program titles, that’s cause for apology! #facepalm)
Anyway… No BB&B nor Coffee Convos this week, (because of the conference in Dallas.) But, next Tue, May 4, on BB&B(&B!) we begin discuss Finally Alive, by John Piper (https://youtu.be/Nd75c_BHoz8). Free digital copy at desiringgod.org/books. If you’re a regular BB&Ber and you missed a couple methodological changes we’re making, make sure to check out last week’s ST.
However… We’ll still be posting a new MMM tomorrow morning on the socials and the app. It’s just a quick 2-minutes devotional thought. (last week’s ST for more info re MMM.) Themes will change over time, but I’m likely gonna be on a jag regarding ”The Word does the work” for a good while. It would be helpful if you would Like and Share on the socials, hopefully to encourage someone to engage with God in His Word this week!