Last fall, Steve and I were asked to start a Sunday School class at First Baptist in Decatur, primarily for new church people who are in our age group and want a smallish group with which to connect, study God's word, and build relationships.
Frankly, the beginning was slow. Two other couples who had been FBC members for several years decided to come and be part of the initial core. Week after week, there were only 5 to 7 people in the room on Sunday morning. We enjoyed the lessons and getting to know each other better but didn't feel as if we were accomplishing the purpose of the class. It got pretty discouraging . . . but we kept plugging along.
About six months ago, we started seeing new people come in and "try us on for size." The core group sensed that things were about to get better, and it really, really did. Last Sunday, there were 21 people in our room, and we were talking about finding a bigger place to meet.
Last week, just the ladies got together to "do lunch" and some strategic planning. The chatter and laughter made me feel so good, and I believe everyone there was happy to be sharing their lives with sisters in Christ. Here's a photo.
We tried hard to get everyone in, but unfortunately, Dean Malone was in a corner that didn't make it into the picture. In addition to these ladies, there is another lady and eight men currently in our class with others planning to visit in the coming weeks.
Between us, we have over 500 years of marriage under our belts, have given birth to about 25 children, and the Grandchild Count continues to mount. Some are lifelong Decatur residents, while others are relative newcomers. (A sure sign was that two of these ladies had never heard of or tasted "poulet de Normandy," often shortened to "poulet." Ever since The Iron Gate was a popular restaurant in Decatur, poulet has been a dish we have learned to enjoy. The same with strawberry pretzel salad. Very Southern. Very North Alabama. Very Decatur). We've seen a lot and done a lot. The wealth of life experience is staggering . . . and so very valuable. I can feel us becoming a family.
To me, that is a large part of the reason to belong to a local church. We need each other. We learn from each other. We are encouraged by each other. We've been given forgiveness and salvation. We have the same eternal destination. We worship God within a few pews of each other on Sunday morning, and we'll be around the Heavenly Throne forever and ever.
The Bible is our source for recognizing that believers in Christ are a family.
Matthew 12:49-50 -- "Pointing to his disciples, He (Jesus) said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Galatians 3:29 -- "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
2 Corinthians 13:11 -- "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."
Doesn't that sound like what a family should do?
If you don't have a church family, I pray that you will find one soon.