Today our church celebrated a very special anniversary. Our pastor Warren and his wife Tillie have been serving our church body for 30 years. Three of their four children still attend our church. Wow. Thirty years. How many churches can say that? This special couple has stuck with us (the church) through lots of ups and downs over these many years. I myself have attended this church for something like sixteen years (I think).
Warren and Tillie did not want a fuss made for them today. They genuinely wanted all the glory to go to God as we celebrated this monumental anniversary. I thought the special service today was balanced well. There was much praise given to God for blessing our body with such wonderful servants as Warren and Tillie. But we also honored them for their tireless years of faithful service to us.
There was a video montage of pictures throughout the years. Showing church members that have come and gone. Church buildings and meeting places that came and went. Our church was homeless at times during these thirty years. We met in apartment club houses, school auditoriums, strip malls and finally were blessed to have our own building to call "home". That building burned down a few short years later and we were thankful to be permitted to share another church's facility while we went through the long and tedious process of rebuilding. What a blessing to go through all these things and grow even stronger as a church body.
I will say that this morning's service was bittersweet for me. While I was glad to be there with my fellow believers to share in this celebration of praise and thanks together, I was painfully reminded of the absence of some people that are near and dear to my heart. Not everyone sees the church as a body of believers who are the family of God. I think some people see church as a building a place that you come on Sunday mornings to dutifully make an appearance and go through the motions without being seen or heard. God wants our church to be our family. And we all know that families are messy. There are differences in opinion, feelings get hurt, some people work harder than others... its all part of it. But you go on loving and serving along side one another anyway. That is what Jesus would do and that is what Warren and Tillie have done faithfully for thirty years now. Thank you and God Bless.