Scripture Reading — Luke 15:11-32
"This son of mine was dead and is alive again." Luke 15:24 —
I could barely reach the top of his head. At 6-foot, 3 inches, Andy was one of the tallest persons I've baptized. He came to our church after his sister-in-law received our mass mailing. She attends another church but thought Andy would relate better to ours.
Andy's a bright, articulate engineer. He's gentle, wise, and thoughtful, and when he first attended our church, he was a skeptic. He began attending to please his wife. For six years he brought his doubts and skepticism. During that time he helped out in his daughter's preschool class and on our technical team. For six years we loved him, prayed for him, and accepted him as part of our community. On a family retreat he "crossed the line." At his baptism the whole church celebrated.
Planting churches is messy and painful. In our church plant we've learned that prefabricated plans crumble. We've stopped looking for magic formulas.
Sometimes on Sundays I watch people walk into our services. There's the oldest person I've ever baptized--86 years old; the young couple who were on the brink of divorce; the young woman who's been drinking since she was 14; and the senior who just lost her husband of 40 years. Some are believers, some are still investigating.
Starting a new church is relentless work. Is it worthwhile? Did I tell you about Andy ... ?
Father, fill us with love for your lost daughters and sons. Give us courage to plant new churches and to help our church be full of contagious grace. In the Savior's name, Amen.