I love the church! It has been my life from my youngest age and all of my life experiences were near, in, or tied to the church in some way. Growing up in a small town in the 1960’s, people in West Tennessee respected the church as a place that helped people spiritually and practically. The pastors were revered as community leaders and the children were taught to enter the worship center with respect, reverence, and realization that we were in God’s House. The church was where kids would meet their same friends from school. At the church events, we would have another opportunity to build relationships and to learn things about God rather than “reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic”.
I am going to display my antiquated memories now, but there was something about hearing the grand sounds of the bass notes from organ pedals with all of the volume “up”! Those grand musical classics about our Holy God, played with great animation by the organist, moving toward the final crescendo created the feeling that we were in God’s Presence. The majestic songs and sounds of the piano and organ playing “fortissimo” about God’s Holiness, Glory, and Eternal Grandeur made the hair on my neck stand up and the bass notes made my teeth vibrate a little. The very sound made me a bit fearful of the power of the Almighty as a small boy.
Church was where I learned to be a Christian. I was saved through my dad’s influence as a pastor and a great dad. I was baptized in church. I surrendered to the ministry there. I was taught (even as squirming kid) by dedicated SS teachers, church training leaders, RA leaders, camp counselors, student ministers, choir directors, and just good people that did what they could to mold us into becoming faithful “Children of God”. I saw good folks doing great things for God as so many of them “walked the walk” with Jesus that was exemplary. It made me want to be like them and to emulate what they taught. And, it made me desire to be “faithfully committed” to the call of Christ and not just a casual Christian. I will be forever grateful!
“There are some who think of the church as an organization like other organizations. It is true that the church is an organization, but it is not primarily an organization. Rather, it is a new way of life. Those who have the view that being a part of the church is like being a member of a lodge, a luncheon club, a political part, or even a business are seriously mistaken. Such people feel that they should give to the church the same kind of support and loyalty which they give to these other organizations. It becomes my church, as it is ‘my club, or lodge, or party, or team.’
The Christian’s loyalty to Church, however, should be unique, for in reality it is a loyalty to Christ and His way of life. The church is like no other institution on earth and a person’s membership in the church is like no other membership which he may sustain. The church is more like a vibrant, living organism, than it is like a cold, structured organization…Some make the mistake of thinking that the church…exists for the entertainment and enjoyment of its members. On the contrary, the church exists in order that its members may have an intimate relationship with Christ and God, as well as a close relationship with mankind.” (Copied).