They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. – Acts 2:46-47
GRIDLOCK! I’m starting out with a photo of Sunday’s beautiful traffic jam at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. I was walking out of the church office, a good while after the end of worship, and was surprised to see cars still lined up in all directions, stretching into every parking area. I had fully expected the campus to be clear. The light changed on Capital Boulevard, 15-20 cars got out, then it started to back up again.
The best way to tell the story is to pass on something one of my friends shared:
“I’d been sitting in a line of cars for what seemed like forever,” he said, “waiting to get out. I was running late, impatient, and feeling annoyed. I sighed with exasperation and was just about to mutter something unsavory under my breath when it dawned on me what a blessing it is to be at a Presbyterian church where so many people show up that I get stuck in the parking lot!”
He makes a really good point. Of course, attendance numbers aren’t the only way to measure effective ministry, but it sure does feel good to be surrounded by such an animated crowd of noisy, enthusiastic people every Sunday.
WHAT’s UP AROUND HERE? Fact is, there’s a real “buzz” in the air when you walk into the sanctuary and get ready for worship. I remember talking about something similar back at First Presbyterian Church of Brandon; at WFPC it goes something like this:
It’s like experiencing life in an extra dimension; it’s like having not five senses, but six or seven; it’s like a charge of electrical energy; it’s like an intuitive understanding that the spiritual is as real as the air we breathe. Last week I described the kids leading worship for Youth Sunday as, spilling life all over the place. It’s hard to put your finger on, so I’ll tell you a few things that it’s not.
- It’s not the preacher. Don’t get me wrong, Rebekah is one of the most life-saturated preachers I’ve ever heard; she’s animated, she’s passionate, and she bubbles over with enthusiasm and joy. But the buzz of life around here is more than Rebekah.
- It’s not the music. Oh, we have an amazing Praise Band and a superb choir. The music at WFPC represents high quality, deep love, and genuine praise. But that’s not the answer.
- It’s not the friendliness of the congregation. Our people most certainly are friendly, in fact they’re some of the most naturally welcoming people I know. But that doesn’t account for the excitement.
- And it’s not the kind of excitement generated by overwhelming numbers. We enjoy really good attendance, and both services are comfortably full – but there is certainly room for growth.
SATURATED WITH GOD: So then what is it? What is the source of the tingling, electric, animating buzz that permeates the campus here?
Well the short answer – of course – is God. But it is God animating the worship, the generosity, the adult education classes, the children’s ministry, the staff, the preschool, the discipleship initiatives, the countless small groups that meet throughout the week, the mission ventures, the outreach, the youth, the meetings of ministry teams, the one-on-one encouragement, the fellowship, the counseling, the Wednesday night offerings, the koinonia gatherings, the __________ (you fill in the blank, I simply can’t keep up)….
This campus is literally saturated with God, via ongoing initiatives of grace and self-giving love – disciples living out loud what it means to be faithful followers of the Living Way of Jesus.
THE BUZZ: That buzz, then, the charge of life and energy that permeates the sanctuary on Sunday morning, is the cumulative evidence of everything that goes on here during the balance of the week.
It takes the preaching, the singing, the worship, and the fellowship to another level. It’s all God.
Beyond grateful – DEREK