We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. We’ve done this since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people. You have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. – Colossians 1:3-5
This time last weekend Rebekah and I were getting ready to celebrate the 25th birthday of our church, Wake Forest Presbyterian. The entire day was an unqualified success (click here – “We Belong to the Day” – for the full story and 40 really cool photographs).
So this week I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a young church, planted in the middle of a culture that seems to engage day-to-day life absent the light, goodness, grace, and promise of the good news that is the Gospel of Love. How does a young church speak hope, encouragement, and truth into such a culture? The letter to the Colossians was targeted at that kind of a church – and we’re not much different ourselves.
COLOSSIANS R US: – We really are a young church. But we’ve made it this far, negotiating both the thrill of early promise, and the pain of a tumultuous adolescence that almost derailed us before we were nearly grown. But here we are – in 2016 – strong, motivated, eager, increasingly well equipped, moving forward into what God has next, with both faith and faithfulness at play.
But here we are – in 2016 – strong, motivated, eager, increasingly well equipped, moving forward into what God has next, with both faith and faithfulness at play.
- Last week I took this photograph (above) of WFPC’s downstairs worship space. It’s the kind of multipurpose room every congregation would love to have on its campus. But – without the animating spirit of Jesus, and the presence of people committed to encouraging one another to live as passionate disciples of Jesus – it’s just a gym, just a dinning hall, just a youth facility, just an education building, just a Scout den, just a community center…
- Later, I stood in the exact same place and clicked the shutter again. This time the image I captured (below) was that of an actual church…
We show up here every Sunday morning (at 9:00 in the CLC, and 11:15 upstairs in the sanctuary) to worship God, to learn more about our faith, and to gather together as followers of the Living Way. That first twenty-five years? It certainly helped to define who we are as a faith community, and set us on an amazing trajectory, but in many ways we were just warming up!
I – along with more than 800 Wake Forest Jesus-followers – am excited about where God is leading us… In the sure knowledge of our hope in Jesus, our foundation in God’s good word, and the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.