As most of you know, I serve as both the President and a Staff Evangelist with the David Young Evangelistic Association. We are a Non-Profit Organization and have existed since 1994. For many years we were based out of Ohio and were closely connected to the ministry of the Newark Baptist Temple. The church considered me their staff evangelist and, while we were not “paid” staff, they did provide us both a parking place for our RV-based family ministry and helped us with health insurance. It was an awesome relationship and our time there was incredible. We still serve the church from time to time and it is always as if we are returning home.
We are now based out of Milton, FL (near Pensacola) and attend West Florida Baptist Church. Our relationship with West Florida differs from our previous relationship in that I am neither a “staff” evangelist nor do they consider me as being “sent-out” from their ministry. They are simply our “home” church family. Our pastor does serve on our board and, as a result, does have great influence in our ministry. We love our church. Here are several things I especially love about our church and several things I have learned as a member.
Some things I love about our home church:
- I love that our pastor preaches expositionally and is content to allow the Bible to speak for itself.
- I love that our church seeks to have music that is always doctrinally accurate, easy to sing, and worshipful in its content.
- I love that our pastor continually endeavors to see people trust in Christ. This is one of the things that especially drew me to our church.
- I love that our church is focused on discipleship. It is awesome to attend church with a plethora of new converts who are growing in Christ.
- I love that our children are influenced not only by our lead pastor but also by our youth pastor. It always delighted my heart when I would open my back door and see my son and our church’s youth pastor doing a Bible study in our breezeway.
Some things I have learned from our home church.
- When we keep our focus on winning souls and discipling people to follow Jesus it makes the church exciting and effective. I know that some have departed from our church for a variety of reasons – we are too big, we aren’t KJV enough, we don’t sing only hymns, pastor is too hip (he could actually work on that one – just kidding pastor!!), and so forth. What I have observed, however, is that usually people just quietly depart. I think it is because that the church is seeing souls saved and discipled. While some may need to follow their conscience and worship elsewhere, no one who knows God and loves Him wants to damage new converts as they depart. Who wants to attack a ministry that is seeing Buddhists come to faith in Christ? Who wants to hurt the young teen who only recently trusted Christ? Who wants to damage those who are being saved through our Reformer’s Unanimous ministry and who are not only growing spiritually but who are also seeing amazing victory over their challenging addictions? Yes, I have learned that winning souls and disciplining people makes for an exciting, happy, and effective church.
- It is ok that my church sometimes uses music that I wouldn’t prefer. I like older hymns and Southern gospel style singing. My church uses older hymns and newer hymns and more of a contemporary style that includes violins, a cello, keyboards, and several guitars. I have enjoyed learning new hymns (In Christ alone, for instance) as well as some Psalms. I love when our church sings Psalm 34. It is incredibly powerful! Our family sings with all our heart and is learning to enjoy newer songs in a style that is different from my comfort zone. A few months ago, my youngest two and I spent part of an evening singing in our living room. Our son played the guitar and we sang many newer songs. The kids are enjoying them and singing them. I am ok with that. I always struggle a bit when a song is hard to follow (the timing is choppy) or when it is one of those that just ends abruptly with no resolve. It always throws me and distracts me from worship. That happens here and there, and I don’t prefer it, but I can get over it. At least I try to get over it! Lol.
- It is a blessing to be in a church where we are confident that if we bring our neighbors, they will be welcome, they will hear the gospel, and they will not likely be offended or uneasy. That last statement needs some clarification, of course. A person may very well be offended by truth spoken in love. We cannot compromise fundamental doctrines even if those doctrines are unacceptable to a sinful world. What I mean by that statement is that our pastor will not make off-the-wall statements that are “religiously charged.” He won’t “rip people’s face off” nor will he berate them with our personal standards. We aren’t a perfect church. In fact, we hesitated to join at one time because someone in the church was negatively aggressive about a few areas that were very important to us. We eventually realized, however, that this wasn’t necessarily the norm and eventually became members. My point is that it is awesome to have confidence that we can bring our neighbors and that they will likely come to Christ if we do!
- I have learned that the way I have always done church isn’t the only way to do it. I knew this already because I have been in many cultures around the world where they do things differently than we would do them here in the USA. I have preached in hundreds of churches here too and every church is unique. Our church no longer has Sunday school classes and that has been different for me. We have two morning services instead and the Sunday evening is now dedicated to Connection Group Bible studies. That is different for me too. I have never done it that way, but have come to enjoy the change and have seen our church grow as a result of the change. That has been a good lesson for me to learn.
I am sure there are many other matters I could talk about. What about you? What do you love most about your church? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
Your sincere friend,