A few years ago, I had a conversation with someone from our church in which he asked if I loved the people of the church. At that time, my answer was something like, "I am growing to love them." That was an honest response. I had only been there less than a year and I was still getting to know them. I would have assumed their response would have been something similar.
But over the years I have been here (just passed the 3 year point), I can honestly say I am growing to love Cornerstone Bible Church in newer and deeper ways. I love the people of our church. And I love many things about our church. On Sunday, I shared several aspects of our church that get me excited and move me into deeper levels of love and commitment to our church. There are many things I could say, but I just limited them to five. Here they are.
1. There is a Growing Sense of Relationships.
It has been my focus the past several years and I assume that it will continue. But the pursuit of relationships and friendships are some of the most important things we can do as a church. We can't talk about church without talking about being in community with each other. And I see this growing in the life of our church. I see people opening their home. I see others inviting people out to dinner. I see them coming to ballgames with each other. I hear about play dates for their children as moms spend time with each other. It's probably always been part of CBC, but I see it in greater levels than the past.
2. A Good Mixture of Older and Younger
Some churches are old. Some of the newer churches are all young. I feel our church is very balanced. There are tons of kids running around and there is plenty of grey hair (and some without hair). It encourages me to write wedding anniversary cards to people who have been married for just a couple years to those that are closing in on 50. This is healthy.
3. They Listen to the Preaching of God's Word.
I feel we are really starting to get momentum when it comes to listening to preaching. Maybe our church is just getting used to my weird humor, but I think its more than that. The way people long for the Word of God tells me they care for God's Word. They hold it in high regard. They care what God has to say to them each week. They follow up with questions. And beyond this, they are not afraid of having tough topics preached. We just finished a series on Greed and then Church Discipline. Who does that? But they received it well, as the Word of God, not men (1 Thess. 2:13).
4. I Sense Friendliness from the People.
I hear from people all the time that they think our church is friendly. I hope so. I'm sure there are times when people come in and are overlooked. And that hurts me when that happens. But I think it also hurts many others. There is a real heart of people at our church to minister well to others.
5. We Are Becoming Respected in Our Community.
I hope this comes from the right motives. I believe people in our community see us as a resource rather than a hindrance. I have heard people in recent months say things like, "Your church has a good reputation." That's awesome. And that's not me. I've heard the other as well, but I hope our good for the community outshines our bad.
There are many other things I could say. In fact, I'm going to share tomorrow a few of the reasons why I love our Elders and Staff at CBC.