Our church is older than our town!

I sat in the McDonald’s parking lot looking at the police car out of my car window.  In a rush to meet someone, I failed to use my signal in the turn lane. I got pulled over and had some time to stare at the patrol car beside me.  I hadn’t noticed until that day, that the seal on the car indicates that we became a city in 1857.

The night before, I had been preparing for a worship team training at our church.  Our church is a vibrant congregation with three morning worship services, a really strong midweek ministry and many opportunities for growth, community and mission. For whatever reason, it was fresh on my mind that our church has been chartered in 1843.

That moment was powerfully motivating as I processed the fact that our church was fully chartered and ministering in the community 14 years before the town was recognized as a town! Since 1843, this church has been faithfully ministering.  Holding worship services.  Proclaiming Jesus.  And being a light.  In fact, a with some quick math,  this particular church has had ongoing Sunday services for 8,788 Sundays in a row!

There was something motivating about that moment.  More than a decade before our little town pulled itself together to be recognized as an official city in the state of Illinois, our church had been effectively reaching and serving people?!

I shared the information with the worship team that night. It was amazing to think about.  The people a century and a half ago, who stepped up to help get the church going.  For the ones who gave toward the buildings and the programs. For the ones who physically built it.   For people who taught, led and preached.  There had to be a passion, fire and hope as they served.  And we continue in that line of faithful saints, who still, on a weekly basis lead worship in that place.

In 1843, our church began.  And literally has been helping to shape the community as long as it has been in existence. Sometimes old churches get lumped into the list of ineffective and out of date.  But we will be effective and move forward as long as we continually ask and answer this question:  How are we serving, loving and influencing our city today?

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