It’s a quintessential country church and our third Baptist congregation in six weeks. With no online presence, what we know is from their sign out front: its name and service time.
The sanctuary is smaller than I expected. One lady greets us warmly and another scurries to fetch us a bulletin. We fill out the visitor card and drop it in the offering plate. This information must be important; at least two more people will offer us one before the day is over.
With thirty in attendance, it’s surprising that four members have birthdays this week. We sing “Happy Birthday.” Also are four anniversaries.
A few songs into the service is an extended greeting time, followed by prayer requests. There are many mentions of health concerns, some for travels, and a few for jobs.
Sometimes when a group shares prayer requests, the focus is more on the news than on prayer, which I fear is one small step removed from gossip. Not so with this group. They share, confident that prayer will follow.
Afterwards they invite us to stay for refreshments. This is not a quick event but an extended one. More people greet us; we must have met just about everyone. With broad smiles, each one thanks us for visiting and invites us back to their small country church.
They’re hopeful for our return but not pushy. I really like them but don’t want to give false expectations, so I simply respond, “It was good to be here today.” And it was.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.