by Wally Cox
This testimony was shared with the beloved community of First Baptist on Fifth on October 8, 2023 as part of our “Attending Church” focus on what it means to tend – or “attend” – the life of our church.
I believe if a church is doing things correctly and in accordance with God’s word, it creates a desire to worship God with its community and for Alice and I; First on Fifth has created such an environment.
So, the question is, “what does attending church mean to you?” For Alice and I, it means showing up with an open heart, open mind and open arms. Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” We looked forward to seeing our church family, participating in Sunday School, being inspired by the sermon and just appreciating and rejuvenating in the love. The hugs of the young children, seeing and hugging Earl, and all the wonderful fellowship.
In Acts Chapter 2, we are told that spiritually speaking, when the members of the body of Christ work together in unity, as we should, the church “builds itself up in love.” It attracts others to the gospel of Christ, and those people are added to the family of God (Acts 2:47). A church known for speaking the truth in love will be known as a healthy church, a healthy body. Those in the body all function and function together to accomplish the tasks of the church (Acts 2:42–47).
Stewardship is a large part of our worship experience here. Attending First on Fifth over the last twenty-one years has been a joy for Alice and I, in regards to community, a sense of belonging and a great experience in serving. Our opportunities to serve have been tremendous; from helping to house the homeless in the old gym, serving meals at Samaritan Ministries, baking the communion bread and preparing the sacrament. Being a deacon, various leadership roles, chaperoned kids at Passport camp, taught Sunday School for many years, and the list goes on and on. I clearly remember the first time I ever served communion to my mother, my wife and my children, I will never forget it, it was one of the most humbling experiences of my entire life and one of the greatest. Being part of SOS and building handicap ramps for the last two years has been so much fun and such a rewarding thing as well and I get to be called one of the young guys.
You know, as we serve our church and church families, we find our spiritual energies renewed and refreshed, our relationship with each other and with God stay better focused and aligned. I think that biblical stewardship challenges us to recognize that God is the true owner of everything and that He expects us to manage His resources in a certain way. I think this is true in our financial giving, utilizing our talents, how we treat each other and how we treat those that may be a little harder to love. We have a responsibility to steward God’s grace and that is one of the greatest gifts and opportunities any of us can hope for.
Thanks for your time.