Sunday, September 16, 2007

Small Church....Big Heart

I didn't think I'd be posting this weekend, but I can't let this pass. I'm in Washington, DC, for the annual meeting of my national medical organization. Last night, at the President's Banquet, I was totally surprised with a Presidential Citation for my service to the Academy. That was an honor for which I'm most appreciative, but that's not what I wanted to talk about.

This morning, Kay and I joined my son and daughter-in-law for a drive into the beautiful Virginia countryside to attend the services of the Orlean Baptist Church, pastored by a friend of theirs, a retired Marine general named Randy West. Randy has a full-time job on Capitol Hill and volunteers his time as pastor of this small church. Today he preached, then left to bring the message at yet another small church down the way. He's combining the best features of a circuit-riding preacher proclaiming the gospel throughout the area and a tent-maker evangelist who works to support himself while doing God's work.

I hadn't been in a country church like this in years, but I was touched by the experience. The people welcomed us with open arms. A board at the front of the church indicated that the attendance in Sunday School today was 18, up from 16 last week. The choir came up from the pews to perform their anthem--about twenty people, almost all the adults and older children in the congregation--and the music was inspiring. Randy's message about letting God bear our burdens touched me deeply. It was a wonderful and worshipful experience, with a message of comfort combined with a call to service.

I love being in our nation's capitol. It's been exciting to see the Washington Monument out the window of our hotel room. There's a thrill when I think of the history of this city. I hate to leave Washington, but now it's time to get back home and put into practice what I heard today in a country church.

I hope your Sunday was good. Come back Wednesday for my interview with Brandilyn Collins. And there's another surprise interview on tap for next week. Stay tuned.

4 comments:

Timothy Fish said...

I grew up in a small church. During that time I visited many other small churches. I still visit small churches occassionally. In so many ways, the atmosphere is so different in a small church where people can look around and know who is missing than what many of the churches in the DFW metroplex have. What I like about the church where I am a member is that even though I am a country boy who moved to the big city and even though the church is several times the size of the church I left behind, they are preaching the same old gospel story.

Lisa Jordan said...

I'm a member of a small church and love it. We're truly a family. When the children are dismissed for junior church, half the congregation clears out. :-)

Kristy Dykes said...

Congrats, Dr. Richard, for this prestigious honor! Wow! Don't ever be shy about sharing stuff like that. We like hearing it.

Love the details about your attending the small church. Sounds delightful. My dh and I visit small, quaint churches lots of times when we're traveling and run across them (though not their services).

Lisa Jordan said...

I'm a member of a small church and love it. We're truly a family. When the children are dismissed for junior church, half the congregation clears out. :-)