Yesterday was a very important day for us at church. We began our first Spanish worship service at 2:00pm. We had one Hispanic man from the community show up. It would have been nice to have more, but you've got to start somewhere! On the bright side, he was very genuinely interested. Carlos Hernandez, our Hispanic minister, visited with him for about 45 minutes after church was over. If I were a prophet, or the son of a prophet, I would predict he'll probably be our first convert.
But he wasn't the only one there. I was there with my wife, both of my elders were there with their families, along with another couple at church who is very involved in our mission efforts.
Also there was David Riley from the Mars Hill Church of Christ in Vilonia. I love the fact that my congregation is not just wishing to do good, or intending to reach out; we're actually doing it. And if you're thinking of stepping out on your faith to try and reach lost people, I'll tell you first hand: Yes, it is scary. Yes, there is a real possibility of failure. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will encounter unexpected problems and complications. But YES, it is totally worth it. Even if this effort flops and we don't save a single soul, it will have been worth every ounce of effort and expense. We'll be able to stand before God and say, "We really gave it our best shot and we grew through the experience."
Incidentally, I don't believe it will fail. I really think this is going to work, and that it will be a wonderful thing for our church and our community. We're trying to provide a home for these sojourners, and I know from talking to them that many of them long for something like this.
I think what I love most about what we're doing is the teamwork going on between congregations. It is very trendy to label conservative churches as close-minded, unchangeable, uncooperative, blood-sucking legalists. Out in Rose Bud and the surrounding areas, traditional churches are all there are, and I don't think any of those labels applies to what we've been doing. I grew up at a huge church in Nashville, and I don't think we ever cooperated with our sister congregations on almost anything.
David Riley from Mars Hill has been so wonderful. He's been driving up to help us with door-knocking, and bringing some of the Hispanic preaching students along. The other congregations around are letting us present to them what we're trying to do, and they are doing their best to help support our outreach. There is no competition. No one else has complained that we'll be getting members but they won't. No one is trying to start a separate effort to out do ours. We're all cooperating to reach lost people with the understanding that we aren't trying to glorify a particular congregation. We just want to see people come to Christ. To me, this is the kind of unity that Christ envisioned in John 17. Not that we all have to meet in one building, but that even when there are distances between us, we can still be one in love and in purpose.