New Member Sunday
A good introduction is Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” We moved to Orange a few months back. We were sad to leave our previous church but excited to find a local community here. Without Internet and so many churches in town our method was ‘see a church, try a church’.
See a church. Try a church.
After trying a handful of churches over the first month and a half we found ourselves somewhat discouraged. This also led to some disagreement and frustration between Rachel and I. Our method was proving not so helpful in finding a church that we could both call ‘home’.
Odd Event #1: We ended up going out of town one weekend for a wedding. Rachel bumped into an old acquaintance that told her that one of his good college friends goes to a church near the circle called Sovereign Grace. He said we should try it.
Odd Event #2: Our overnight plans had changed and our carpool decided to head home after the wedding late Saturday night.
Odd Event #3: Come Sunday morning, we had no church plans since we were supposed to be out of town. But, because Rachel just heard about Sovereign Grace at the wedding, we had a church to go to. Strangely enough in light of our not so successful “see a church, try a church” method, this church meets at the Woman’s Club—which is not a church we would have seen.
We were welcomed.
We walked in and were immediately and warmly welcomed by Lucas. This type of greeting had become almost foreign to us. We chatted for a good amount of time and Lucas made us feel like we were friends already. He and Geneva would later invite us over for dinner. Rachel and I made our way into the Sanctuary to sit down and Dylan and Christy came to befriend us. They were so kind and inviting. I guess when you are first timers to a church this size with the heart that you have for greeting one another, we probably just had big targets on our backs. With that said, Dustin spotted us from across the room and came over and introduced himself. We soon found out that he was the good college friend of our acquaintance at the wedding. We exchanged stories of mutual friends. Dustin, within our first two encounters, asked for my number, invited us to the guest reception, invited us over for dinner, invited us to their small group, and invited me to Theology on Tap.
We were invited to lunch.
After the service we left somewhat abruptly, partly because we were new, and also because we had lunch plans with Rachel’s parents. We were already out of the building down the stairs and almost at our car out front when it sounded like someone was running after us. We turned around and it was Dylan. He just wanted to invite us to lunch. This was the final moment in which we both saw this as God telling us with full clarity that this is where He would have us. This joy brought Rachel to tears on our way home.
Our encounter with the few people we mentioned has really been our encounter with so many of you. It has been mind blowing at how many of you welcomed us in our short time here. We are so grateful for you as your strong affections and satisfaction in the Gospel is so obvious here.
Your love for the gospel is obvious.
Thank you for sharing the fruits of your faith with us and welcoming us into your fellowship with God and each other.