When Dominic and I were first married, church wasn’t top on our priority list. Even though we were both raised in church and had Isaac, we were both stubborn and selfish and didn’t feel like we “fit” in any of the churches we visited. It was just easy to stay away.
Besides I was pretty sure that everyone was judging us anyways…
For years we made excuses. The more we made, the easier it was.
Then one weekend sometime in 2002, Dominic’s mom called and invited us to come to a family lunch on Sunday afternoon and invited us to come to church as well. We figured we could handle that and so we drove the 45 miles from our home to their community and went to church.
At that time the church was located in an old building but they were working on their new location (pictured above). Dominic’s dad helped with some of the projects that got that new church completed. His parents were one of several that were very active in the church. And when we would visit we were always made to feel welcome.
And so a “habit” was born. Dominic’s mom would call and invite us to dinner and if we were coming, why not church as well?! 🙂
We came to a place, after much struggle and difficulty…and our 2nd son on the way that we realized we really wanted to have a better foundation for our kids. While we had failed early on with Isaac, we could start making some changes and become a part of a church family.
It just made sense to join First Baptist in Parker because we were already attending most Sundays…and when we did visit other churches closer to home we never felt the welcome that we did at FBC. It very quickly began to feel like home.
Our church family walked us through more dark times. Times when others might have walked away, the families at FBC surrounded us. They offered encouragement and prayer, shared their stories and kept telling us to get involved and keep coming back.
In 2011 when we started to talk about the possibility of moving, our church was one of the big reasons we had to stay where we were. How could family like that be replaced?
But during those months of decision making, they prayed with us and reminded us that we were always welcome back…we would still be a part of the FBC family.
This past weekend we went back to Parker for a visit after months and months away.
We arrived late (because of course) 😉 and Pastor Aaron was just getting ready to start the service and called out a welcome to us from the podium. Hugs and handshakes, smiles and “we will catch you after the service”…once again we were home.
After the service people came up to visit with us for just a moment, the kids had been long sent to the car and yet we remained. One of the last people to leave, we were surrounded by love.
It is a church that practices hospitality on every level.
It isn’t like an old job where people forget your name 6 months after you leave and blame you for all the mistakes they find…no this community at FBC is one that welcomes you in with open arms, no matter the time in-between visits.
As we walked to our van Dominic said “Always a warm welcome when we come here….”
It is a legacy that church is leaving in its community.
You don’t have to be perfect to walk through the doors, or have it all together. No, FBC is filled with believers that seek Christ, work to be a light and pray for and encourage one another regardless of where you are at in your faith walk.
We spent 7 years as members at FBC and our marriage, our family, are forever changed because of it.
It was a reminder to me again that we need to be welcoming…even the little things can make a big difference.
I thank God for allowing us to be a part of such an amazing community of believers. I hope that at our new church Dominic and I can seek and find ways to offer that same hospitality to others that come through the doors.
Because we want those that leave to say that they always get a warm welcome, don’t we?!