I come from a large family, 8 kids to be exact. I often think about the wonderful memories I have of growing up in the country. My siblings and I would play outside most of the time. We’d spend the winter sledding down the hill behind our house and the summer exploring the woods and all of the beauty that God’s creation had to offer. Of course we’d sometimes have some disagreements but they were always short-lived. The thing I am most proud of though is that through thick and thin we have always been there for each other. While other people have come and gone in life I still have my siblings and my parents.
The amazing thing about the church’s my Dad has pastored is that they have been pretty much a replica of my home life. None of us are perfect but our church is in every sense of the word a FAMILY! We have celebrated great victories when one of us has a triumph, we have cried together in some of the lower moments, we are always there to encourage and speak words of faith over each other, and we come together for nearly every holiday and have huge family dinners! I love my church family and would do anything for them.
In one of my greatest moments of need the HDWC family raised over $5,000 to move me, my 9 month pregnant wife and our 2 sons 2,000 miles back to Barstow. This wasn’t done by extremely wealthy people, but by people that love us and all pitched in together to help a family member out. I will be forever grateful to them.
I like the example of the early church mentioned in Acts 2:46-47 (NLT)
46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity[j]— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
This description sounds like HDWC! One thing that I hear often from new people at church is that they genuinely feel loved here. I have been to some churches where this is not the case. Our church has grown tremendously in the last year or two and I want to make sure that everyone continues to feel this sense of belonging to a family no matter how big we get.
One of the new hip church culture words in America is to call your church you church “community.” I think that’s all good and well but these people I worship with are on a whole other level in my life than the rest of the people in the local community.
We are a beautifully diverse family of all ages and races and backgrounds and I think when God looks down at HDWC He has a smile on His face. I believe our family is just a tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like; all of God’s children coming together in unity to worship and praise their Father. I love everyone in my town and community, but I love my family on a different level.
I like the way Paul put it in Galatians 6:10 (NLT)
“10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”
It’s amazing how when just one member isn’t “at the table” on Sunday we notice. We all have a part in the family and you can tell when a brother or sister isn’t there. I watch the old TV. show “The Waltons” a lot and I picture all of their kids gathered around the big dinner table as an example of our church. We all care about each other and it’s a special thing to be a part of! I honestly don’t know how I’d live life without this amazing bunch of people I call family.
So…is church a family? I can’t speak for every church, but the only word to describe HDWC is FAMILY!