Last week I had the privilege of attending the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Spring General Assembly at Smoke Rise Baptist Church. I was flooded with familiarity, remembering the church I first served when I came to Atlanta ten years ago. I was astonished at how little had changed and yet excited to see and to hear throughout the weekend about how much the church continues to change.
Dr. Jim Summerville, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, spoke about his eight years as pastor of FBC Richmond. My favorite analogy he used was a comparison of the church to a youth mission trip. He said everyone on the mission trip got on the bus and traveled to a place to serve, when the bus stopped, everyone got off the bus. Everyone worked, no one stayed on the bus.
He said each Sunday we go to worship and are like those teenagers, all on the bus heading to the mission site. When we leave the church, we are getting off the bus and going to work in our unique mission field. For the past eight years, Jim has stood at the back of that church and as a final goodbye says, “Let me help you off the bus.”
I love the image Jim paints. I love the intentionality and commitment to stay with it Sunday after Sunday, season after season, year after year. We believe we each are called to serve, the church is where we go to get ready for service, but when we leave at noon, that is when the real work of serving God begins. So keep doing the work Royston Baptist Church. Keep visiting the shut-ins, keep writing the cards, keep cleaning the church, keep answering phones at the church office, keep sharing Jesus with your neighbors, keep visiting the sick, and keep serving the way you did last week. Jesus said it this way, “Go therefore and make disciples…”, maybe if He were here today he would say, “Let me help you off the bus.”