An Awe-full Church
My dad served the First Methodist Church in Opelika from 1950 to 1962. My brother George and I grew up there. I was invited to preach there on March 19, 2023. It also happened to be my 85th birthday. Nobody thought of that connection—except God.
It was at that church I accepted Christ as my personal savior. I also went to the altar as a high school student and accepted the call to Christian ministry. That church nurtured me through the formative years of my life.
I preached on an Awe-full Church from Acts 2:42-47. Verse 42 says that when people observed the early church, they were full of awe. Doesn’t that make them “awe-full”? First Methodist has been, is, and under the great leadership of Dr. Nolan Donald will continue to be an “awe-full” church. How does that happen?
- It majored in teaching the scripture, prayer, the sacraments, fellowship, and miracles. (verse 42) The fact that my brother and I went into the ministry was a miracle for many people! Miracles were prayed for and received!
- The church was a hospital for people who needed it more than a sanctuary for people to get away from the issues of life. People were accepted. (verse 44) I will never forget the Sunday that the town drunk who had been witnessed to and mentored by my dad joined the church, along with one of the most high-profile men in Alabama. The high-profile man was wearing a designer suit—the converted town drunk was wearing a used suit that my dad gave him. I learned that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross. That’s “awe-full”.
- They were people of action. They didn’t just sit and talk and pray and dream—they acted. (verse 45) That was the emphasis that every member was a minister. They had created ministries for young adults, seasoned adults—and every age group. If there were some ministries that didn’t work or were not needed, they quit doing them. The church had learned that when the horse is dead, you need to dismount!
- They were unified and served with gladness. (verse 46) My dad used to say, “Some people cause happiness wherever they go—others whenever they go.” Church was a positive experience for me. And the church taught and practiced unity. Church was like a choir with everyone singing the same song on key!
- The Lord was constantly adding to their numbers day by day. (verse 47) My brother George and I were part of those additions. A couple of chapters later, Acts refers to the church not as adding people, but as multiplying. “Awe-full” churches are multiplying.
I am blessed to have grown up in an “awe-full” church. I have tried to copy that in the various churches I served. A church leader, Lucinda Cannon, gave me an 85th birthday present—a 10-year diary!
How “awe-full” is your church?