When you join a new community, the first year or so is spent discovering the traditions and activities that are specific to that area. This encompasses a wide variety of events, and it takes time to figure out which things are important (or interesting) enough to attend and which things are not. It's usually most apparent around major holidays when you begin to wonder, "Is there a fall festival/Easter egg hunt/Christmas tree lighting ceremony/(fill in the blank) around here?"
There have been several events that I have heard about just a little too late, but was assured that I would have an opportunity to attend next year. It's all a part of the learning curve in a new town, and by this time next year we will be part of all the festivities.
Our new church has so many opportunities for fellowship and outreach, and I've been blessed to be included in some of them. I've met some of the most amazing men and women who have hearts for Christ and who genuinely lead lives that strive to be pleasing to Him. It's a great encouragement to me as a wife, mother and as someone who is only saved by the grace of God. I am building relationships with like-minded Christians, but at the same time am encouraged to take that energy and love out into our community and share the gospel. It's a good balance of being accountable and relational with other believers without living in a bubble in our church.
Our church purpose statement is to "Follow Christ, Love God, Love Others and Serve the World" and we don't take that lightly. We get out nourishment from frequent contact with fellow believers, and solid Biblical teaching from the pulpit, but we understand that being a Christ-follower is more that just sitting in church on Sunday and Wednesday. It's a life filled with service to others, especially those who have not come to know Christ in a personal way. It's a life marked by making ourselves small so that God's glory can be seen more clearly. It's a life made of daily sacrifices so that we might bring glory and honor to Him. It's a life that truly believes that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
I want to live that life more fully, and I can't think of a better place to grow and be fed than at Bethel Baptist Church. I thank God daily that He led Trevor and me to this place of worship before we even moved to the area, because He already knew the plans He had for us. Plans to prosper us and not harm us. Plans to give us a hope and a future. Plans that are revealed daily to cause us to praise Him for His providence and grace towards us.
In spite of our inner turmoil about jobs, money and selling our house He is always steadfast and true. He is the rock that we cling to when the world seems to be spinning out of control.
He is always faithful.