Pastor Don's Journal Articles
Regardless the merits of, or problems with, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, everybody agrees that the official launching of ObamaCare in the fall of 2013 was a public relations disaster. A huge computer crash prevented people from going on the website and enrolling. If a simple signup doesn't work, with three years to prepare -- critics of the plan had a field day wondering -- how can this new approach to health insurance make things better in our country? President Trump experienced something similar with his controversial executive order on immigration. It was confusing, to say the least, and caught even members of his own administration unprepared. Constitutional questions landed the matter in the courts and this week a new executive order is likely to be drafted to take its place. Again -- approve or disapprove of the policy -- clearly the rollout was sloppy. Chaordic times, indeed.
We began something new at First Baptist, Alexandria on Sunday. Because of the long anticipated, major renovation of our sanctuary, we had to create a new worship space in our Faith Activities Center and move everything there for a period of at least 18 months. Sunday was the first day. Our church is so identified with its iconic sanctuary, where we have worshipped since 1954, there was much nervousness on the part of our people (and me, too) about whether or not our members would accept the changes and keep a positive attitude with the disruption. Would it feel like worship? Would this be a success?
Well, it was -- from the second the countdown clock on the screen reached zero -- all the way to the closing singing of the LORD's Prayer. Our folks were enthusiastic, upbeat, and genuinely excited to be doing something new and fresh. The ushers and greeters were prepared, the choir and orchestra led us beautifully, and the worship was real. The lighting and sound were so much better than what we have had upstairs, and the atmosphere was intimate. I had been calling it a "shakedown cruise", but I honestly don't know how it could have gone any better than it did.
This didn't just happen, of course. Months of praying, planning, and hard work went into Sunday's launch. From our pastors and support staff, Sandy Kenyon, Larry Bull, Tim Bailey and a remarkable audio/visual team, our incomparable music ministry, ushers and deacons. The building committee and Sam Moneyhun preparing the room for this very special kind of use. Archie Doering, as always, at the very center of it all. And our great Bible Fellowship organization proved flexible and mature enough to adapt to new rooms and traffic patterns.
Thing is, these same people and many others are going to have to make the same effort and keep up the same energy level every Sunday for months to come.
When it was all over, many people told me that they had had tears in their eyes during the service. Because of a particular song, maybe. A point in the sermon, possibly. The baby dedication. But certainly that very special moment when, up on the screen, we saw 9 year old Ella Murray's baptism. "He is my LORD", she said, and down she went into the water, identifying with Jesus and signifying for all of us what it means to be "in Christ".
Those are all the things we routinely do in a worship service at FBCA. Only in a different place this time, and for just awhile. We are going to be OK. It works.
But now, it seems, I've got a different worry. Some people told me that they enjoyed the service so much, they're not sure they will want to go back once the renovated sanctuary is ready.
And that can't help our fundraising effort, Chad.