I went home. After two decades away, I stood in the sanctuary of the little Baptist church of my Florida roots. This time I was standing in the pulpit rather than sitting in the pew. Mom first took me there when I was five. I grew up in that church; it was "home" until I left for college life in Memphis. The Memphis chapter of my life was a thriller, a page-turner that included graduation, marriage, seminary, and three kids. I loved it, but the Sunshine State was home. We moved back to Florida in 1985. I guess I had to leave to fully appreciate my roots, not to mention the beach, tropical winters, and 365 days of green each year.
I felt the same way about coming back to the church of my childhood. It took leaving to appreciate what I had. I talked with Jack, a member of the church for 44 years. We reminisced. He knew me when I was just a punk and now he welcomed me as the preacher. Some things just get better with age. Jack is "one of those things." His love was genuine and his service over the years, selfless. He exemplified the very best of that body of believers: love, sacrificial service, behind-the scenes praying, quiet acts of ministry.
Standing in front of that church I was overwhelmed. These were the people God used to pour into my life, to shape me, to make me the man I am today. I think Paul was a part of that kind of church family. It must be the reason he wrote to the Philippian believers:
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to God. (Philippians 1:3 NLT)
Returning to my early church home God gave me a fresh reminder that kingdom impact isn’t measured by the size of the sanctuary. It comes when people love him with all their heart and serve him humbly with their spiritual gifts.
More than ever I realize the secret to effectiveness is not a mega-church (though that's not bad); it is a church with a mega-heart, a mega-prayer life and a mega-willingness to serve. That was my home church . . . my roots!
FOCAL POINT: Today, take some time to give thanks for your spiritual roots. Ask God to help your church make a mega impact for him.
Copyright © 2010 Tommy Kiedis