Sunday, November 20, 2005

Calvary Bible Church

It is high time I blogged about our new church. Yes, Steve and I have found a church that feels enough like home that I can call it "our church." What a huge praise! We have been going there for two and a half months I can't believe I haven't written about it until now, especially because several people have asked me if we've found a church.

We feel blessed to have found a great little church about 25 minutes away from us called Calvary Bible Church. The first thing that captured us was the people. At some churches, no one may even notice that you're new. Surely you can get plugged in and meet people, but probably you will have to be very proactive about it. At other churches, people around you will say hi during the "greet your neighbor" time, but they may or may not even tell you their name. At other churches, the ushers/greeters will notice that you're new and welcome you, but that's about it.

But then there's CBC. The first time we went there, we were amazed at how welcoming everyone was. From the minute we walked in, a steady stream of people went out of their way to come over and introduce themselves to us and let us know that they were glad to have us. They genuinely wanted to know who we were, what brought us to their church, where we were from, etc. (and although it did get a little tiresome answering the same questions five hundred times, it was so refreshing to feel like people cared!). One guy came over and stopped us while we were on our way out the door so he could introduce himself to us. We just felt so welcomed--it was the first thing that made us want to keep coming back.

Pastor Dave Harrell preaches expositionally, and he is a wonderful teacher of the Word. He doesn't pull any punches and he has a sincere passion for his flock to know and love the truth. He doesn't preach superficial sermons; he digs deep. We are currently in the book of Matthew, from which he has been preaching for the past couple of years--and will still be in for at least another 6 months, I would guess. It is so refreshing to get fed with spiritual meat and not just sweet-tasting milk!

The music is simple but beautiful. It's all hymns, though there are 20th-century praise songs in the hymnal (I'm talking "Give Thanks" and "Bless the Lord, O My Soul," not all-about-me, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend choruses). And we sing them joyfully, not like we're half asleep. I love that we sing six or seven songs throughout the service (in my experience, many churches who use hymns sing only two or three). There's no "worship band," exactly; the singing is led by a guy who has a fantastic voice and another guy playing the piano. But the cool part is that the piano guy has several very musically-talented kids who accompany him, most often with violin and some sort of Celtic-sounding flute. It's beautiful. (Understand I'm not against ALL modern worship songs...there are some fantastic ones...but after being immersed in the selfishness and shallowness of most modern worship music for the last few years I find this a refreshing and wonderful change.)

They also have a great ensemble, about a dozen people, which sings almost every Sunday. When we heard they were looking for more members, Steve and I decided to join, and that has been a lot of fun. Currently we're preparing for a big Christmas concert involving the little kids in a few weeks.

And speaking of little kids...this church has a clear growth strategy: "Be fruitful and multiply." :)Seriously. Steve and I feel like the oddballs because we are one of maybe two couples who don't have kids. This morning we had a baby dedication and there were EIGHT babies up front. That may not sound spectacular to those of you who go to big churches...but keep in mind this is not a big church--it might range from 100-200 people on a given Sunday (the congregation is spread out over a wide geographical area so attendance is sporadic at times). It's fun to have so many kids running around, though, and it makes the church feel even more alive.

Calvary Bible Church isn't a perfect church, by any means. Though I'd love to find one, I realize that if I keep searching until I do, I'll never settle anywhere. And if I did find one, it would cease to be perfect once I joined. So although we may not agree with everything Pastor Dave says, and although we may see areas of weakness or things we would change, we really like it here. We're surrounded by a community of believers who truly love the Lord. It feels great to look forward to Sundays again.


Kayla said...

That is great Amy. I can't believe you've been down there that long already! Time is flying by. With all the babies I am assuming there are some couples your age range? Have fun working on your Christmas event. We are using the kids in ours this year too and I think it will be really neat.

Anonymous said...

Well Amy, I did. I did steal that link and not post a comment. Here is your comment:
I like you a lot. And what you write in this blog many days has encouraged me in so many ways. I know, I should post comments. But I feel like some how my comments wouldn't carry the full amount of gratitude for the blessings I receive from just checking up on your life and reading your posts. Anyways, thanks for your insights and whether you know it or not, for your encouragement.
love Ron