I’m writing this post for two reasons. First, God instructs us in His word to be encouragers, to spur one another on to good works. I want to be an encourager. Second, our fearless leader, Dave Miller, sounded like he needs a little encouragement, judging from his last post.
My family vacationed at Mt. Rushmore last week, and as we were traveling home, we attended Dave’s church in Sioux City. Every good SBC Voices writer should make a pilgrimage to Dave’s church at least once in their lifetime.
We arrived and were immediately greeted by a gentleman who showed us where the hand sanitizer was located, the bathrooms, and a couple of other items of information. We were welcomed, but we were not swarmed. We have a large family, and churches tend to swarm us when we visit, but that did not happen here. This greeter did a great job.
When we walked into the sanctuary, I could feel the spirit of fellowship. It was one of their biggest crowds since they’ve been able to resume in-person worship. I could tell without talking to anyone that everyone was glad to be there. It was such a welcoming atmosphere.
The worship service began on time, and the worship was genuine. The worship was not too traditional, but neither were they trying to be too contemporary. We weren’t there to be entertained. We were there to worship.
Dave didn’t preach. The guest speaker Sunday morning was Josh McDowell. I was not familiar with his story, but his presentation was great, and Mr. Mcdowell spoke about a subject that has been taboo for far too long in far too many churches.
I want to make three simple points from my experience at Dave’s church:
- It’s encouraging to see, what most of us would consider an average-sized church, doing well. The mega-churches get the headlines, but it’s the average-sized churches that make up the backbone of American Christianity, and Dave’s church is probably not the only average-sized church doing well. If you are the pastor or a member of one of these churches, I hope you are doing well. If you are doing well during this difficult time, don’t take it for granted.
- First impressions matter. If I were living in Sioux City, I would come back to Dave’s church because the first impression was excellent. Dave, if you would give that tall guy with the gray hair and mustache a pat on the back for me, that would be awesome. He did his job well. It seems so simple, just tell them to smile and be friendly, but how often do we get bogged down in our study and other duties and forget about that all-important first impression? Don’t forget about it, and if you have a volunteer or two who are good at making that first impression, give them a pat on the back from time to time.
- Finally, Jim Geraghty from The National Review, wrote a piece last week titled “America, you’re doing OK.” I may write a piece titled, “Church, you’re doing OK.” We are doing OK. We’re doing better than OK because our leader is King Jesus. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 104, “My soul, praise the Lord! Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed in majesty and splendor.”
I’ve waxed eloquently about our experience at Dave’s church for about 500 words now, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part. What was the best part? I could tell that Southern Hills Baptist of Sioux City Iowa is gospel-centered. From the banners that hung on either side of the stage to the music to the speaker chosen to fill the pulpit, it was all gospel-centered.
A big thank you to Dave and his church for a solid worship experience for me and my family. I hope this brings you and others some encouragement.