“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13:1-3)
This week at Beckwith, we started a book study, a new event for our church! The book we are going through is called Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer. It is a book that takes a hard look at how your church operates and offers suggestions and discussion questions to make your church more inviting to visitors. Like I mentioned, this was the first time we have tried anything like this, and by any other standards, it probably would have been viewed as a failure--in a church with over 120 active members on the role, only 10 people showed up; however, sitting there with these nine other people, I saw a great future for the church.
Age and gender varied with this group. There was an almost equal number of males and females, and the ages ranged from a 12-year-old to people in their sixties, with every decade in between represented (don’t worry, I won’t share actual ages for those who came). Educational and work backgrounds were also different amongst the ten of us, and that brought ten different perspectives that all contributed to the conversation. We had an hour of great discussion about where the church was and where it could be.
When Jesus began his ministry as an adult, he initially chose twelve disciples to follow him and learn his teachings. From these twelve disciples (or apostles), following the teachings of Jesus, Christianity spread throughout the region and eventually, over many years, throughout the world. Those twelve apostles were not perfect people--Peter denied and Thomas doubted, and Judas betrayed them all--but they all had a role to play in God’s plan, and that is why I am able to write this blog today and to be able to say that I have been saved by God’s grace. The work those few put in made all the difference.
Now, I am not saying that a book study comprised of ten people will have the impact on the world Jesus and his apostles did by any means, but I am suggesting that, even though the number is small, the local impact can be great. If those ten people each tell one person to read the book, and that person tells one person, and it happens one more time after that, suddenly, eighty people have been impacted by this book study! All of this because of the work of ten people.
To the brothers and sisters who attended the book study, thank you for coming. Just working our way through the introduction brought up so many great ideas! To those who messaged saying you were not able to attend, it is understandable. Life can be busy at times, and family is important. We do hope to see you next Tuesday though! And for those who either didn’t want to come or didn’t know about the book study, try it out. You don’t have to pay for the book, and I’m even bringing cookies this week. Even if it is the same ten people, or even nine though, that means there are nine people who are wanting to work for the Lord and make our church an even more inviting place, and that makes me grin from ear to ear!
The Book Study of Beckwith meets every Tuesday at 5:30 pm from Sept. 25 through Oct. 30. Everyone is welcome to attend, and a book will be provided if you come!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Bro. Lain Tomlinson is the Youth Director at Beckwith Missionary Baptist Church. He was called to preach in October 2015 and has preached all over middle Tennessee and Texas since then.