This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on August 17, 2020
I am sure that it is no surprise to hear me say that I believe that Church attendance is important. While I would love to have all of you be a part of our Wayne Street congregation, I would be happy to know that everyone is connected to a Church in a meaningful way. We here in St Marys have some wonderful congregations lead by some even more wonderful pastors. You will encounter Jesus at any Church in this community. I say that not only because of my complete faith in the pastors of this community but also because of my even more complete faith in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said it only takes 2 or 3 gathered for His presence to be there. I know Jesus well enough to take Him at His word.
But when I think about the reason why Church is so important to me today; I look back to my childhood. My love of the Church didn’t start with Jesus, it didn’t start with my love of God’s people or anything to do with an impressive congregation, music, preaching, or children’s ministry. I love the Church because my parents loved the Church. The Church was a big part of my growing up. Even in High School, when I was playing football or busy with High School stuff, my Church was still the cornerstone of my life. While I love my current Church home at Wayne Street, I still miss my home church from my growing up years.
I have a degree from ONU in Religion and I have a Master of Divinity from United Seminary in Dayton. I don’t deny that those degrees have helped me understand and present the Bible in a much clearer way on Sunday mornings. However, neither of those two institutions are responsible for my solid Biblical foundation. It was my home Church and the only way my pastor and many Sunday School teachers through the years had a chance to make such an impression on me was because my parents believed it was so important for me to be there.
We live in a day and age where no questions are off limits and no boundary is safe. I feel sorry for kids today who are having to wrestle with questions and challenges that I never even thought of at their age. I had the privilege of growing up where my third grade teacher played the organ at my church, my bus driver sat at the other end of the pew we sat in on Sundays and most of the adults I saw I school I already knew from Church. I was a connected kid and I thank God every day for that opportunity.
We are living in the most disconnected time in the entire course of human history and there is plenty of evidence to back up this claim. Social media and cell phones have driven a wedge between us that has been slowly widening for a decade and now because of the Coronavirus, we have government mandated separation and cancellation of live events so we are driven even more to hide behind screens. Even when we can be out in public, we hide our faces from each other for our own protection. Because of these factors, I think it is fair to claim this is the most disconnected time in human history.
We need connection now more than ever and in the history of the world, no organization has been better suited to connect people that the Church. In Acts 2, the first ever modern worship service was held and at that time there was a specific miracle. The Holy Spirit came down and enabled the people who spoke different languages to be able to understand each other. The Church has been the connection between people since literally our very first day.
If you are feeling disconnected, go to Church. Go join your friends and neighbors in singing praises to God and hearing a Word from the Lord. You are welcome at any congregation in this town and it is my understanding that all of our Churches are running on our normal worship schedules on Sunday mornings.
You may think that I am writing this article out of selfish motives, and that may be true. To see every Church in our town be full to overflow would be something I would absolutely love. But please see past this and know that I genuinely believe just how important it is for all of us to feel connected during this time of severe disconnection.