This week I’m blogging about what I consider to be the four marks of the health and vitality of the Roswell Presbyterian Church. I’m not focusing on any one program or person, but instead I’m identifying four traits which are true throughout the life and ministry of our congregation. By the way, I’m convinced that these four traits can be replicated in virtually any congregation, no matter what size.
Whenever new folks join our church, I love to remind them that in a church our size they aren’t going to know everyone. It’s impossible.
But I also remind them that what is important is that “they know some group and that some group knows them.” Relationships are at the core of who we are, and it is those relationships which are the fourth marker of the health of our congregation.
Ours is a relational faith. It begins with our relationship with Jesus. Living the Christian life is more than just agreeing to a series of dogmatic principles. It is more than just answering a series of theological questions. To live a Christian life is to be in a relationship with Jesus, and to be in relationship with the Church, the body of Christ here on earth.
One of the strengths of our congregation is the importance we place on people building those relationships within the family we call the Church. “The Lone Ranger” may be a popular movie, but the fact is, you can’t be a “lone ranger Christian.” We need each other, and thankfully, at RPC, we try to help people get to know each other.
One of our goals is for each member to be involved in a group in the life of the church… a place where they can share their gifts and offer their service, but also a place where they can know and be known by other Christians. It is within those groups that we find the support and encouragement we need to navigate our way through life. It is within those groups that we find fellowship and sustenance.
I never like to hear about a member of our church going through a tough time, but when those times come, I do find great comfort in hearing people say, “She’s in the choir, and they really surrounded her with love…. Don’t worry, he’s got his men’s Bible study to help him in this crisis… His weekday Bible study has really wrapped their arms around him.”
Relationships are vital in any church, but especially in a church our size. I wish that I could build a personal relationship with every member of our congregation, but I know that’s not possible. But I’m encouraged by the fact that all over the church people are building relationship with each other.
If you are having a hard time finding that place where you are able to share your gifts; or if you are having a hard time finding a place where you are known, please reach out and let us know. Email or call any of our staff members, and we’ll work overtime to help you find a place where you can be known.
Every Tuesday night during the summer a group of college students gather at Charlie and Emily Wright’s house for Bible study. They study the Bible, but I can assure you most of them are there for the relationships. It’s a time to reconnect with friends and to build new friendships. It’s all about relationships.
We joke about people sitting in the same pew every Sunday, or in the same seat at Bible study, but when we sit in the same place week after week we build relationships with the people around us. And when someone is missing, their absence doesn’t go unnoticed.
In the forty ninth chapter of the prophet Isaiah there is a great image in which God says our name is “inscribed on the palm of my hands.” I love that picture! God actually has our name written on his hand! This is a God who desires to be in relationship with us!
I hope you know this God in a personal way, and I hope you know… and are known… by others in the family of God. If not, let us know! We want to help you build those relationships.
RPC is a strong and vital congregation for many reasons, but when I make my list of the markers of our health, relationships certainly are high on the list.
What about you? What are the markers you see that make this a strong and healthy place? I’d love to hear from you!
Dr. Lane Alderman
Roswell Presbyterian Church