We had a whole-church consecration service today at church, opening our new Christian Life Center. This marks a continuation in my family’s church life: from Knoxville through on to today, every church we’ve been a part of has added on or renovated while we were there. No, really; in San Antonio, Beavercreek, Forest, Greenville, Huntsville, Jackson, and Madison … every one. Dad served on the building committee at most of those stops, actually; he’s been happy not to be on that at the last two.
As we consecrated the new building, it was interesting to see old folks back again: previous pastors, former members, etc. I’m fairly sure that the third-to-last pastor set was someone who’d pastored my grandparents’ church down in Marion County [I need to confirm that with Mom]. Madison UMC has been a congregation since 1828; I am glad to be a small part of its tradition. I like being a part of older, smaller churches, as they tend to have a sense of history and can be relied upon to remember why we’re gathering together in the first place. Maybe this is my own bias against newer megachurches showing up, but I enjoy being reminded—regularly!—that church just ain’t about us: we gather together to give God glory and to make and nurture disciples for Jesus Christ. Yes, all of that can and should make us better people as we become better Christians, but that fruit is secondary.