Monday, November 03, 2008

Small Town - Part 6

fbc_collinsvilleFirst Baptist Church in Collinsville, Oklahoma celebrated its 100th Anniversary this past weekend. The congregation has been in existence since 1908 (obviously) and has been located on the same corner since its first building was constructed. Why do I mention it? Well, FBC Collinsville was my home church from around 1966 to 2000. I grew up in that church, became a Christian and was baptized in that church (along with my two brothers), and I married my wife of 28 years in that church.

My dad served as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher there; my mother taught Sunday School, and served as Church Clerk. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School there. I was in the Youth Choir, as well as RA's (Royal Ambassadors -- I don't hear of many SBC churches doing RA's anymore; apparently they're still around).

First Baptist, Collinsville is my church "home." It is the place where I encountered people like Monroe Palmer, Jim Carty, Estelle Williams, Frank Johnson, Charlie Miller, Roy McGhee, Phil and Cathy Cook, Ed Blevins, and Mrs. Spyres. Who are they? They were my pastors (Palmer and Carty) and just a few of the Sunday School teachers who faithfully prepared lessons each and every week and then patiently shared the Bible stories with me and several other rowdy boys and girls who really wouldn't appreciate the legacy we were being given until much later.

Throughout my life there, those individuals didn't just teach me Bible stories...they invested their lives in me and the other children, later as teenagers, and even later as know-it-all college students. They poured their hearts and souls into (some days) seemingly ungrateful and uninterested pupils. They became frustrated at times, I'm sure. But there were lots of times they really connected; they penetrated my/our hearts with the truth of God's Word and His plan to "prosper us...plans to to give us hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) It may not have seemed like it at the time, but those truths stuck...and they stuck DEEP. To this day, on Tuesday--that's just the day I picked years ago--I thank God for my former Pastors and Sunday School teachers. I lift their names up to God, praying for His continued blessing on their lives and thanking Him for the influence they were/still are in my own life.

This past weekend I saw some of those teachers. Yep, they're still around. We hugged; we laughed; we shared some memories. But what we shared is more than just some happy thoughts--we share a common bond in our love for God, His son, Jesus Christ and a congregation--built on God's Word--that has endured 100 years. Here's praying that 100 years from now, another group of Sunday School teachers, pastors and students will gather...remembering and thanking God for the the privelege of being part each other's lives.

1 comment:

nacotaco said...

Hi Keith! thats a wonderful story....enduring.....I enjoyed the read....nancy