Why This Church?
Adam Hamilton is a United Methodist pastor and author who lives in Kansas City. He speculates that for any church to thrive and grow, its members must be able to answer the question, "Why this church?" Being able to articulate that gives a community of faith clarity of its mission and vision. So for us, we must be able to answer the question, "Why First Christian Church, Concord?" Why this congregation and not one of the many others in this area?
For me, this is why this is my church home and why I feel called to serve this church.
It may seem strange to begin with history, but our shared history is powerful. Those who have served before me have, in many cases, had a profound impact on my life and continue to shape my ministry. To innovate with any integrity, a church must sit on a solid foundation, and this community of faith has had and continues to have a powerful witness in our community and the world. For 129 years this congregation has been open to the spirit of God moving among us and shaping us into who God would have us become.
This is a congregation that believes strongly, passionately that all are welcome in the family of God. We boldly claim that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people. And when we say that we know that “all means all” or it means nothing. Blacks and whites, Gays and Lesbians, Native Americans and immigrants, Liberals and fundamentalists and even bald white guys, are all invited to the table of Jesus Christ – or no one is. It is that basic belief that enables us to boldly claim – and put into practice – that we are an Open and Affirming congregation.
Witness to the Community and the World
I carry with me an image of the church as a filling station where people are filled and sent out into the world to make a difference. In many ways, that is what we are about. We strive to make the world more peaceful just as we do great work in the community and the world. From our hosting SHARE to our relationship with Wren Avenue Elementary to our mission trips to Mexico, to cooking and serving meals each month at the North Concord Shelter and hosting the Winter Nights shelter, to our support for Disciples Mission Fund and the Week of Compassion we are making a difference. I also love the stories of what our people are doing day to day in your own lives to make a difference.
Commitment to All Generations
It is a gift to be a multi-generation congregation. It is becoming rarer to see a church reflects a healthy population of people in each generation. We work really hard to achieve that. Our youth and children's ministries are providing a nurturing, loving environment for the younger generation to grow in faith. We are also taking steps and seeing progress in making this a church that the millennial generation will not only feel comfortable and challenged to be a part of, but one where they will be eager to invite others. And we are taking significant steps to serve and nurture our senior adults in very intentional ways.
I can think of hundreds of stories to tell about our people, about you. You are a grace-filled people who seek to be inclusive, challenged, and loving of one another. Your journeys are diverse, just as your sorrows and joys are diverse. Each and every week, as I look out at our congregation, I am reminded of how incredible you are. You are a beacon of hope in this world and each and every one of you embodies the love and grace of God for me.
What about you? How would you respond to the question, “Why this church?” In the next few months we’ll be inviting some of you to share publicly why you choose to make this your community of faith. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.