Jimmy and I have been blessed the last two days by the annual Sermon Seminar hosted by the Austin Graduate School of Theology. We’ve heard Rodney Ashlock on Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Ruth and Lamentations; Mark Hamilton on Jonah; Eddie Sharp on Spiritual Formation in the Lord’s Prayer; and Bob Chisholm on Small Group ministry. Bruce McLarty from Harding was scheduled to speak on the Gospel of John, but was unable to come due to a bout with the flu. We’ll finish up the seminar tomorrow at noon and enjoy lunch with Debby (Shelly) Pennock and her new husband, Whit, family minister in Leander, Texas. It’s been awesome being together again with Allan Stanglin and Jason Reeves.
While we’ve been in Texas, I’ve missed two very special days in the lives of my girls. Yesterday, Trae was named first soprano in the Ensemble group for next year’s Benton Middle School choir. And tonight, Tori hit two home runs as the 2nd place Drillers knocked off the 1st place Chiefs!
Sunday at Northside, it was announced that later this year, our church family will embark on a capital campaign to build a new, 800-seat worship center. Our current worship space holds 500 and we’ve averaged over 500 for the first five months this year.
Our current worship space holds some very dear memories for me. It was in that building that I attended my very first worship service following my birth. It was in that building where I preached my first sermon, led my first song, and took my first communion. It was in that building where I received my kindergarten diploma from my Granddaddy Cobb. It was in that building that my family bade farewell to my Papaw Gardner and Mamaw Gardner in 1974 and 1982, respectively. And, last Father’s Day, it was in that building that I baptized Trae into Jesus.
Those walls hold some of my most special, memorable spiritual experiences. Those walls have been home to some major, life-changing moments in my life.
And yet, it is time. It is time to make space for additional growth. It is time to make space to comfortably seat many more people who’ll give their life to Jesus in the years ahead. It is time for a growing family to provide space for the sake of the Kingdom of God in Benton and Saline County.
Make no mistake about it, the current auditorium, constructed by some visionary leaders in 1955 has served Northside well. But I’m grateful for the visionary leaders at Northside today who are looking over the horizon to the possibilities and potential of a God able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.