A few years ago, well many years ago, I moved as the point man (of my family) to Lubbock, Texas. I was a new assistant professor of civil engineering. After I got myself settled in to an apartment, I began searching for a church.
This story reminds me of my search. Go read it, then come back.
Did you read it? Good. A long time ago I reflected on my search for a church in Lubbock, Texas. I arrived early in 1993, got myself situated in a small apartment, and got started on my duties. Wife and kids worked in Mississippi to ready for the remainder of the move. As point, I started a search for a church.
My modus operandi was to dress in my not best jeans, an old flannel shirt, and go visit a church on my list from the telephone book. I had a big-ole ponytail and a neatly trimmed beard. I would enter the church a few minutes before the service and watch how people treated me.
Mostly I was ignored. I would find a place near the back to sit and then participate in the service. I was evaluating the teaching and music as well as my reception.
Again, I was mostly an invisible person.
After a few weeks, I visited Lubbock Bible Church. We like Bible churches because they tend to stick pretty close to the Bible. They can be a bit intellectual and a little less practical, but that’s sometimes the risk of solid teaching.
Before I could get out of the church my first visit, I was literally grabbed by the pastor’s wife. I was also greeted by a number of congregants. This was a unusual in my experience and a positive sign.
The pastor’s family took me to lunch and we were acquainted. I found our church. We were there for more than ten years before the pastor retired and things changed, and not for the better. We left soon thereafter and bounced around there in Lubbock and then again once we moved to Carson City.
I haven’t been searching for a church here. I’ve been focused on dealing with the things left undone before Wife’s death. Once I get through all of that, maybe. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
The object lesson of the pastor-as-homeless-man is well-taken. It’s an excellent lesson and needs to be learned by anyone who says they are Christian. I remember.
4 thoughts on “The Test”
I cannot tell you how much I miss LBC. The best church I’ve ever attended. I think of it, John and Sylvia and you often.
LBC was the best church I ever attended as well, but only during John’s tenure. He and Sylvia had a way of holding it together when there were internal forces trying to pull it apart. God blessed John and Sylvia and through them those of us in the congregation. When they retired and moved to east Texas, those internal forces began manifesting and the little church began a downward spiral that was an awful thing to witness.
Eventually, between that and my clinical depression, I decided I had enough. I resigned my position as worship team leader (I also left WIP at the same time) and decided to work on my own problems instead of watching LBC come apart at the seams. I saw enough to make me sick anyway.
That is one reason I am reluctant to be involved in church again. That said, I don’t know what’s in the plan once I finish my work here at the house. My weekends are generally spent dealing with things that were not dealt with during the previous 40 years. That will come to an end in a few more weeks and then I’ll be faced with the question “What’s next?” That is my current topic of prayer. I need divine guidance to answer that question.
That time at LBC was one of the highlights of my life and growth as a Christ-follower. I cherish it and reflect on it often. God used John and Sylvia in tremendous ways to show us all what a real church family was supposed to be and how it should function. I choose not to focus on the fall. I love them even if they will not talk to us.
There was a lot of bad things that happened there at the end. It was about all I could handle at the time and I should probably have left before I did. I don’t give up easily, but it was a very bad time for me and I was nearly non-functional at the time. I was not smart.
Regardless, I learned a lot from John and Sylvia. They drove all the way here for Wife’s memorial service then turned around and drove back home. So did their daughter and her man. I’m still astonished that they did that.
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