Village Voice - November,
Having just enjoyed
another VBC Homecoming event
set me to thinking. It was great to see and swap recent histories with
great former member-families as the Blantons,
Despite the warmth of these reunions, though, there was a twinge of regret that these terrific people are no longer with us on a permanent basis. Because of the transient nature of our community, our church sometimes seems like a “way-station” for folks on their way to somewhere else. One of my favorite VBC people is rumored to have said, “It’s risky to get too close to anybody, because they’re sure to leave”, and I admit to similar sentiments. And, because of the tremendous services many of these former members performed while with us, it sometimes seems that their loss will be impossible to fill.
However, after some
thought, I found some positive
aspects to all the people who have come and gone during the past
First, what they brought us when they came. Many came to us from other traditions and geographies, and as a result contributed fresh ideas and insights that were of immediate value as we grew and changed. We’ve also benefited from the growth and insights of literally dozens of “VBC Kids”, who came with their parents, are now responsible citizens with kids of their own, and engaged in grown-up Christian walks of their own.
Secondly, what they did during their stay. With few exceptions, our former members devoted much time, resources and talents to our ongoing health and vitality. Many were Deacons, Commission Members, musicians, and filled other scarce but necessary roles, making us better in the process.
they took when they left. I was
privileged to speak with most of the
returning members at the Homecoming dinner, and without exception they
expressed gratitude over what VBC had meant to them. In most cases, it
down to our being a place that tried to live out our motto: “we reserve
right to accept everybody”. I believe
they would all say that they left here different than they arrived.
means that the small stone that was dropped into the
Last, the confidence that new and faithful people will continue to join us in the future. The congregation that worships with us today is still strong, consisting of many newcomers who have found or are finding ways to serve keeping us strong, diverse, and growing positively. As long as we work to retain our goals to be inclusive, non-judgmental, and committed to the Great Commission, they will continue to do so, and VBC will thrive.
So, let’s celebrate
what those who moved on left for us, as well as the tremendous
for the ever-changing congregation that is
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the
- Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
to Village Home Page