FRC: A Family

“So how was your weekend?” my pastor asked as I sat down at our weekly staff meeting.
“Great!” I replied. “Thank you, by the way, for letting me take that time away. It was really meaningful for me and my family.”
I was referring to the time I had spent at my dad’s church over the previous weekend as we celebrated his ten years in the ministry. As a result, I had needed to take time off that Sunday and have someone else cover for me in the music and worship department.
“So everything went well?” he asked. “You enjoyed yourself?”
“Yes,” I said. “But I missed it here.”
“You missed it?” he asked. “How? In what way?”
“Hmm… I don’t know, really,” I finally responded. “I just miss it when I’m gone.”
He seemed interested in my comment but didn’t push me to elaborate. His silence got me thinking, and I started to wonder what it all could mean. Yes, I missed my church when I was gone, but why? I vowed that I would take the time to think it over, and I promised that I would let him know when I figured it out.
To be honest, it didn’t take long to make sense of it all, and the truth was plain and simple: I loved the church. That’s why I missed it so much. I had been a part of the church since I was a tiny baby, and it held an important place in my heart. It was where I was baptized and became a member in eighth grade. It was where I sang a solo for the first time and fumbled through my first offertory piece on the piano. It was at FRC that I played my first praise song and delivered my first sermon. There were so many firsts in that church that the memories were enough to cause a lump to form in my throat.
But the most obvious reason for loving the church and missing it when I am away is the people. The people at FRC are some of the most dedicated servants of Christ you will ever meet. With a concentration on missions and a heart for sons of the church (those who have gone into pastoral ministry), this congregation has always had heart… heart for the lost, heart for each other, and heart for Christ.
But it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, in 2008, I had almost given up on FRC. I was sitting somewhere toward the back of the sanctuary on a Sunday morning to hear the report of a partner in ministry. Tears streamed down my face as he spoke, for the future for our congregation seemed so dismal. We were low in attendance, our children’s ministry had dwindled to nearly nothing, and our new pastor had arrived in the midst of this decline. For as much as I loved FRC, I was ready to turn away and maybe attend church with my grandmother across town. I was battling through depression at that time and the beginning symptoms of my eighteen-month allergy struggle, so I was already emotional. But the concerns for FRC went deeper than that.
The ministry partner spoke from the pulpit about his ties to the church and how he would always have a place in his heart for the people of FRC. I don’t know if he was aware of our recent decline, but he spoke as if he could read right through the situation. He challenged us to keep pressing forward together.
Needless to say, I stuck it out. Pastor Tim began to hit his stride in ministry, and new families began to frequent the church. The music and multimedia began to change, and it wasn’t long before Pastor Tim was asking me to help him in planning worship. After two years of volunteering in that role, I assumed the paid position of Music and Worship Director. All the while, the FRC community began to change all around me. We began to concentrate on corporate worship, investing in deep relationships, and interacting in small groups.
Now, by no means are we perfect, but we are a church that has faced adversity and kept pushing forward. We don’t have it all figured out, but we are seeking to have a great Kingdom impact in western Wisconsin. So why do I love my church? I don’t think there is a simple way to express this, but I’m going to take a stab at it. I love my church and miss it when I’m gone because of the community that exists within the church’s walls; we are a family through the blood of Christ.

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