A Word from the Dean in the March 4 Adventurer
I wrote in last week’s Adventurer about our starting a new service in the Refectory at 11:00 a.m. on August 19, which will have musical accompaniment other than organ and choir. It will run concurrently with our 11:00 a.m. service that meets in the Nave.
Last week I noted the pastoral impulse for our starting this service; next week I will write about the strategic impulse. This week, I would like us to consider the evangelistic impulse of reaching our city for the gospel.
Our identity is firm: we are a congregation with a living and daring confidence in the gospel. How are we doing at proclaiming the gospel to those outside of our fold? We might ask: Are we a church for the city of Birmingham, or are we only a church for a certain kind of person with certain tastes?
Though it is impossible for us to reach every person in Birmingham, I would not want us not to try – especially if our lack of trying is rooted in an unwillingness to sacrifice our own preferences so that others might hear of the Lord Jesus.
Closer to home, I might ask many of us to consider our own children, of whatever age. As they are (or become) adults, ask: Are they believers, and do they go to the Advent? Could a service like this – still instantly recognizable as an “Advent” service, with its warm reverence and liturgy – be a vehicle to introduce your children to the gospel, or possibly bring them back into our church family?
I was talking with a gentleman whose family goes back many generations in our city, and was surprised to learn that he and his wife were attending a “contemporary” service at their church. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him out of a tie. So I asked him why they decided to attend that particular kind of service. He simply replied: “Because I look down my pew and see three generations of my family worshipping the Lord Jesus together. It’s not my cup of tea, but all of us there together – that is nothing short of a miracle.”
As with all of our services, it is my prayer that this new service might be a place where all people of all ages might hear the good news of Jesus Christ. That has been our core from the beginning, from those who sat on crates in the grocery store where the Advent’s first services were held (before the growing congregation had to move Sunday services to a dance hall in the 1870s) to those that helped build the beautiful space we now inhabit. May the gospel go forth. Soli Deo Gloria!