I spent this past weekend at Evangelical Friends Church in St. Clairsville, OH, just on the border of WV outside of Wheeling. This is such a great church – I had an amazing time with them, and man, did they keep me hopping!
On Friday night and Saturday I did a women’s retreat on Esther called “For Such a Time as This.” I think this is my favorite retreat that I do, and the women were wonderful. I also led the worship for the retreat. All weekend I noticed that this church is full of outstanding singers! People were singing harmony all over the congregation and it was so fun to worship with them!
Then Saturday afternoon I sound-checked for the Saturday night “Ignite” service and then spoke and sang on the service after dinner with the worship team. They told me that one of their youth group worship bands was going to open the service. What they didn’t tell me was that they were all 12-14 years old. And they were amazing! Seriously, they did a phenomenal job led by their youth pastor’s wife – I was so impressed. It was hard to get up there after them. 🙂
Sunday morning there were three services and I gave the message and sang on all of them. They had their regular praise team on to do worship and they were also outstanding. I’m seeing a theme here – this is possibly the most musical church I’ve ever been to! I was also impressed by the music director and how many people he gave opportunities to. That’s actually fairly rare, and fun to see. I was so impressed by the humility and friendliness of everyone I met here – they truly made me feel at home. These little glimpses of what the family of God will be like in heaven are so fun, aren’t they?
My favorite moment came at the end, though. Everywhere I go, if it’s possible at all, I present the Gospel. Even when you’re in a church, you never know who’s listening and who has never heard that before. This was a very solid church, and they place a huge emphasis on the Gospel, so I was actually hesitating, thinking, “I’m sure it’s not necessary here. Everyone must know it! I don’t want the pastors to think I think they haven’t said it,” etc., etc. But then I thought, no, you never want to miss an opportunity. You just never know.
So I presented the Gospel, and at the end, the senior pastor came to tell me that they’d had several people come to him after the services and ask to pray with him for salvation. I can’t tell you how much that means to me! I love hearing about how God is changing people’s lives, and to know that He let me have any part of it is the most amazing blessing He could give me. I love Him so much!