Centuries ago, John Fawcett was the pastor of a poor church in Wainsgate, England. Since he was a talented and dynamic preacher, he received an offer to be the pastor of a large, affluent church in London.
It was a great opportunity, but it presented a problem: He dearly loved the congregation in Wainsgate and it was breaking his heart to leave.
After he and his wife had packed away all their belongings, members of the church came to see them off. During their tearful farewells, Mary Fawcett said to her husband, "John, I cannot bear to say good-bye!"
He thought for a moment and said, "Neither can I. And so we won't. This is our home and these are our people and this is where we'll stay."
John Fawcett spent his entire 54-year ministry serving this one church. Reflecting on his decision to stay, he wrote these words:
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
That's the verse everyone knows. Here's one of the other verses:
We share each other's woes, our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
There's a reason why old-fashioned things like Sunday school classes and home Bible studies are still such a great idea. It's not just about what we learn from the lesson. It's about what we experience in community with others.
It's more than just an advertising slogan: Life is better when we're connected.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people (Acts 2:46-47).
Grace and Peace,
Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.