A Pastoral Word
At General Assembly, there was a workshop offered titled “Letting your church history revitalize your church today.” The basic idea is that our churches started out with a purpose, with a vision, and now is the time to reclaim that vision and purpose. At each and every one of our churches, a group of people came together because they felt that God was calling them into ministry in that particular city.
Of all the church histories that I know of, I am not aware of any church that has “made” history happen more than Midway Christian Church. Our church started with a group of 32 charter members worshipping in an old woolen mill down on Railroad street, simply because they were tired of the long journey to New Union and Grassy Springs and they knew that God was calling them to a purpose right here in Midway. Soon the number of members began to grow in ministry and mission. Before long, this group that gathered at Midway were stretching themselves beyond their comfort zones, exploring new ways of mission, and worship.
This church tackled the big theological issue of should music be allowed in worship services. We must admit, that this issue caused a split in the church, which led to the beginning of the denomination of Church of Christ, but still, the beginning members of Midway Christian Church were thinking beyond their time. (Or just trying to cover up horrible singing, depending on which version you choose to believe.)
This church saw a need for young female orphans and knew that God was calling them to do something. They put their heads together and they pooled their money and soon the Kentucky Female Orphan School came into being.
This church saw an injustice in its society where African-Americans had no voice in church. They could be members but not able to be full members of the church. Once again, they put their heads together and pooled their money and soon Historic Second Christian Church came into being.
I am sure that there was conflict during these times. I am sure that not everyone agreed with the church’s decisions. But overall, the message is that the church heard God’s voice leading their ministry and their mission.
And now the time has come again for this history-making, foundation-shaking, stirring the pot kind of church to listen for God’s voice as God leads us in the process of how we live out our new vision and mission.
So for the month of October, during worship, we as a church will take a look at our beginnings as a movement across the frontier, and as a church.
I will be preaching a sermon series based on Walter Scott’s 5 Finger Exercise. Walter Scott was one of our denomination’s founders who after riding into a village would proceed “to address a group of children. After detailing each of the five fingers, he had them repeat and repeat, ‘Faith, repentance, baptism, [forgiveness] of sins, gifts of the Holy Spirit.’...He continued until they all could repeat it in concert...He then said: ‘Children, now run home-don’t forget what is on your fingers, and tell your parents that a man will preach the gospel tonight at the schoolhouse, as you have it on the five fingers of your hand.”*
Also during worship services this month, we will have two very special treats. Each Sunday, we will view pictures from our church’s past set to the music of “In Our Own Way, We Praise”, the album that was recorded by the church choir in 1967. Also on the last three Sundays of October, John Batts and Dick Murphy will bring to us a dramatic production of a “Conversation between Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone”, two more of our denominations founders.
As we take a look at our beginnings for the next month, we will listen for those voices of the past to lead us into the future. We will let their passion for God, their energy for mission, and their love of God’s children fill our hearts, our minds, and our souls. We will once again claim our heritage and let it revitalize our church today. We will once again claim the mission and purpose that sparked 32 people to come together and form Midway Christian Church.