Greetings from the beautiful and steamy Downtown Memphis! I am incredibly excited about our First Sunday in the new sanctuary on August 5. My excitement grows as I read people’s comments on Facebook and hear so many people tell me how thrilled they are to see us once again have a sanctuary for worship once again. I am amazed when I think back over the last year and all that has gone into this building project. While it is impossible to list in this short article the many people who have come together to make this sanctuary project a success, I will say that I cannot imagine how we would have been able arrive at this day without the amazing leadership and hard work of Jerry Wagley. Jerry has spent more hours than anyone can imagine pouring himself into the rebuilding of the sanctuary. Most of all he has modeled for us all what it means to be a servant leader in the style of Jesus.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:42–43, NRSV)
As we approach First Sunday, we must also begin planning and praying for Second Sunday. By “Second Sunday," I mean every Sunday that will follow our celebration of the opening of the sanctuary. I truly believe it is God’s desire to set on fire the hearts of all who worship in this new sanctuary and that fire will spread throughout Downtown Memphis and beyond. I realize I am treading on tender ground by using a metaphor of fire igniting in our sanctuary and spreading into Downtown Memphis but there is no greater metaphor for us to envision what God desires for us. Just as the embers from the fire of 2006 spread so quickly, I believe if we will let the Holy Spirit set our hearts on fire with love for Jesus we will see the love of Jesus rapidly spread into the hearts of many more.
Like the Christians described for us in Acts 2, we all as the people of First Church must commit ourselves more deeply to
- The teachings of the Apostle’s (God’s Word)
- Christ-centered Community (Oikos)
- Prayer together and alone.
These are the things that will set our hearts on fire and spread outside the doors of this beautiful new sanctuary into the hearts of people Downtown and beyond.