• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant to the
    Senior Pastor
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    Director of Worship
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    Assistant Pastor of
    Youth/Families
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant of
    Youth/Children Ministries
  • Derrick Harris
    Associate Pastor of
    Shepherding/Young Families
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant of
    Adult Ministries
  • Angela Sierk
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Tyanna Holbrook
    Director of Nursery
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    Director of Facilities/Finance
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    Director of
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the father’s table


the father’s table

One of the beautiful aspects of the family of God is that the Father is constantly inviting more people to have a seat at the dinner table for the feast. Some of the new family members look, talk, and act like the people they sit down next to, and others don’t. The Bible gives us many reasons to celebrate this reality, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for us to embrace.

Maybe like me, you’ve had the experience of looking around the sanctuary or a Sunday School room and thinking to yourself, “Who are all these people I don’t recognize that go to ‘my’ church or ‘my’ Sunday School class?” There’s something godly about that kind of close community; there’s also something evil about that kind of closed community.

It’s quite possible you’ve had that experience I described at Southwood recently. We regularly have quite a few visitors worshipping with us, but just since school started this year, we’ve had over 130 people visit for their first time (and that only counts the ones who tell us they’re here!). You could find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the size of “your” church and thus less inclined to welcome or love well a person you don’t recognize. You could assume the Pastor of Assimilation (if you know what that means!) is supposed to greet those people. I assure you that I rarely get to meet more than five or six first-time visitors on a good morning, which means there are usually at least five times that many whom I don’t meet. Your willingness to walk down the pew or across the aisle is probably what will determine whether or not they experience the Father’s pursuing love in this community on that day or not.

Perhaps you’ve noticed new people from our singles group now attending your Sunday School class. One of the primary reasons our single members are now spread through many other classes rather than having their own class is the desire for both our single and our married members to benefit from engaging brothers and sisters with different life experiences, gifts, and challenges. The gospel breaks down barriers between different types of people rather than building new walls that allow us to live in a bubble (or Sunday School room) of people as similar to us as possible. The barriers are broken down because people are united by what matters most, a common Father. I may meet some first-time visitors in worship, but I will almost never be in your Sunday School class. You will have the option of erecting barriers to those different from you or experiencing the gospel and sharing true fellowship with a brother or sister you’ve never met.

If you don’t catch an opportunity like this in worship or Sunday School soon, don’t worry; opportunities will abound in the next few weeks for you to reach out to a new or prospective family member. The Holiday House, Jr. High Fall Retreat, and Harvest Hey Day will have us engaged with friends and neighbors, many of whom you will invite to be with us. And Behold the Lamb is right around the corner! Who’s coming with you? Whom will you meet or greet there?

Another beautiful aspect of the family of God is that all the new guests at the table, no matter what their background, experiences, or preferences, are there because of the Father. He’s the One who invites to, provides for, and presides at the feast. That’s what should motivate us to reach out to those around us: Our Father is so great that we want everyone to know Him! Those who don’t know Him we want to introduce to Him, and those who do know Him we want to make sure feel the love characteristic of his family. Are you captivated by the Father? Do you share his desire to see someone new at his table next to you?