Pastor David Butler and his dear wife, Gayle, hosted Kris and me this weekend at Springdale Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and were we treated to kindness! But even more than that, we loved the fellowship and the reports of the ministry flowing into and out of Sprindale. Where to begin?
I begin with this: David and Gayle have been there for 18 years, and the work began with two other families — it is now a thriving multi-generational and vibrant seeker-sensitive ministry. David spoke like a caring pastor about everyone — ne’er a discouraging word. Gayle works with the process of “assimilating” folks into the ministries of Sprindale. Kris and I really clicked with them and talked about all that is going on there until we got home.
I’m reading Sandage and Shults, The Faces of Forgiveness, wherein the authors work out the theme of “face” (facing God, facing others, facing self), and Sandage esp gets into how faces speak and record our emotions. I got to thinking Sunday evening about the faces of David and Gayle, and I think both of them have the “face of grace” and Springdale itself is a “face of grace” — a place where God’s face of grace smiles on others and where people learn to face one another with grace.
We’ve been speaking in a few place lately and we are impressed with the vibrancy of churches across this land of ours. We like the “salt of the earth” Christians. One 8th grader asked me where I was teaching because, as she said it, “I like your teaching style” and “I don’t want to wait until the last minute before I decide where to go to college.” You go girl!
Dave Miller was the worship leader for the weekend. Dave has a real fine sense of mood and tone of music so everything seemed smooth as silk. Just the right preparation for my talk on purpose (a Jesus Creed talk). I have to emphasize that I’m not a homiletician but a teacher, and that seems to alleve folks of the thoughts that I just might not do things right. I don’t like pulpits — they make me freeze. So I was given the freedom to walk around.
We met a bunch of Southern Seminary students, and I’m glad to see seminary students in church — and I hope they are serving and not “preparing to serve” — service isn’t learned in a classroom but in serving. Jeremy hosted us and made sure we got were we needed to be – thanks, Jeremy!
Four folks were baptized, and one young woman read her story and it was moving. No reason for me even to begin, but I know Springdale was proud of her confession. She’s in the middle of a caring church, and I’m praying for her and them.