Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven Years of Memories

Today is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York City. Much of the nation spent the day remembering that terrible tragedy. It is a day we should never forget.

But in the midst of such painful memories, a group of people in Central Vermont celebrated a more joyous anniversary. Faith Community Church celebrated their 7th anniversary as a church. Faith Community Church was born in the hearts of three families who began to meet for Bible study around my kitchen table in the summer of 2004. Feeling led of the Holy Spirit to form a new church in the Barre area, we began Sunday morning worship services in the conference room at the Hollow Inn on the second Sunday of September 2004. Thirty one people met on that first Sunday. We did not have live music, so we used "I Worship" DVDs. We jokingly referred to it as "Christian karaoke." The Sunday School met in a hallway. Children of all ages were in one class and my 13 year old daughter was the teacher. We had to set the whole "church" up every week and take it all back down at the end of the service. In those early days often the tithe check my wife and I put in the offering was the bulk of the income for the week.

The church has never claimed to be a group of people who have it altogether or who live perfectly. We have always been a collection of people with colorful histories, challenging life situations and a multitude of spiritual questions. But as we come to understand the timeless truths of scripture, our lives are being transformed to be more like Christ. It is a long slow process, but one worth being engaged in. Faith Community Church has always tried to be a church that helped real people find real faith in a real world. We have never focused on producing lofty theological statements that have little impact in daily life. Instead, we have focused on how to apply theological truth to our every day experiences. This has helped us carry our faith into the world in ways that most of us never thought was possible.

The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention but welcomes anyone who desires to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth regardless of their religious affiliation, or lack thereof. Though the church reaches out to anyone who wants to come, it has been particularly successful at reaching un-churched young adults. The church has also been able to minister to a growing number of people who attended church as children but were not very active as adults. Though Vermont is one of the "whitest" states in the nation, the church has families from a wide variety of ethnicities and from several nations around the world. The church is known for its powerful praise team and for expository preaching from its various elders. Since the church uses a multi-leader approach, which includes three bivocational ministers and one lay leader, the church is able to focus a significant portion of its income on helping the poor, starting new churches and supporting missionaries around the world. It has been my joy to serve as one of those elders of since the beginning of the church.

Eventually the Lord allowed us to purchase a vacant building on the edge of town and convert it into a church facility. Since moving into that building, the church has birthed two daughter churches already, as well as helped several existing churches with youth leadership training and financial support. Though numbers are only one way to guage the health of a church, we rejoice that we had over 230 in worship this morning and that in our short existance we have already given over $150,000 away to various mission causes. Most importantly, we rejoice that over 85 people have professed faith in Christ and been shepherded through the baptism process so they could proclaim their new faith publically. To God be the glory!

Though only the Lord knows what the future holds, so long as the church keeps its focus on Jesus and follows God's Word, that future will be one that continues to impact the community for Christ. I look forward to watching God unveil that future as we walk with Him.

8 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Faith Community Church! I pray that God continue to bless your faith and may He give you a constant renewal of hope.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dr. and Mrs. H. B. Graves, Knox City, TexasSeptember 12, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    We remember sitting at your table, and then moving on to the motel, and then to the building. We are so proud to have been a
    little part of this work. We pray all the time for the work there. Our love to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are so many ways I am thankful for Faith Community Church. One has been the tremendous support from my church family when I have been in need. Sometimes it has been a physical need and other times just someone to pray with, or someone to pray for me. But most of the time it is the fellowship of other believers that makes me feel so connected to FCC. I am blessed in so areas of my life, especially the family God gave me when I came to FCC.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I attended the anniversary service, and it was so moving. This church means a lot to me. Some people referred to it as a home-away-from-home. Well, I call this church more "home" than I do my other "home". I have found friends here that I'd call my "family". I know that I have gone to church sporadically in the past... but I always seemed to come back around. I hope to stay here this time around, and not go astray again.
    The people make the Church. Every one of you that God used to touch my life in some way, I am truly blessed to know you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My husband and I had a hard time trying to have a baby. Turns out all I had to do was pray, and God gave her to us. The church reminds me that I will always have a place to learn about God, and teach my daughter about Him. There is no better way I can think of to thank Him, than to teach my daughter how to be of faith through a great example. Thank you Terry Dorsett & Kay Dorsett, for the great start you gave me and my family at our church, and the wonderful example you continue to provide!

    ReplyDelete
  6. JOE, VIVIAN and SONJA BENNETTSeptember 12, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    I want to say a special thank you to those from the church who helped us clean out our cellar and barn from the flood, also thank you to those who brought food. may GOD POUR OUT HIS BLESSINGS ON ALL OF YOU again thank you all.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good morning Terry,
    I recall that our first mission trip to Vermont, in August of '04, was to prayerwalk South Barre in preparation for a new church plant. We even got to meet you and meet with some of the group that was starting the work. I knew that God had called us, and I sensed the excitement and purpose of that group that we met in your home, and felt that God would bless this new church start. Wow! Seven just years later, having over 200 in attendance, and all those who have been reached with the gospel. Truly this is an example of something that only God can do. Congatulations on celebrating your seventh anniversary! Seeing what God has done with you folks only reinforces the call He has placed in my life, and the lives of others here at Glen Hope to be a part, however small it may be, in the continuing ministry in Vermont.

    Blessings!
    Jim Wrenn
    Glen Hope Baptist Church
    Burlington, NC

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is so exciting and such a testimony to what God can do with available people. He has blessed your seed planting with a great harvest. I am always so grateful for the summers I was able to spend in Vermont laboring with and learning from such dedicated servants. Hope your fall goes well. I am always in touch with your ministry in some way.

    ReplyDelete