Next week I will share some thoughts about my sabbatical and what I learned; this week I want to reflect on our last Sunday at 5220 Johnstown Road. As of September 1, our church building will change hands to remain in the keeping of the Presbytery of Scioto Valley. 108 baptisms, 192 new members and around 750 worship services later, we are moving on.
The last Sunday in our building was both joyful and painful, sweet and bitter. The bitterness and pain of leaving should not be swept under the rug – we have had amazing years in that building with blessings too many to count. The Lord has been so kind to us. He has used us to bring more people into His family and to sanctify us slowly but surely. It is a bitter pill to swallow that we will no longer worship there.
BUT (and this is a huge “but”), the sweetness and joy of last Sunday far outweighed the pain and bitterness for me. The place was packed. Our worship songs shook the building with praise. We had the Word of God to feast on. And sharing the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper together was the best way to end our time at 5220 Johnstown Road.
I am so impressed by the work our staff, leaders and volunteers have done to prepare us to worship at 6600 E. Dublin-Granville Road. I am incredibly thankful for the financial commitment of our people throughout this year (we are still around 50% above last year’s giving). I am excited and hopeful for what the next couple months will bring. What will God teach us as we become a mobile church (again)? How many people will come with us? Who will God send our way as future NAPC family members who will have no reference point for the 5220 Johnstown years? To say the least it is not boring (and there is much to be said for “not boring”).
The most poignant moment of Sunday for me was serving communion as I looked into some of your tear-filled eyes and told you of the great gift we have been given: the body and blood of Christ, given for us. No matter what the next few months and years hold for our church, the greatest gift and comfort has already been given: Jesus Christ has brought us near to God, He has saved us by grace, and He goes with us no matter where we go. However imperfectly, our great God was glorified by saved sinners in the building we left, and He will continue to be glorified at the New Albany Middle School starting September 1.
Friends, if we have Jesus, we can face anything. Let’s begin a new era in the life of NAPC with joy and confidence this Sunday!