People gear up for opening day. Whether sports, entertainment or the arts, opening day means the introduction of something new and the hoopla that goes with it. People put their best forward. Their best energy and best efforts.
New beginnings are a time of possibilities.
No one knows how it will go but everyone is hopeful, and a lot depends on that first day. It holds the promise of new.
I went to opening day for a church nearly one year ago. I was attending one of the larger churches in the area at the time and had heard stories of their start, when they gathered as a very small group stepping out in faith but not knowing where God would take them.
I wondered if I would ever be part of a start. So I waited on God to tell me. He and I have a deal. He gives me signs and I try to heed them. I saw one just a few weeks later. A small yard sign at our local high school read:
Heights Ch. starting February 8.
Ch? Weird abbreviation, but I knew it was a church. A new church starting in our neighborhood. They had a clean and contemporary website design and clearly written Christian beliefs. Importantly, nothing creepy came up on the Google search about the pastors. They were legit.
I was taking the kids to our church the next Sunday and was very late, as is too often the case, and drove right past the sign again. I had a choice to make at that point. I could keep on driving and sit in the back of the big church, if there were still seats available. Or I could pull in here, be early and see what happens on opening day.
So I took a chance.
As I drove closer to the school, I told our kids we an opportunity to see something rare: the birth of a new church. My kids promptly branded me a traitor and urged me to turn around. But as we drove home 90 minutes later, my oldest’s questions tipped me off that she too had felt something special there. Something new. Something different. So we came back the next Sunday and the next. It wasn’t long before my other children shared their desire to make this our church home.
We attended the first-offered sessions with the pastor and fell in love with the purpose, passion and people leading the charge. So we signed up to serve, giving our time believing that God will multiply the results and help our church grow.
This commitment to community has changed us.
We live life in relationship now, not just showing up on Sunday to sit in silence. And we treat every service like opening day because, with God, a chance encounter can signal a new beginning.