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‘This must be the place’comment (0)

October 5, 2000

By Betty Baggott

An interesting thing happened at our church Sunday morning. Before the service, visitors requested a copy of the mission statement of the church. Proper material was given.

During the service Pam Kenney, music director at Farmville Baptist Church, Opelika, shared from her heart a song that expressed what should be the mission statement for any church. I listened and wished for a copy at that moment to put in the hands of the visitors.

I share the words of this song with you. At a time when polls indicate church attendance in the United States has declined (approximately 55 percent of Americans reported attending services on a monthly basis in 1998; in 1991 this percentage was 60 percent), it would seem that all churches should re-examine their mission statement. True converts and real repentance go hand in hand. But many churches are so judgmental that lost people never find their way into the sanctuary.

Here are the words of the song “Thus Must Be the Place.” Souls on the street, addicted to sin, selling themselves to survive. Not understanding the hope they could find in a place where God is alive. They doubt that they could meet the standards necessary and fear that they find judgment rather than a sanctuary.

The neighbor next door keeps the house looking good, but the home is collapsing within. Pressures of life pull the family apart and temptations destruction begins. They doubt the church would have the answers and fear they’d find rejection rather than a sanctuary.

This must be the place where a broken heart can mend. This must be the place where the outcast finds a friend. For we cannot lift the fallen if our hand still holds a stone and their sin that seemed so great to us is no greater than our own. There must be a point where shame meets grace and this must be the place. The church must be the arms of God reaching out to bring them in to a place where they can find His love regardless of their sin.

The church must be that place. Truer words were never written. What a challenge for us. Ultimately your church and mine will know that our efforts are truly worthy when we hear God’s words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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