We recognized our high school graduates during the morning worship services yesterday. Parents smiled as they stood and heard their child announce, “I’m (insert name) graduating from (insert high school) and my parents are (insert names). This fall I’ll be (insert plans).” Those smiles were an outward expression of love and pride. Inwardly those same parents were excited and probably a little sad.
Most of these graduates grew up attending First Baptist. They’ve participated in an unknown number of Bible studies, worship services, mission trips, retreats, lock-ins, service projects and who knows what else. They’ve made decisions for Christ and been baptized. They’re good kids.
Come August most of them will leave home and go to college somewhere other than Rock Hill. Their parents, and the rest of us, will pray for them and encourage them to get connected to a body of believers and go to church. Some of them will do that. Many of them will not. It’s an annual tragedy that many kids leave home for the first time and forget God. Some forget Him for a brief time, while others do for a much longer season.
Depending on where they go, some of them will connect with an exciting church. In recent years most of those churches, at least for our graduates, have been either “contemporary” churches or older churches with a really good “contemporary” worship service. When these new college students start going to church, their parents are always happy.
I wonder if our church will be that kind of church for any kids who come to Winthrop this fall. Each of them will have parents who love them and are praying they get connected to an exciting church. Most of them will have grown up in church somewhere else and will be away from home for the first time.
Some of the action plans that grew out of our unhindered process involve enhancing our two distinct worship services. Some of those plans are aimed at making our 10:30 AM contemporary service better than it is now…making it more culturally relevant than it is now. It will cost money. The stage will look different than it does now.
I’m excited about all of this. I’ll be even more excited when we become “that” church to more college kids, just like New Spring, Shandon and several other SC churches have been “that” church for a lot of our graduates.
Pastor Steve Hogg
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