10 years

This weekend, the Columbus Church of Christ celebrated its 10th anniversary. Ten years ago, 25-30 would-be-disiples (Inside joke for my ICOC readers) came from Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati to start this church. My wife and I quit our jobs and packed our stuff and 18 month old Jessica and moved to Columbus. It happened almost that fast.

We had interviewed to be on the mission team earlier in the summer (the trip to Chicago for that was an adventure in itself) and then told at the beginning of August that we weren't chosen. We were disappointed, but understood. We were living paycheck to paycheck and had a fair amount of debt at the time. Not ideal candidates to drop everything and go on a church planting.

A week or so later we got another call. "Bro, you know how things go in the kingdom! Ha ha ha! We've decided that we'd like you to come after all. I know it's late notice, but if at all possible, we still need you there by the end of August." (After we arrived, they 'asked' us to lead the children's ministry. Now we knew why we were suddenly wanted.)

So, we gave less than 2 weeks notice to our jobs, wiggled out of our apartment lease, packed our stuff and headed onto the unknown. We had no jobs lined up, no apartment lined up (We stayed in my sister's basement the first month) and the day we left, we found out Maria was pregnant with Emily. And we had just left our health insurance with our jobs.

Twenty some others did the same thing and 10 years ago we had our first service in the basement of the minster's home. Amazing things happened those first months and years. Faith stretching, mind expanding, unbelieveable things. For just us personally, we got a nicer townhome that was cheaper and bigger than out apartment in Detroit (with no income to report for the lease. "I'm sure you'll do fine" the landlord said.), I got a great job that really launched my career (and had health insurance that covered that pre-existing pregnancy) and friendships that will last forever. It was an amazing time, I'll have to tell some more of those stories some day.

So this weekend we had a celebration of all that God had done in the last 10 years. Four of the five ministers who served here were there on Sunday, missing was AT Arnesson, the first. For a while we were on the 3 month plan. Back in the day when leaders from above would, and did, shuffle ministers around at will, AT stayed for 3 months and Darryl Reed after him for another 3 months. When Tom Caswell passed that mark and entered his 4th, we all rejoiced. I'm not sure the actual breakdown, but I think that Tom, Greg Miller after him and now Doug Geyer each served for about 3 years, give or take.

Darryl was here from Washington DC and took us to the cross and Greg, in from Washington state, preached a great lesson, pointing out that for many of us, 10 years is nothing compared to how far we have to go. We are a relatively young congregation, mostly in their 30's and 40's, so most will serve Christ here on Earth for another 30, 40 even 50 years (for the teens - 60, 70 or even 80!). Puts this anniversary, and my 18th spiritual birthday in perspective. He asked if we will have the freedom to choose in heaven? He thought yes, we have freedom to do so here, why not there? If so, why won't we sin? Because we will be with God and will see Him clearly and there will be no wordly pleasures to tempt us. We cannot excape the world, so we must keep seeking God and to see Him for who He is to make it to the end. Hopefully, his message will be on the web site soon.

We saw a video montage of still pictures and video snippets from over the years. It was funny to see the old pictures & hairstyles (or just hair) and sad so see the faces that are no longer with us, for whatever reason. We saw pictures of a couple of the teens who were baptized this year when they were in kindergarten or 1st grade.

It was very good to see old friends, especially the Millers who now live in the Tacoma WA area and other friends and family from Missouri, Washington DC, Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Minnesota. If only others from Wisconsin and Kentucky could have joined us, taht would have made the day that much more special.

It was a good day. As I looked at the larger-than-normal crowd from on stage where I was helping with the song service, and I listened to the voices raised in song, I imagined the crowd of angels hovering over the building singing & rejoicing with us. Even without hearing the heavenly song, the singing was incredible that day. It did my heart good and tears threatened to fill my eyes (Being an emotional guy, I'm pretty good at the art of looking for distractions to keep the emotions at bay. Look, there's a ceiling tile loose. And a light bulb out. Should tell someone about that.)

God has been at work here, in spite of our sin. I can only hope that for the next 10 years, there can be more of the former and less of the latter.

16 Comments

I thought about you guys yesterday. I'm glad it was a great time and many we're able to come back. Whose in MN???!! Laura had school Fri. and again tomorrow so it would have been a tough trip.

How wonderful bro!
So much faith rewarded.
Prayers for you church.

BEG - No worries on not being there, just saying it would haev been that much better if you P. Fredy had been. I understand the reasons why.

Milly - Thanks!

Wow! That brought back memories (we were on the mission team to SA in 91). Those were such great times (and simultaneosly hard times - ie our car's engine blew on the move down and we left it on the side of the road.). So glad you could commemorate them. Five years ago, we had a wonderful 10 year reunion, with a special dinner, pictures, folks coming in that had been part of the team, etc. Fast forward five years.......Many of the original mission team that were here five years ago, have left the ICOC because of the past 3 years. So this year, not even a mention of the 15 year anniversary. Nothing, nada. Made me very sad to think about it but very happy for you that your congregation could celebrate!!

ttk

I wish we could have been there. But I think that, not only did we not deserve to be with such a great group of Christians, but our life circumstances prohibited us from coming. I'm glad it was so successful and joyful. I miss Greg Miller a great deal also. IT would have been great to be there. Maybe at 20 years!

P. Fredy - We, and others, certainly missed you, but 20 years? Why not 10 years and a week or two? :-D Seriously, you know that you are welcome any time, and, assuming we're in town and aren't otherwise committed, you have a place to stay if you need one.

TTK - Of the 20-some folks who were hear at the start, I think there are only 7 still here. The rest have moved on, both in and out of the ICOC. I honestly don't know where many of them are now.

We had our share of challenges too, our stereo components were stolen out of our moving van, BEG's truck windows were broken with an overzealous toss of a football and more. But the amazing stories of things that just shouldn't happen ... A few and you'd think, wow, that worked out well. But after story upon story, you couln't help but see a bigger hand at work.

Posted too soon. Greg's sermon is on the Church web site now.

Great story! There is really something special about a group of just a few young families starting something together like that. Some of our dearest friends are those with whom we started a small church 24 years ago. We raised our children together and grew together in the Lord. Those times bind us together.

I went to Chi-town to interview for the planting and I did not measure-up...Oh well.

I am glad things worked-out for you. Also, God does bless us when we step-out on faith.

Patrick - Really? For the Columbus team? Were you there that same weekend us Detroiters were? There were folk from Cleveland and other places there then too. Interesting. Let me know, you can email if you'd rather. Email link is below in the comment form or at the upper left.

I think they were doing all of this interviewing the same weekend for the out-of-town people. I remember playing cards against a couple (it probably was you and your wife). Also, I distinctly remember a brother whom was going to school in Detroit (Wayne State?) and a Michigan grad who was working for Ford(?). Also, there were a number of people whom were living in the Columbus area already that were there. Anyways, it was sometime ago.

I glad you can look back and have fond memories. I was anxious and unsure that I was doing the right thing.

If you played cards with a couple from Detroit, that was us. I wish I remembered playing cards that weekend, but I don't. I actually don't remember much about it at all, at least about the interviewing part.

I think 7 or 8 came to interview from Detroit, all singles except us. It was us and that Michigan grad that were chosen to go. He's since married and went on another planting to Toledo, where he still is. His sister and mom and dad have all been baptized, I think.

Small world, eh?

Patrick, Byron here. I was in Chicago at the time so didn't meet you during the interview but I knew you from my Milwaukee days. I know that the Bible warns about looking at the good old days (Ecclesiastes 7:10) but those were some good times. Difficult, trying, not much sleep but good times and all my memories of you are of a good man.

Byron,

Well, I remember the Chicago members of the team interviewing at some other time before the rest of us. I also remember you being a part of the team. I did not associate your initials with you. Go figure. I do not know if you remember LaTanya Hill, but I married her four years ago. She remembers you as well.

Where are you now? I hope things are going well for you.

I was so startled and suprised about BEG being someone I knew that I did not address meeting your wife and you. I am glad I met you. I thought there was a chance you were the one I played cards with 10 years ago, but I just did not bring it up. By the way, your wife and you beat me and my teammate (I think it was the Wayne State guy).


Patrick,

I remember the name but can't place the face. I was thinking of one but as I thought it out that was Lydia.



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  • Patrick, I remember the name but can't place the face. I was thinking of one but as I thought it out that was Lydia. ...

  • I was so startled and suprised about BEG being someone I knew that I did not address meeting your wife and you. I am glad I met you. I thought there was a chance you were the one I played cards with 10 years ago, but ...

    Patrick
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  • Byron, Well, I remember the Chicago members of the team interviewing at some other time before the rest of us. I also remember you being a part of the team. I did not associate your initials with you. Go figure. I d...

    Patrick
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  • Patrick, Byron here. I was in Chicago at the time so didn't meet you during the interview but I knew you from my Milwaukee days. I know that the Bible warns about looking at the good old days (Ecclesiastes 7:10) but th...

  • If you played cards with a couple from Detroit, that was us. I wish I remembered playing cards that weekend, but I don't. I actually don't remember much about it at all, at least about the interviewing part. I think 7...

    salguod
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