Hopefully I will wrap this multi-part series up soon, but no promises….
That Disciple Bible study was the first time I had done in-depth Bible study. I wouldn’t study the Bible so thoroughly for another two years. I finished the course and put the Good Book back on the shelf to gather dust. In the meantime, I left Savannah, took a job that kept me working afternoons and evenings, and stopped going to church for quite a while.
It wasn’t until I started attending Lamb’s Chapel, a non-denominational church in my next town that I truly started reading the Bible again. I went there because a couple of friends I made in my new town were attending. It was as different from the liturgical United Methodist church as could be … there was no liturgy. Instead, we sang all out for about 30 minutes, followed by a few announcements. Then, the senior pastor would commence to preach, straight from the Bible, for 45 minutes. And what made it fascinating was that I actually liked hearing his sermons. They weren’t the dry sermons I was used to hearing. I actually started taking my new copy of The NIV Study Bible with me to church and making notes in it. I marked up that new Bible completely with notes from those sermons. I stayed at that wonderful, non-denominational, Bible-filled church until I left Florence about 18 months later.
My next move was back to my hometown – and more church shopping. When I moved back my only requirement for a new church was that it be a little more formal than the last one – I missed a little bit of liturgy. I’ll never forget what caused me to choose Riverland Hills Baptist, my church home for the next 20 years. The day I visited, the pastor was commissioning all the short-term missionaries from the church. He asked everyone who was participating in a mission trip that summer to stand. It looked as if 40-50 people stood up – an entire section of the congregation on the right-hand side. My jaw almost dropped, and I thought to myself … “they actually believe it.” The Word, the Bible, that is – I was seeing people who actually believed in the Bible and they were an active part of the church. That sealed the deal for me to start attending that church.
Over the years, I got involved in the Singles ministry and took part in missions’ trips to Appalachia. Our Adult Singles ministry held wonderful retreats. On one, I made a rededication to my walk with Christ. There was no “altar call” and I didn’t make a big deal of it; in fact, I didn’t even really talk about it with anyone. But I decided that I was going to make changes in my life, turn myself around, and start walking more closely with God.
One more thing about this church: I got the chance to sing with RHBC’s renowned adult choir. Every Christmas was a spectacular presentation – and each Easter season was meaningful as well. We even did a choir ministry tour to Scotland and England! We sang in small churches across the British Isles, encouraging the believers there.
But changes came, and I eventually moved away from that side of town. It was time to find a new church home. Tune in next time as I explain how I managed to find the body of believers I’m worshipping with now.