"It Is Good to Be Home"


"Nostalgia and Newness"

January 14 was my first Sunday and sermon at Sardis Presbyterian. Leading up to that, I had been wondering who would show up. Frankly, every Sunday I wonder if anyone will show up! These days there are so many other possibilities for a Sunday morning and most of them are more interesting than one of my sermons. (Thank God for sanctuary choirs and worship bands!) But on January 14, I figured the “new pastor bump” would come into play and that attendance numbers bolstered by curious members would be further augmented by the new pastor having a lot of family in town who would feel obligated to visit Sardis and maybe some old friends would be there, too. Members, family, and friends did, indeed, show up in force and it was one of the most exciting days of my life.

It has been a wonderfully strange month as I have experienced in equal measure the excitement of newness and overwhelming nostalgia. Those two things do not usually happen simultaneously. God has been blessing me with causes for …

A Pastor Reflects on Home

Everything looks different than it did in 1985—but you know that. There are new office complexes, retail shops, and residential developments taking the place of whatever it was that used to be there that I suspect I would have recognized. The big football field is supposed to be Memorial Stadium. Where did the A&P go? But in the midst of the unfamiliar surroundings of my old home city, I always can spot a church that looks just the way I remembered it. I am trying to decide if that is comforting or concerning, but the comforting part is taking the initial lead.

Of course, a church is not constructed of brick and mortar, but of the people who gather there for worship and of the things their faith leads them to do there and when they step out into the community. It has been overwhelming in every good way to find myself back in the Charlotte community and seeing these familiar churches has made me realize how deeply many churches mattered in my life before I committed my professional …