There’s nothing like a home church. 

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My Grandmother, Me, and Emily

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My Dad, Emily, Mickey, and my Grandmother

Emily and I recently traveled home to Sedalia, MO to visit my Dad, Step-Mom, and Grandmother.  It’s where I spent years 1-13 of my life, my “formative” years I guess you would say.  It’s a good place to “be formed”. 

I had a giant moment of clarity a Sunday in February as I sat in the same pews that I sat in as a child next to my Dad.  Now as a grown woman, wife, and mother, I realized that this church is why I am who I am today. 

The sanctuary I sat in was just as it should be.  I felt so comfortable and welcome.  It was like sitting in a cozy couch with a soft blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, not rigid at all.  It is home.  I sat in my pew looking around remembering and reflecting…

The same nursery I played in as a child, my daughter now plays in.

The same man handing out church programs to everyone walking in the sanctuary was the same man that greeted me with a bulletin as a child.  He now sits in a wheelchair instead of stands, but his handshake still feels the same.  His smile…his warm hello….is exactly the same. 

They have the same steps on the stage that I sang on in children’s choir…

The preacher has the same pulpit, with the same communion table in front of it that says “Do these things in rememberance of me.”

The church youth still sit together in the same pew that I did as a member of the youth group.  And interestingly enough, at this church it’s the FRONT ROW, not the back row.  Says a lot doesn’t it.  

I spot at least 3 former Sunday School teachers of mine in the sanctuary.  They remember me, and call me, “Mandy”.  This is the only place I’m known as my childhood nickname and I love it.  They taught me the things that I now teach my daughter.  I remember my mom teaching the “Mission Friends” class that taught little kids about the work that missionaries did all over the world. 

My Dad, reaches over and holds my hand.  Just like he did when I was a little girl sitting next to him at church.

The sanctuary is filled with kids, well behaved in church, because it’s always been that way.  You behaved because it was normal.  You sat in church with your parents, period.  You didn’t play while your parents worshiped.  The family worships together at First Baptist Sedalia.

It’s the same aisle I walked down when I was 9 years old to accept Jesus Christ into my heart as my savior…By the way, at this church there is an opportunity to that at EVERY service.  The invitation is given every Sunday!

The church sermon had a similar theme to what I heard growing up.  Outreach.  Making a difference.  Share Jesus with people.  Your life has a mission.

First Baptist Church in Sedalia, MO is focused on mission, they constantly teach adults and children about the importance of making a difference, telling others about the love of God, going out in the world and serving.  Everything they do is about outreach, and it’s working.  Many of the kids that I grew up with in that church are now serving as ministers full time elsewhere.

The church website as this saying: 

Caring for people. Creating followers of Christ.

    Changing our world to the glory of God.

Well done!  I’d say you are accomplishing it! 

This church is the reason why I am who I am.  It’s the reason I went to work as a radio personality at a Christian Radio Station where I could talk about God, and encourage people as they live their busy lives, and pray with so many to accept Jesus as their Savior like I had done as a 9 year old little girl.   I have these values in my life now because First Baptist Sedalia taught me to live life that way. I didn’t always live it that way, but I figured it out eventually.

I want this kind of home church for my children too.

Thank you First Baptist Church of Sedalia, MO.  I love you. 

Here’s a slideshow with more pictures of our visit.

Here’s a video of my Dad and Emily having fun playing the drums!

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