You know how the story goes - the church starts shrinking a little at a time. Soon it divides itself even farther between traditional and contemporary services thinking worship style is the problem. Or, it sells the building and heads to the burbs thinking location is the problem. Or, it does nothing, figuring "the last one out will turn off the lights", because it is convinced culture is the problem.
Our story is a little different, and it goes something like this:
163 years is a long time, but that's how long we've been telling the story of Jesus in South Holland, Illinois. From farmers and bankers, to single-parent moms and laid off linesmen, we've all come from different walks of life and tell different stories. For some of us, we came to First Reformed Church as infants and can trace our roots back to the mid 1800s. For others, we came to be a part of a community where black and white and young and old and rich and not so rich can enact a slice of heaven together. And still for others, we came to hear the story of the risen Jesus sung and prayed and preached.
The chapter of the story we're writing today is one of revival. We're writing a story that brings the richest hymns of the 19th century alongside the robust soul of contemporary worship songs. We're writing a story where the setting has been and will continue to be 15924 South Park Avenue in our beautifully diverse community of South Holland. And we're writing this story convinced that our best days are not in our rearview mirror, but lie just ahead.
And what underlines our story is the grace of Christ.
We tell and re-tell the story of a 1st century carpenter's son named Jesus who came to die on a cross to save us from our sins. You have a story to tell as well. Maybe it's a story of redemption, or a story of loss, or a story of hope. Whatever story you're telling, we'd love to hear it and fit that story into the greater story of Jesus who is right now making all things new. We look forward to growing together in the grace of Christ with you.