It all started in 1857

Chatham Baptist Church Our church was founded July 28, 1857.  This year, 2007, we are celebrating our 150th anniversary with a series of events on the last Sunday of each month from January through July.  To kick off our anniversary year, this morning I preached from Isaiah 43:1-7Through Isaiah, God says three things in verse 1 to His people:

  1. I redeemed you. 
  2. I have summoned you by name. 
  3. You are mine. 

I reminded our folks that God’s message to Judah was not unlike what He is saying to us today.  God knows our name — He knows who we are, what we’re like, and everything about us.  I think the important point here is that God knows our communal name.  Oh, of course He knows our individual names, but I think Isaiah is reminding Judah that God knows the name of His people — collectively, communally, corporately. 

Secondly, God calls us by that name to the task He has for us.  God still had a purpose for Isaiah’s Judah, and God has a purpose for us His new people.  I told our folks about Gordon Cosby and The Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.  Each prospective member is asked, “What do you want to do?”  In other words, “What is God calling you to do?”  Each person then finds a place in a small ministry group.  Finding and following God’s call is not optional for Church of the Saviour members. 

The theme for our sesquicentennial celebration is Praise for the past, faith for the future.  We’ve decided that during this 150th year, we can’t just focus on the past. We’ve got to discover God’s new call for our faith community, and then faithfully follow that call into our future.  If not, no one will be here to celebrate the next 150 years.   

2 thoughts on “It all started in 1857”

  1. Chuck,

    I would be interested in hearing more about what your church is doing to celebrate. Our church turns 90 this spring. I would like to do something celebratory, but am not sure what yet.

  2. Chuck,

    Tried sending you an email, but it bounced back. Wanted to say thanks for the ideas for our anniversary. It sounds like you guys have quite a celebration planned.

    I heard someone complain about church anniversary celebrations before, saying, “I would rather focus on what is ahead, rather than what is past.” And you can incorporate both into the celebration.

    But, in the Old Testament, it’s always cool when the people of God construct a memorial to Him, celebrating a victory. They could look to and be reminded that God has been faithful in the past…and will continue to be faithful in the future.

    And that’s how I view the church anniversary celebration. A memorial to God’s faithfulness in the past and a vision of His faithfulness for the future.

    Again, thanks for the ideas.

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