by Bryan Heathcock
Choices. Life’s full of them. Left or right? Heels or flats? Go for the green in two or layup? Most choices don’t carry much significance when you think about it, but where to go to church…that seems to be a choice that carries a little more weight.
That’s where my family was in the spring of 2007. We were new to Edmond but not new to church. My wife and I both grew up in church and the desire to find a church family for ourselves and our young daughters was a choice we both agreed on. I came from a non-denominational background and Erin came from a Methodist church. We visited several churches, non-denominational and Methodist, some established and some just starting up. We always felt like we were just visiting…until we attended Acts 2.
Acts 2 actually turned out to be the closest in proximity to our house of all the places we visited…maybe we are slow learners. Anyway, from the first visit we were excited about the sense of family, the number of young families and the sense of tradition that the church had. Even though it was a young church, Erin and I recognized the culture and tradition it was seeking to establish and, in many cases, had already established. That sense of tradition was important to us. We wanted our children to grow and understand the history and depth of our faith, as well as be able to have their faith remain relevant in their lives as they grow into adults. We appreciated pastor Mark’s incorporation of Methodist traditions into a church that was growing up in a “break the mold, traditions are boring, be different” church world, combined with more contemporary music and the fact that children were welcomed openly as part of the service.
After visiting for several months, we joined Acts 2 in the spring of 2009 and celebrated the infant baptism of our youngest daughter. After joining, we quickly became involved in a small group with several other families with young children. We also served in the children’s ministry and participated in the Disciple Bible study. Throughout all of this, growth was the singular trend that described what was happening in our church. Our girls were growing in their faith, but they were also growing up in age. Our own faith was growing due to worship and bible study, and our church continued to grow as quickly as our girls, increasing in numbers rapidly.
The expansion of the worship space was truly needed and has been a great blessing in the life of the church. It has allowed us to continue to grow and make immeasurable impacts on people’s lives. As membership has grown, our children’s and youth ministries have multiplied. As the calendar ticks away, all the toddlers we had in that small group all those years ago are growing up, too. It’s important for them to have a space to continue their walk in faith and it’s important for the incoming toddlers (there will always be plenty of those I’ve come to learn) to have their space, too.
Two of our girls have now completed Confirmation and are part of the youth ministry. It has been so exciting to see them grow in their faith and participate in service and mission opportunities. We know these teenage years we are starting on can be tough for parents and kids alike, as our children will be faced with many choices about which path they will take and who they will choose to follow. We want Acts 2 to continue to be a place where our youth can feel like they belong, where they can have fun, learn more about what it means to serve and follow Christ and invite their friends from school and neighborhood to do the same.
Going back to our choices discussion…we, as a congregation, have the awesome opportunity to make some important choices very soon concerning our children and youth space at Acts 2. We can be a part of creating something great — a place where children of all ages can have fun, be safe and learn about our wonderful Savior. Through these kids, we can change the future of our world. Our Christian community will grow and flourish and reach all parts of the world through these kids. Not very often are the choices we make going to impact not only our own children but also thousands of other children for many years to come. It brings us great joy to think of all the wonderful unseen things God will do through these kids if we can provide the place for that to happen!