Mrs. Ruby Sanders, a sweet widow at Seven Oaks, gave me an old bulletin from 7th and College (the location and preceding name of our church). It was dated Dec. 9, 1962 (almost 55 years ago). I am sure she had kept it because it announced her marriage to Laddie Sanders. I enjoyed reading it and wanted to share with you some observations I made from it.
- They emphasized attendance! Brother Flavil Nichol’s article challenged folks to “plan to attend” Bible classes and Sunday night meetings. They listed a Bible Study Attendance Chart which had those present in every age from Nursery through 60 years and up. They had these admonitions “We’ll be looking for YOU Sunday! Help Bring Our Average UP for Dec.” “BE RIGHT on SUNDAY NIGHT —- ATTEND CHURCH” Maybe we don’t emphasize our attendance enough today, which is why we have such attendance problems.
- They emphasized the brotherhood. In their prayer list they called members “Bro.” or “Sis.” This was consistent throughout in the news and notes as well. Brothers and Sisters were different than everybody else. Have we lost some of this in the present church? We tend to neglect the value of membership today in the church.
- They cared about helping the hurting and seeking the lost. The bulletin contained opportunities to help the needy and reports on evangelistic efforts. The church of the 60s has often been portrayed as legalistic and uncommitted to community felt needs. The Biblical church should always be about loving people and loving the lost.
- There were less activities. The church didn’t have a youth minister to plan lots of activities for the kids. The church had 442 in attendance, but only one minister. The church didn’t have lots of planned fellowship or service activities. The church of today, is expected to keep a calendar full of good opportunities for fellowship and service. Staff are focused on administration and service to the church in many ways. This is good in many ways, but it is also a response to our consumer-driven culture where people are looking to a church to provide social and spiritual fellowship for them and their kids. A full church calendar, doesn’t mean the activities are being productive in shaping disciples. We must always keep the purpose in mind and not be driven by cultural pressures.
I also noticed that we are not the same congregation. Most of the names are no longer with us here. Even many of the family names are not represented. But we are a part of the same church! We continue their goal of being the church of Christ! We stand upon their shoulders and we want to continue the legacy of New Testament Christianity.