You Say Good-Bye, I Say Hello

hello goodbye

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven –  A time to give birth and a time to die;A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted….He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,11

As a Church Planter, I have experienced some unusual things along the way. But none of the Church Planting books I read prepared me for today. Today I helped UNPLANT a church.

It was almost 2 years ago when our congregation (Plumb Line Community Church) began renting space on Henry Ruff Street. We had been meeting at the local YMCA. But the scheduling there became complicated and we needed to find a new location to gather for worship. So I started calling all of the churches in the area to see if we could rent space.

After many calls, we found a church that was holding their regular worship on Sundays at 2:00 pm. So we wondered if we might rent space at 11:00 AM. I know right? How crazy is that??

The people of Nativity United Church of Christ were and still are a wonderful congregation of God’s people. But, as happens to all congregations at some point, they had started to shrink in size. Some left, some became home-bound, and some went home to the Lord. And their numbers dwindled. Then, a year or more ago, their pastor left and they asked if I would lead their worship.

In December 2011, I began preaching for the people of Nativity UCC. So every Sunday for 18 months I have preached to a Nazarene New Start at 11:00 AM & a UCC aging congregation at 1:00 PM. One very contemporary, evangelical congregation. And one very traditional, reformed congregation. But all of them God’s people. All of them in need of a Savior, a Healer, a Counselor, a loving Heavenly Father.

Today, I preached my last sermon for Nativity UCC. They celebrated 57 years as a faith community. And tomorrow, they will sign papers to sell the facility to another congregation. They have been faithful to the Gospel and faithful to the Kingdom of God. They continue to be children of God tomorrow even though they no longer wear the badge of Nativity.

And their legacy will live on. It lives on in the lives of the people transformed by the Gospel. They ones who came to faith in Christ because of them. It will live on through the generous donations made to the local non-profit community organizations. And it will live on through Plumb Line Community Church. PLCC is the “other congregation” who will be purchasing their facility.

We will continue to worship at two gathering times. 11:00 AM contemporary worship and 1:00 PM traditional worship. And we will continue to advance the Kingdom of God in this community.

Today we said “Good-Bye” to a 57 year old faith community. Tomorrow we say “Hello” as they step across the threshold of a new faith community. But, together, we are doing God’s work from now until the Lord calls us all home.

Nativity UCC hear the words of your Heavenly Father, “Well done, My good and faithful servants. Well done!”

Keep fighting the good fight of faith!


3 Comments on “You Say Good-Bye, I Say Hello

  1. Though it IS sad in many ways to end ones church, you have to look at the whole picture. As you said our church members had dwindled in quanitity and in age. We were down on our funds too. We had no children. What is a church without children? I suppose some don’t care if they have children or not, but children are the LIFE of the church, in my opinion. They bring joy to a room just by waling through it!We prayed for children and young people for months and months, and God sent us Plumb Line. Children and young people are the LIFE of a church! God had this all planned out. The young can learn from the old, the old can learn from the young. The young people are already helping the older people so much! I keep cautioning our older people not to take advantage of this, These young people at Plumb Line are such good people, they are so helpful and loving. They have welcomed me and my husband into their folds with huge open arms! We feel VERY, VERY welcomed at PLCC!!! Thank you all! Thank you Pastor and Rob! It is true…when God closes one door, he opens another… I am anxious to run through!

    • easterdaff,

      your perspective reminds me of The Kingdom: generous, giving, gracious. I’d like to clone it!

  2. Bill (Heaton) and I, Helene Heaton, enjoyed being in the final service of Nativity Church. Every part of the service was very fitting and appropriate for the occasion, the songs sung, the scriptures read. the sermon delivered, and the former and visiting ministers’ participation. The dinner was very enjoyable, as well. The Livonia Goodfellows, of which Bill is president, was blessed with a contribution to the organization by Nativity. The motto of the Goodfellows is, “No child without a Christmas”. The gift will be applied to the 2013 season that will serve between 300 and 400 families. We regretted that we had to slip out a little early due to another commitment. We would have rather stayed and visited with the people more and had a chanced to express our deep appreciation. God’s richest blessings on each of you as you continue to serve Him.

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