I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be thinking about Friends Day 2019 for a long time. I’m going to be remembering some things which are a big encouragement to me. Like the fact that our attendance goal of 225 was exceeded by a new record attendance of 237! I’m going to remember the sight of our auditorium being filled nearly to capacity, every space in our parking lot full of cars, and another 44 cars parked in the grass. The Lord blessed us with a very encouraging Friends Day.
So many of you worked hard to make this day a great success, by inviting your friends and neighbors. This isn’t always easy to do, but you showed that you can do it and it works! We had 13 visitors cards completed and turned in, as well as a number of visitors who did not complete cards. We had family members, co-workers, brethren from sister congregations, and visitors from the community. We had unfaithful members who have not been here for sometime. Their presence warmed our hearts and gave us a chance to let them know they are missed. Hopefully, many of them will be back, and will feel good about coming to the services at Central.
I was encouraged by our members who gave up their preferred parking places and their customary seats in the auditorium to accommodate our guests. I was thrilled to see our members moving about the building, greeting visitors and making them feel welcome. I noticed and appreciate our security people who were keeping an eye on things. I especially appreciate those who were serving as greeters that day, giving their time and talents in the foyer to distribute Visitor Packages and Bulletins, and making sure our guests were treated with kindness and warmth. They assisted visitors in completing a visitors card so that we could have a record of their attendance. They directed those with children to their appropriate classes, and helped people find a comfortable seat. They also connected visitors with our own members, and made them feel at home.
It was encouraging to me to hear the marvelous singing, and feel the excitement in the auditorium as we worshipped together. As we were singing, I thought about the people present here who have never heard authentic, a cappella singing in worship before. They have never attended a service of the Lord’s church. This must be new and impressive to them. All the acts of worship were carried out in an eminently scriptural manner, with respect and dignity. I was encouraged to think that visitors could not help but be favorably impressed, and many of them would want to do this more often.
I was also encouraged by the responses to our sermon, which was entitled, “Do You Believe You Are the Only Ones Going to Heaven?” From visitors and members alike, we received many supportive comments which indicated that the message was challenging and instructive. It was a controversial topic, but very needed and timely. I believe that it “got the wheels turning” in the minds of our visitors, and will be helpful to all sincere seekers of truth.
I appreciated the amazing meal which was provided after worship. Given our limited fellowship room, the entire process was handled with amazing efficiency. Approximately 130 guests were fed physically, with an eye toward the spiritual feeding which comes from Christ himself. The multi-purpose room and many of the classrooms were filled with dinner guests. This provided an additional opportunity to meet and greet them, and invite them to further study. I am so thankful for our ladies who provided the food, and those who organized and served it, and cleaned up afterwards. Anyone who has ever done this knows about the tremendous preparation and forethought which must go into such activities. There was a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
I am encouraged by what God can do with Friends Day. Every visitor who provided us with a completed card will be receiving a warm letter from myself, thanking them for coming and inviting them to further study. We will be providing additional Bible study materials and opportunities. They will also receive a signed card from the entire congregation, with an invitation to return. Those of you who brought guests now have something additional to discuss, and hopefully open up an opportunity for personal Bible study. This will encourage you to be more faithful yourself, and more mindful of the urgency of reaching the lost.
Thanks to everyone who contributed in making Friends Day 2019 such a great success. You are an encouragement to me!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.