What My Church Means to Me by Don Robertson

When I reflect on those people who have had the most influence on defining who I am today, – other than family and close friends – there are four names that came to mind.  Each helped me understand myself and what is truly important to me.  It is interesting that three of the four are pastors; Lyle Thomas from my youth, Charlie Idler as I matured into adulthood, and Keith Brown, as I began to truly understand my faith journey.

Here are the things that they influenced most in how I live my life:

  • First from Galatians, recognizing the fruits of the spirit: peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, joy, self control, faithfulness, and love.  These are my touchstones for how to live each day.
  • Secondly, they helped me connect what I came to believe professionally with what I believe as a Christian. That is to say, the critical importance of leadership and that Jesus Christ is the model of a perfect leader.
  • Third- no matter how hard I work to be and want to be like Christ, I will fall pitifully short, but Jesus is my salvation.
  • Fourth- I am called to make a difference in our world and my faith, supported by the church, is the best way to sustain my efforts in this on-going journey to meet that calling.

Being a good and noble servant is a difficult assignment and I can’t do it without the church.  The church lets me grow in my understanding of God and what is expected of me.  It is a source of accountability and it provides opportunities for me to serve others.  My Church inspires me to not give up and become just another cynic when frustrations overwhelm me.  My church is a place that surrounds me with positive role models and people I can follow with confidence.  It is a community that is rich and fulfilling if I chose to embrace it.

My church can be that place that is as close as I can find to experience the awesomeness of God, to experience true friendship, a team of committed servants, and a feeling of hope for the future.  First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem (PCUSA) is a refuge for living life to its fullest.  But I have to choose to be an active part of our church and I am compelled to help make that true for as many people as I possibly can.  It requires my time and using my God given talents, and the sharing of my treasures.  I am here today to encourage you to do the same.  Where else can you get such a wonderful return on your investment?