I was in a conversation recently where someone said “I’ve been in a few churches over the years, but there is something different here.” Fortunately, I think they meant that in a good way. I asked them to say a little more to be sure I was understanding. “It’s hard to put it into words" he said "but there is something unique, something special about Rock Church.” I thanked him for sharing the encouraging words. And it got me thinking. What is it that makes us who we are as a church? What makes Rock Church, Sandown, Plaistow, Amesbury and now Newburyport special?
As I thought about it, a number of things jumped out at me. But one of the first things that came to mind is that we are not about ourselves. We have come to understand as a church that to really follow Jesus means it is just not about us. Sadly, I have sometimes encountered churches that are only about themselves. They exist to meet their own needs. They focus on what is best for them, what they like, which pew is “their pew.” But I have seen at every campus of our ministry an outward focus that is reflected in a number of ways.
The first is a heart for the lost. I see it in the way we welcome first time guests. I see it in the way we serve at outreach events like free breakfasts, day camp, Old Home Days and Amesbury Days, Trunk or Treat and much more. I see it in the way we truly embrace the conviction that “Everyone Needs Jesus.”
The second way I see that it is not about us is in the many ways we seek to be “For Our Community.” I don’t know that I have ever seen a new initiative embraced more eagerly. It seems like I see “For Our Community" wristbands, bumper stickers and lawn signs everywhere. But it is not just about the outward signs. It is an attitude. It is the heart’s desire I see in so many of us to serve our neighbors in the love of Christ. Add to that the many expressions of mission work we do nationally and internationally and we see an even fuller expression of our desire to put others ahead of ourselves.
Yet another way I’ve observed that we are not about ourselves is our willingness to sacrifice for the mission and vision of the church. I love that our congregation has a “whatever it takes” attitude when it comes to fulfilling our vision. I have often been humbled by the way people from our Rock Church family will sacrifice time, effort, talents and resources to advance the mission of Christ for the sake of others. I have to agree with my friend. There is something special about Rock Church, and it begins with our heart for others.
Before I sign off, I want to share a word about our 11:00 a.m. service in Plaistow. I’m convinced that one of the strengths of our church is our ability to offer a broad cross section of worship opportunities that not only offer choices in time, but also style. Beginning this Sunday, we will be introducing some changes at the 11:00 a.m. service that will allow that service to have it own unique style and energy. Curious? Come check it out.