Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I hesitated to put that out there as the title for this post, but it fits what I want to say. This will probably be my last post for a few weeks as I will be making a short trip to the East coast for a couple of weeks to visit a friend and my brother. If you think about it, please pray for my time with my brother. We are not close, we like each other, but I have gone one way in life and Chuck has gone the other. He is basically “living the good life” and has not necessity for God, Jesus or any of that stuff. I assume this will be my last time to ever see him on this earth, so I would like to talk to him if possible.
Now, about Stonepoint Church…this is not to tout the glories of Stonepoint, but I have a few things to share. In many respects, I am surprised to be here. It will be two years now this coming October (or November-I can’t remember for sure) I arrived on a cool damp morning for the first time and parked my car in the lot. I sat in my car to purposely go in late, and kept asking myself if I really wanted to do this.
See, I had been to many churches and never felt at home in any of them. It is not that there was anything wrong with the churches in themselves. It was probably more that things were more wrong with me. Wherever I went, I always tried to “fit in” and serve. I mostly served because of a need and the church begging for someone to do something, somewhere. I assisted teaching 3 year olds for a couple years. In one church, a little guy bit the snot out of my thigh. I still remember that. The little guy’s mom had just died recently and I guess he was just acting out, trying to figure things out. So my thigh became a target. Some other things I did were I taught Bible study lessons on occasions and led ministry to find homes and jobs for a homeless family at one church. But for some reason, I just had this feeling that I never fit in.
So, back to my first Sunday at Stonepoint. After sitting in my car for about 10 minutes, I saw a herd of cows out back. They were just hanging out and grazing on the nice green grass. I watched them for a while and finally said to myself that the cows feel at rest here so the church must have something going for it. So, with the cow’s encouragement, I got out of my car and slinked in. I don’t remember what the sermon was but I remember the pastor saying that he loved the people but if they just wanted to come and sit for an hour, drink coffee, and go home, that “maybe this was not the church for you.” I looked up from my notes in a bit of a shock and realized that the pastor just mentioned that might be good for people to go to another church. I thought, “Wow! This pastor sounds serous about church; I think I need to come back.” While some of you might think that sounds kind of hard and unloving on the part of the pastor, I did not take it that way. He was encouraging people to take their walk with the Lord in a serious manner. That requires a response on our part both to the Lord and also to the church.
So I came back and over time got involved with the church body. As I have mentioned a few times I felt like a Yankee invading the South. But every time I came I was either encouraged or blessed by what I had heard and by the music. I believed that God was moving in this church like no other I had attended. I believe He still is. In January of this year I took further steps and became involved in a Journey group and a program called re:generation, that is, at it’s core, a discipleship program. Both have been a further blessing.
Stonepoint has several distinctive things that are different to me from other churches I have attended. For one, they recognize that we are all broken people. The important thing is that we have a desire to grow in Christ, not that we are 100% there. Another thing I have noticed is that people really love each other. Just seeing what my Journey Group does to help and encourage people is amazing to me (I have been a beneficiary of their love in very practical ways.) The love and concern is not just for people in the group and the church as a whole, but others in the community who are not necessarily involved with the church.
One more thing that I really like about this church is the way the pastoral leadership has a desire to outreach into the community and beyond. It is refreshing to see that at times the services for a Sunday will be cancelled and the body will gather just to go out in the community and help people, doing civic projects, painting houses or picking up trash on the highway. I also like the attitude not just to have a bigger and better church building. Yes, there is the necessity for more space just because the church is growing and there are needs for various improvements. But there is a minimalist attitude about things.
Stonepoint is not a perfect church. I don’t believe there is such a thing unless the only participants were puppies, who tend to love unconditionally. The church leadership is the first to admit that they are not perfect. But there is a heart for the Lord and to see others come to know and grow in Christ. May God bless you, and I will see you in a couple of weeks, Lord willing.