Someone wrote an article about Cast Member Church and how it is considered one of the most innovative churches in the US today. It was very encouraging and appreciated.
However, the sub-headline read, “This is not your Grandmother’s church.”
To be honest, I didn’t like the statement. I know what they were trying to say, but I happen to have loved my Grandmother’s church. I have some potent memories of visiting my Grandma Barr and her sister-in-law, my Great Aunt Alta Barr, and them taking me to their church.
I would sit between them as they worshipped.
I still clearly remember:
The old voices that didn’t care if they crackled when they sang the high notes from the hymnal.
Being invited upfront with the other kids to hear a Bible story told by the pastor.
The organ that rattled the windows every time a certain low note was played.
The high ceilings that seemed to go up to Heaven.
The stained-glass windows; each one a different scene from the Bible.
The friendliness of the people (Some gave me candy).
Those potluck dinners after service.
A simple and sincere love for Jesus on the faces of those walking to their cars after church.
Just because Cast Member Church is what it is and does what it does, let’s not compare it to my Grandmother’s church or anyone else's Grandmother's church for that matter. After all, when you think about it, those memories of my Grandmother’s church played a part in my spiritual formation. Somewhere buried deep in that soil were the dormant seeds of Cast Member Church.
Thank you, Grandma. Thank you, Aunt Alta. Thank you, Clifton Avenue United Methodist Church (Springfield, Ohio). Your building isn't there anymore, but your heart still beats within me. Cast Member Church stands on the shoulders of your faithfulness.
Well done, good and faithful servants.