A Story of Generosity -- Bonnie Chappell
When we were first married, Michael and I had a hard time finding a church. Between worship services that felt off for us, Sunday school divisions that lumped us with college students, and theology that missed the mark, no place we visited seemed to fit. In the end, we became regular visitors at a church that almost worked, but we felt disconnected and longed for the same kind of community we had experienced growing up.
One of the biggest reasons we were excited about moving back to Macon was that we would finally get the chance to become fully invested in this church, the church where we worshipped as college students. From the moment the hour chimed on our first Sunday back, we knew we were home.
We give to First Baptist because this is the community that opened its arms to welcome us and because this is where we have chosen to put down roots. Our monthly check is not large, but we take seriously our church’s encouragement to think about our time and talents as important contributions to God’s work. I have been richly blessed by becoming involved in several different facets of our church’s ministry.
As a member of our Adult Education committee, I have learned what hard work goes in to making us such a thoughtful congregation. I love that our church is populated with considerate Christians who continually use faith as a way to engage the important issues of the day. We are learning together how to have real conversations about difficult topics like homosexuality and immigration through our annual Spring Ethics Series. In pulling together our devotionals for Advent and Lent, I am constantly surprised by the fresh perspectives our members bring to well-worn scriptures. I am proud to be part of a church that is so intentional about continuing spiritual formation.
Most recently, I have started volunteering with our Language Ministry. Through our English classes, First Baptist lives out the biblical call to welcome the stranger. Unlike most classes in our area, our church provides childcare so that mothers with young children can participate. I am amazed by the courage and enthusiasm our students show, and I am grateful for all of my new friends.
I also love to work with the children of our church. Before my son was born, helping out with Vacation Bible School and Working on Worship was mostly just fun. Now that Andrew is here, however, I look at these programs in a very different way. Because I know how much thought and energy backs up every activity our church provides for children, I truly trust First Baptist to teach him, through words and actions, about God’s love.
After spending so much time wishing for a church family, I feel a deep appreciation for the First Baptist Church of Christ. I give to its work because I am so thankful to be part of this band of pilgrims at the top of Poplar.