There were first, second and third cousins that sometimes required a brief family background to connect the relationships. A smaller group of cousins who live in the area get together on a regular basis every month.
While it is enjoyable to see family and catch up with one another, the highlight of every family reunion is new faces and new births. New family members get center stage at every family reunion. Babies are passed around until they are put down for naps, need changing or feeding. Engaged couples and newly married couples are welcomed into the family with a crash course of family trees that seem to go back to the Mayflower.
Before the Larson reunion was a special family reunion that we celebrate a couple times each week. My spiritual family gets together each Sunday to celebrate God’s goodness in our lives. Smaller groups called Life Groups, meet during the week for the purpose of growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another.
While it is enjoyable to see my spiritual family and catch up with one another, the highlight of every Sunday celebration and Life Group discipleship is new faces and new births.
A couple who had been driving over 50 miles to church was looking for a church family closer to their home and was led by God to come to River of Life. God’s directing was very evident in the circumstances of their first visit and following times of joining in worship. The husband and wife made intentional steps of visiting and participating in certain activities to get to know this new family. They attended our “River Headwaters” class which lets people know our church’s history, core beliefs, and vision.
Yesterday, we celebrated their decision to become active partners at River of Life. We describe partnership as an ownership in the ministry. If a member of a golf club hears that the clubhouse is leaking, it is not his problem. However, if she or he is a partner in the business and the clubhouse is leaking, it is their concern and problem.
On Sunday, we publicly welcomed them into the church family, they signed a pledge committing to protect the unity of their church, share the responsibility of their church, serve the ministry of their church and support the testimony of their church.
The best part was the prayers of the other partners. The couple was surrounded by their church family and expressions of thanks were given to the Lord that they were led to our church. Thanks and acknowledgment of the spiritual gifts and strengths they have been given that our church family needs were expressed in prayer. Also, a responsibility that we have as a family to encourage, support and uphold them and each other as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
I know of no other organization or families that welcome, receive, and bless new family members like the local church!
Ephesians 4:15-17 (NLT)
15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
How was your family reunion on Sunday?