This weekend, speaking for the ladies at the Arnold church in metropolitan Saint Louis, I looked down the hill and saw that the adjoining property was a busy WalMart. I commented “What a great landmark to tell folks where you’re located.”
Later in the day, a sweet sister came to greet me. Talking about their Family Bible Time, she asked for tips about keeping a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old interested in Scripture. In this context, she explained that she’s a relatively new member of the church.
Well, I love hearing sisters’ stories of finding the church of my Lord, so I asked the question: “How, then, did you find the church?” She said, simply, “I was shopping at WalMart.”
“It was a Sunday and, walking in that parking lot (pointing out of the fellowship hall window to a packed parking lot at a WalMart, which shared a shopping venue with Ross and lots of other stores)—my husband just pointed up here and said ‘I wonder what kind of church that is up there.’”
“I have no idea,” I responded. “But, at the time, we were very disillusioned. We knew we needed to be somewhere serving God, but we could see no connection, in any way, between the catechisms we’d memorized, the infant baptisms we’d experienced, the worship we’d been taught to give–we could see no connection between those things and the Scriptures we knew were from God. That day at WalMart, we knew we were searching, but we didn’t know what we were looking for.”
She then related that her husband said “I think I’ll just google that church.” When he did he found this expanded mission statement:
“The Arnold church of Christ is an un-denominational autonomous congregation of the Church one reads about in the New Testament. We are overseen by a group of elders and strive to be Christ centered and Bible based.” To this end we call Bible things by Bible names, and do Bible things in Bible ways. Below the mission statement was this little list:
- We worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) every first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
- Each service contains Biblical teaching and preaching (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7).
- When we gather together the congregation unites in singing a’capella to the Father (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19).
- Every first day of the week we give as we’ve been prospered and as we’ve set by in store (I Corinthians 16:2, II Corinthians 9:7).
- Each service we pray to the Father through the Son (I Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 2:42).
- During worship every Sunday we partake of the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of His sacrifice (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 11:23-29).
- We strive to walk in the light (I John 1:7).
- We strife to do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
- We endeavor to share the Gospel of Christ with others (Matthew 28:18-20).
- We strive to combat sin and fight Satan daily (Ephesians 6:13-17).
- We strive in word and deed to do all by the authority of Jesus (Colossians 3:17).
Hoping that they would find a church that really does strive to be just that church we read about in the Bible, this little family decided to make a visit to that church on the hill. So the next time they went “shopping” it was one door over from WalMart. Thrilled by the warm reception, they were interested in knowing more. It was a couple of brothers who, upon meeting them that day, asked this couple to further study the Word of God.
My sister continued: “At the end of the study, we just looked at each other and said ‘Well, this is what we’ve been looking for. This is what the Bible teaches. Why should we wait? Let’s do this.’”
You never know what you might find at WalMart!
And you never know who’s “shopping” near your “city on the hill”.
“You are the light of the World; a city set on a hill” …Jesus Christ.