New Hebron Missionary Baptist Church
"The instructions of The Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of The Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of The Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of The Lord are clear, giving insight for living."
~ Psalm 19: 7-8
I should have known. Getting a referral from a barbecue place where everyone was black except one waitress, when I went to NHMBC I should have expected it, but I didn't.
I was the only guy with a beard.
New Hebron gets really high marks as when I walked in, it felt like a spotlight shone on the new guy. I stood out like a white guy in a black church. What's he doing here? Yet Ann and Verda approached, shook hands and we had a nice talk.
God don't care about race, color, man or woman, we all in this together.
Thanks! Very nice. Pastor Rodney Smith took a moment to say hi as well. An usher gave me a bulletin. Wait. No Wal-Mart greeters? Nope.
The faithful number around sixty; all age groups and one race. We get started with worship with three men and a choir leading, a drummer and pianist keeping the tunes, starting with a couple of Christmas carols. The piano, a synth, sounds tinny like a player piano. Today they let the kids run the service (offering, announcements, NOT the sermon) and the youth choir sings. In a wonderful gesture of love, a girl with Cerebral Palsy stood with the choir. She acted as usher for the offering too.
This church worships like your stereotypical preconceptions. Loud, plenty of "Amens" and "Yes" and clapping. Love it. However the music sounds dated, and I wonder if there is a disconnect with the youth. I remembered that many of our old hymns were actually popular bar songs with sanctified lyrics. The worship needs a makeover.
Once again we walked forward for the offering, what I believe puts pressure on the faithful to give.
Pastor Smith took to the podium to preach and pulled out a handkerchief. Oh, yeah. He gonna preach da word! And he did. His message, based on Psalm 19: 7-8 was right on. And his delivery? Shaking the gates of the kingdom. Being a speaker, I loved his delivery. Also, it must help the preacher, as he gets loads of "Amen, yes sir, you preach it," and so on. Great stuff. And he opened up a bit about his past and made some vague referrals to some recent struggles, but I didn't feel he opened up like he could have.
Yet he preached the word, stayed true to the Scriptures and didn't cut us slack about how God changes our life, and then we want to change too. No cheap grace here.
The service ended and numerous people came by to say hi and welcome and come back sometime. I'd love to. Wonder what it would be like to participate in this church.
The phrase 'separate but equal' troubled me during the service. That's a Jim Crow phrase after the Civil War, a begrudging shot at how to handle these recently freed slaves. Why do we have black churches and white? Probably because the government hasn't mandated it like they did with schools and the workplace. Wouldn't people naturally have integrated anyway? It seems odd to me. Yet they showed the love of Christ to me, no problem.
A very nice church, and a nice opportunity to connect with a different culture.
Yet it's one God, one Savior, one church.