What contains 1258 people, 582 cars, 982
worship bulletins, 30 audio tapes, 2 1/2 hours of video tape,
372 donuts, 11 boxes of donut holes, 5 baptisms, 38 classes and
meetings, 20+ ushers, 24 hours, 14 cameras, 11 photographers and
day in the life of Bible Center Church.
On September 8, 2002, we set out to
document a single day in the life of Bible Center Church and in
so doing, present a comprehensive view of the scope of the
ministry of Bible Center. I had been planning on doing this
project for more than two years and finally with the help of 10
other photographers, we have captured this in the accompanying
photo essay. It was also a day in which I was more than normally
aware of what was going on around me. This awareness leads me to
a few thoughts to share with you.
First of all, a little background. The
week before, our building was used to the max, with more than
300 children here Monday through Friday for School and Daycare.
Wednesday, the 4th, we had more than 300 children and teens in
AWANA and Youth Group and more than 200 adults in Bible
Institute classes and choir.
On Saturday the 7th, Bible Center Church
hosted the AWANA Training conference. We had more than 400
people in our building and Lee Walker and I were the church
staff on duty during the day. We were both here for more than 10
hours. Pastor Jones put in half a day and Pastor Thompson was
the worship leader for the conference. This meant a major amount
of scrambling to get our building ready for its Sunday wake up
call. John Mitchell, John Holivic, and Charlie Hogen, Omri
Medley and Nat Young from our maintenance staff came in Saturday
night and worked long hours to move tables, chairs and cleaning
for the Lord's day. Without these faithful servants, you would
not want to see this place.
The following Wednesday we had a noon time
September 11th service of rememberance and hope which was
attended by 548 folks from BCC, Grace Bible Church and our
Back to the 8th of September. My alarm
sounded at 4:35 a.m. on Sunday and of the 24 hours in this day,
I would see all but five of them (a half hour nap was a
necessity ). The first picture I took of the day was of the sky
lightening over our church sign at 6:58 a.m. By that time, Lee
Walker was already checking the building and Jim McQuerrey had
already unlocked the doors. From that point the activity of this
place gets too much to fully apprehend. Three services at 8:00
a.m., 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. were each a blessing and what a
blessing to see hundreds of people filing into our sanctuary.
For the final two services, I have the best seat in the house,
on the platform looking over a congregation of people eager to
worship God and listen to His Word. I sing with a talented choir
pushing me along from behind and surrounded by an orchestra! Not
far from the sounds of heaven think I. While this is going on, a
small army of willing servants serve as ushers, greeters,
counters, teachers, attendants, technicians and prayer partners.
Our radio station tells us that nearly 1000 are listening live
on the radio and we don't know how many may be listening live
over the Internet. Others will join these services later via
audio tape. While all of this unfolds, the team of photographers
are happily snapping away.
Finally the last song is sung and the last
amen is spoken and 1258 people make their way to their homes
hopefully better and stronger and more Christ-like. Pastor
Thornton and I spend an extra 40 minutes praying with a person
in need of some spiritual encouragement. When I leave the
building at 1:07 p.m., I have already been "at work"
for 6 1/2 hours. I arrive home where 10 or so members of the
youth group have joined my sons in our family room to watch
football together. Pastor Thornton is off to a 2:00 p.m.
memorial service in honor of military and emergency personnel.
A quick sandwich and a brief nap and it seems
as if the afternoon has evaporated as quickly as the morning
dew. I am back at Bible Center at 5:05 - my first picture back
is of my clock in my office showing the temperature at 90.5
degrees. The activity picks up again - setting the internet video
camera to capture the baptismal service, rigging an automatic
camera behind the baptistery (which fails to capture a single
image) and then prep for the Adult Bible Fellowship I lead with
Joe Martin. Fortunately, Joe is leading tonight and doing an
outstanding job with Exodus 11 as I have to slip out early to
prepare for the baptismal service. In tonight's service I will
have the privilege of baptizing my own two sons. We will also
pray for the Gee family as the prepare to return to the mission
field of Poland. 290 believers will celebrate the ordinance of
communion and enjoy wonderful music.
But what I most notice is the people,
especially after the service is concluded. Many do not seem to
want to go home, They enjoy the company of their fellow
believers. They smile, gather, hug, encourage, share, respond,
talk, advise, plan, greet, love, accept, fellowship, thank,
acknowledge, reflect, and a dozen other activities that attest
to the sweet fellowship that only those who know Jesus Christ
personally can share. This is the church in truest, purest form
and I am blessed to be in its midst.
will walk out the door at 9:23, snapping a final picture of
Pastor Jim McQuerry and Pastor Thornton as they depart with me.
I have spent another 4 1/4 hours at church. As I head home in
the darkness I cannot but be amazed at this church, its people,
its leadership, its history and the joy I have of being a small
part of it all. But above it all, I am amazed at what God has
built here. 60 years ago there was no Bible Center Church. But a
few folks began meeting in homes for Bible study and from those
humble beginnings, God has built a marvelous church, a rich and
diverse group of people who have one thing in common; faith in
the Lord Jesus. In this single day, I have seen with my own eyes
and experienced personally Jesus promise...
"...on this rock I will
build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against
it." (Matthew 16:18)
Let all of us join with the
host of heaven and say to our blessed Savior
"Blessing and honor
and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the
Lamb, forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13).