Thank You All!

The following is the article “Thank You All” that I wrote for the latest and final edition of the Connecting Newsletter, a bi-monthly production of the Columbia Church of Christ (Connecting Newsletter 29, 2014). The article reflects upon our decision as a church to close and the future in light of the gospel story. At some later point I plan to write about the decision and process of closing a Church of Christ as I think this is a decision that more Churches of Christ will face in the coming years but for now…

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Church Logo

For most people, the holidays are a joyous occasion. With Christmas, we have the pleasure of gathering with our family and friends to celebrate life and we are also reminded of the birth of Jesus which is the dawning of hope for the world. Following Christmas, we celebrate New Year’s Day, saying goodbye to the past year while also anticipating with excitement what is to come in the new year. All that is to say that the end is never the end but a new beginning.

An End

As you may already know, the Columbia Church of Christ has made the difficult decisions to close. The following announcement has been posted to our website:

Thank you for your interest in the Columbia Church of Christ. After a year of discerning the direction God has for us as Christians, we have come to the conclusion that he is leading us to merge with other churches where we can continue serving him and his mission. Therefore as a church, the Columbia Church of Christ will close at the end of January 2015. Until then we will continue meeting every Sunday at 10:30 for worship in the Stone House (8775 Cloudleap Ct., Columbia, MD 21045). On Sunday, January 25, 2015 we will have a final celebrative worship gathering as a praise to God for the way he has worked through our church over many years.

Along with that closure comes the end of the Connecting Newsletter which has been produced for twenty-nine years now. So this article marks the final entry into the final newsletter as we enter into the final month for the Columbia Church of Christ.

While there is sadness that comes with this decision, there is reasons for giving thanks. I am thankful for the legacy of this church and I am equally proud to have served as one of her ministers. This congregation has been “a family of grace in Columbia” where the hurting and the struggling have experienced the hope of Christ. This church was also one of the first Churches of Christ to break with tradition regarding the role of women which has help pave the way for a growing number of other Churches of Christ to do the same. This church has been a generous supporter of global missions and local ministries offering help to people in need. So while closure is near, there is good to celebrate.

A New Beginning

Although the closing of the Columbia Church of Christ marks an end, it is not the end. Rather, we are entering into a new beginning. According to the gospel of Jesus Christ, “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54). Therefore there is never an end but always a new beginning which we anticipate.

While the Columbia Church of Christ is closing as an organization, the kingdom of God is not losing anyone. God is leading us forth into other local churches where we can continue serving as disciples of Christ using the gifts that we have received from the Spirit. The earliest Christian community, which resided in Jerusalem, was eventually scattered through persecution (Acts 8:1). At the time, it may have seemed like the end but it wasn’t. God was at work and through the faith of these Christians, the body of Christ continued growing as a movement that is now a global witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. While we cannot know the particulars of the future, we know that we will continue living as participants in this mission of God.

A Word of Thanks

To all of you, who have continued supporting and praying for the Columbia Church of Christ, thank you! Words will never fully express our appreciation for you but they must do for now. May God bless you as he blesses each and every one of us… “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26)!

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8 responses to “Thank You All!

  1. Oh wow! What new chapter do you and your family hope to start this coming year?

    • Well, I am in some conversation with a few churches about serving as their minister. It’s what I’m called to do. So we’ll see where it leads but for now, only God knows the future.

  2. Blessings to you! While it is sad to see doors close I think we are mistaken to believe a church must keep going and growing to fulfill God’s purpose. Sometimes we are called to die. It doesn’t mean the time spent was wasted–in fact, it may have been this was God’s timing. I hope those who are part of this family do not see this as failure but as transition.

  3. And Rex–I hope you will especially see this as God’s timing and not as failure. While we’ve never actually met, I’ve read enough of your material to truly believe that God will continue to use you. I hope and pray you will not let this be a discouragement.

  4. While I’m sorry hear here that you’ve decided to close, it will no doubt work for the best. Good luck. I’ll keep your congregation in my prayers.

  5. Thirty years ago after there had been a couple of abortive efforts to plant a congregation in the growing community of Columbia, the Silver Spring, MD., congregation sent its (then) youth minister, Gary Selby, to plant the new
    congregation. We continued to support Gary until Columbia became self
    supporting. Naturally, we deeply regret the closing of the congregation, but
    had understood that with dwindling membership such was inevitable. There remains a need for a faithful New Testament congregation in Columbia, and
    sometime in the future one will again be planted. Earle H. West

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