The Best Place to Watch the Race1
[Note: The following also appears in the monthly church newsletter. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the newsletter, please contact us at the church office.]
Dear First Baptist Family,
If First Baptist Church of Wheeling no longer existed, would anyone in the community notice? Would anyone in the community miss the ministry and influence of our church?
These are questions that people who study church life in our nation challenge church leaders to ask as they reflect on the outreach ministries of the church. Although it is not pleasant to ponder a Wheeling without a First Baptist, it is important to honestly assess our influence on the people who are living their lives just beyond the walls of our church.
Gretchen and I had the opportunity this past Saturday to watch the Ogden Half-Marathon from various locations throughout the course as we watched and encouraged our son and other members of our church family as they ran.
We were at the top of 29th Street and in Elm Grove, and we also covered National Road from Washington Avenue all the way up to the front yard of First Baptist where our faith family was well represented, and finally we were at the finish line just in time to see Cole cross.
It's been a few days since the race, and I've been thinking about the whole event.
Here's what I know:
First, other than the finish line, our location had the largest crowd.
Second, our crowd had the best signs, noisemakers, and music.
Third, there was such a positive and encouraging atmosphere at First Baptist. It was truly an event in which the whole family could participate.
Fourth, our location is situated on a very strategic part of the race course where the runners and walkers are in great need of encouragement, not to mention oranges and water. The very presence of the First Baptist faithful caused many weary runners and walkers to pick up their pace as they moved past.
Finally, it was such a blessing and encouragement to see our whole church family come together for an outreach event. I believe that every generation in our church family was represented.
Thank you to all those who worked hard to plan and prepare for First Baptist's participation in the Ogden Outreach. Thank you to those who cleaned up after the event, and those who participated in the event in every possible way. I realize that the goal of the outreach was not to receive praise or even thanks from those who raced but please know that our efforts did make a difference (as reported on social media and through other forms of communication as well) to our community.
Thanks for all you did to make sure that First Baptist Church really was “the best place to watch the race”.